Andrew Kerr Memorial Home (c.1920 – 1980)


  • Auspice: Mission of St James and St John
  • Title of Name:Andrew Kerr Memorial Home (c.1920–80); Andrew Kerr Early Adolescent Unit (EAU) (1980–c.1984)
  • Alternative Names: Andrew Kerr Memorial Home for Boys and Girls
  • Address: Tanti Avenue, Mornington

Andrew Kerr history in brief

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Church of England ran Andrew Kerr Memorial Home, Mornington as a large congregate care, holiday home for ‘under-privileged’ children.

Children slept in the large closed verandas, with girls upstairs and boys downstairs. In 1941, management transferred to the Mission of St James and St John, which used it to expand its welfare-based residential care program as it was able to accommodate both boys and girls, enabling siblings to remain together. Capacity was about 55 children.

In the mid-1950s, capacity was about 30. In 1955–56, the property was extended and renovated. Capacity increased to 48 children Protestant boys and girls of school age who attended local schools. Parents who travelled long distances to visit children could also stay overnight.

Until 1968, when Andrew Kerr boys turned 12, they were transferred to St Paul's Home for Boys in Newhaven, which employed a part-time professional teacher.
In 1976, the Mission of St James and St John was phasing out its congregate care homes (Andrew Kerr and St Luke's Bendigo) in favour of alternative forms of residential care and support services established in the Loddon Campaspe, Westernport and Central Gippsland regions. Two family group homes were established in Mornington and housed some of the children from Andrew Kerr.

In 1980, the Mission established a formal early adolescent unit in the former superintendent's home at Andrew Kerr. Other units were established in Barkly Street and Mitchell Street in Mornington. The Andrew Kerr campus was sold in 1980.

In 1984, the Mission established Peninsula Family Services in Mornington to provide residential care for teenagers, as well as marriage and family counselling, volunteer services, and a family group home for children.

Warning about distressing information

This guide contains information that some people may find distressing. If you experienced abuse as a child or young person in an institution mentioned in this guide, it may be a difficult reading experience. Guides may also contain references to previous views, policies and practices that are regrettable and do not reflect the current views, policies or practices of the department or the State of Victoria. If you find this content distressing, please consult with a support person either from the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency.


Please note that the content of this administrative history is provided for general information only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The department does not guarantee the accuracy of this administrative history. For more information on the history of child welfare in Australia, see Find & ConnectExternal Link .


  • Guide to out-of-home care services 1940–2000: volume one – agency descriptions, compiled by James Jenkinson Consulting, North Melbourne, November 2001.

List of records held by the department

For information relating to the central management of care leavers and wards of state, please consult the guide to Central department wardship and out-of-home care records. These collections date back to the 1860s and include ward registers, index cards and ward files.

Voluntary children’s homes files (c.1930c.1985)

File; Permanent VPRS Number 18069 / P0001 and VPRS Number 18069 / P0002

Content: The files record interaction between the various voluntary homes and the government. This filing system was created in 1975, combining earlier correspondence and other records to create one system with VH prefixes.

  • The specific file(s) relating to this home include:
  • ward lists 19/8/1941
  • inspector’s reports 14/1/1940 to 1948
  • reference in the file for St Nicholas Home, Glenroy, to the Andrew Kerr Memorial Home which was being redeveloped and therefore not able to take in new children, 30/5/1955
  • case load distribution ward and staff lists 23/8/1973 and 15/2/1974
  • declaration of the institution as approved children’s home 8/7/1957
  • meetings regarding future of Andrew Kerr Mornington and St Lukes Bendigo, c.1975
  • Andrew Kerr Early Adolescent Unit annual report 1981.

Family Welfare Division funding and accounts files (197177)

File; Temporary

Content: These accounts and funding files are for individual children’s homes and are used to make allocations. They contain a monthly census giving names and dates of birth to calculate per capita expenses. There are annual reports of homes, income statements, reports on conditions of homes as assessed on visits.

The records are arranged in a broad chronological order.

The specific file(s) relating to this home date from 197175.

Reviewed 23 August 2016