Burwood Boys’/Children’s Home (1895 - 1986)


  • Auspice: Committee of Management
  • Name: Burwood Boys’ Home (1895–1968)
  • Other names: Kemp Lodge; Burwood Children’s Home (1972–86); Melbourne Family Care Organisation
  • Address: 155 Warrigal Road, Burwood; Ferntree Gully Road, Glen Waverley

Burwood Boys/Children’s Home history in brief

In 1895, the non-denominational Burwood Boys Home was founded by an Irish-born tea merchant, Robert Campbell Edwards, to be run by a Committee of Management. In 1909 it was incorporated approved to take charge of neglected children. It operated as a farming community, providing some fresh milk, fruit and vegetables to market.

In 1936, due to unsuitable wooden buildings on the Burwood site, the residents moved to Minton Boys Home until a new brick structure was completed in Burwood and it was re-registered in 1937–38.

In 1953, Burwood established its first cottage 'Campbell Edwards House' and changed to a cottage system. In 1955, when Burwood Boys Home became an approved children's home it had about 70 Protestant boys (including wards) aged 5 to 15 years and was described as one of the best-equipped in the state at the time. The children were educated at the Orana Children's Home pre-school and in local state schools.

In 1940, the committee established 'The Palms' Hostel in New Street Hawthorn to provide cheap accommodation for eight boys commencing employment. The Palms was closed and sold in 1959. From 1972, senior boys remained on the Burwood site in a purpose-built facility, Kemp Lodge.

By 1965, Burwood housed 36 boys in a dormitory wing, two large cottages, and a working-boys’ flat. Two new cottages were planned at that time.

In 1968, the Committee of Management decided to accept girls, and the first were admitted in 1972–73. By 1977, the Burwood Children's Home cared for 51 children of both sexes in five campus cottages and a campus youth hostel. The Home had an onsite education centre and accepted children with mild disabilities.

In 1973, the committee leased a house in Surrey Hills to accommodate three boys ready for independent living, and closed once they had moved on to independence. Two other houses were also leased around this time and sub-let to young people in transition from their Kemp Lodge accommodation.

In 1979, following a needs analysis of the Goulburn Region, the Future Planning Committee moved resources to the 'Shepparton Project' and established a family group home, early adolescent unit and social work support in the early 1980s.

In 1983 a special project 'Home-Based Aboriginal Child Care Worker' was appointed for 12 months to meet the needs of a particular family.

By 1985, campus care services were phased out and resources redirected to the committee’s Goulburn Valley Family Care agency and a newly-established Welfare Education Program in the Inner Eastern Region. The last child left the Burwood home in 1986.

In 1986–87, Burwood Children's Home became the 'Child and Family Care Network'. The network sold its Burwood campus and moved to the Melbourne Family Care Organisation site in Ferntree Gully Road, Glen Waverley.

Child and Family Care Network’s current (2016) programs include an Education Centre for children aged 5 to 12 years with social/emotional learning difficulties; a program for homeless youth continuing their education; and a community support program providing emergency relief and crisis accommodation. Other programs focus on early intervention for children with disabilities or developmental delays, and education initiatives aimed at community members and young people.

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 administrative histories is provided for general information only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The department does not guarantee the accuracy of the administrative histories. 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 retained 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.

Child information

Voluntary Children’s Homes files (c.1930–c.85)

File; Permanent (VPRS Number 18069 / P0001) and Permanent (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 date 1932–87 and include:

File VH-009

  • Burwood Boys' Home Annual Reports, 1970–73
  • Burwood Children's Homes Annual Reports, 1976–87
  • Apex Club of Camberwell: proposal for an adventure playground, c.1973
  • re-issue of amended Constitution - Objects and By-Laws, 4 December 1978

File VH-009-1

  • Arrangements for wards in residence for Christmas holidays, 19 December 1975 to 1 February 1976
  • Letter from Burwood Boys' Home Superintendent to Citizens Welfare Services of Victoria, advising that their services are not required for any of the home's current programs, 28 May 1976
  • Correspondence regarding change of corporate name from Burwood Boys' Home to Burwood Children's Home, October 1976
  • Arrangements for wards in residence for May holidays, 6–22 May 1977
  • Lions Village Licola information for parents and group leaders attending the Lions Camp, 27 August to 3 September 1977
  • Arrangements for wards in residence for holidays, 19 August to 4 September 1977
  • Report of Inspection visit, October 1977
  • Burwood Children's Home: Education Program Policy Statement, December 1977
  • Burwood Children's Home: Education Centre Policy Statement, not dated
  • Memo regarding appointment of new Education Officer, 31 January 197
  • Amended Constitution Objects and By-Laws, 21 July 1978
  • Letters advising of the Social Welfare Department's re-organisation; requesting estimates of maintenance and capital expenditure, August, September 1978
  • Letter to Superintendent requesting information regarding any new capital developments planned for 1979–80, dated 23 February 1979
    Report to Forward Planning Committee on future development plans, 29 May 1979
  • Letter to Superintendent requesting submission of claims for expenditure and estimates for capital and maintenance expenditure 1979–80, not dated
  • Statistical return of youth/child population, October 1979
  • Correspondence re. guardianship transfer from South Australia to Victoria for several wards, 11 September 1979 to 2 May 1980
    arrangements for Wards in residence for holidays, 9–25 May 1979
  • Correspondence arising from meeting of Forward Planning Committee, 11 September 1980, re. advice for future planning to provide residential child and youth care services, September to October 1980
  • Statistical return of youth/child population, February 1981
  • Documentation arising from enquiries re. residential care and family services needs in Western Suburbs and Goulburn Regions, 18–23 February 1981
  • Extract from Minutes of General Committee Meeting held 21 July 1981 regarding Forward Planning Committee Report re the home’s future service direction
  • Documentation relating to decision to appoint a full time social worker, establish a Family Group Home and an Early Adolescent Unit in the Shepparton area; administration pertaining to education, September–November 1981
  • Notes and letter relating to recruitment of a social worker for services being established in the Goulburn Region, 19 July & 5 August 1982 Burwood Children's Homes, Early Adolescent Units programme and staffing, undated
  • Letters from Minister for Community Welfare Services regarding funding for wards enrolled at the home's school and review of Departmental expenditure due to State Budget, 1983
  • Memoranda re. questionnaire & comments about statements reported in Hansard concerning the Shepparton development, November 1983 – January 1984
  • Minutes and notes from meeting regarding staffing roster and hours worked, 6 January 1984
  • Newspaper Article from Gazette (Nunawading) reporting on planned fundraising campaign, 12 December 1984
  • Letter from Minister of Education to Minister of Community Welfare Services re. funding for transition education services for socially and emotionally disabled teenagers, not dated
  • Documentation relating to visit by Minister for Community Welfare Services to Burwood Children's Home on 20 February 1985 to discuss issues regarding the home's school and its future
  • Report of outcome of representation by Mr & Mrs UPTON to the Minister re. case planning for their children in residence, 7 March 1985
  • Briefing and Memoranda relating to Burwood Children's Home review of current activities and future options, May – October 1985
  • Documentation relationg to change of corporate name to Child and Family Care Victoria, August - December 1986

File VH-009-2-01

  • Request from Manager, Burwood Boys' Home for two wards to be admitted, 21 January 1932
  • Report of Inspection Visit, 27 January 1932
  • Copy of memo from Organising Secretary to Matron advising of Committee resolution re. boys’ attendance at church service, 20 December 1934
  • List of boys in residence, 15 January 1935
  • Letter of complaint from the Minister at Burwood Congregational Church re. decision by the Hon Chaplain Burwood Boys' Home that the boys in residence shall all attend the Church of Christ chapel Surrey Hills, 5 January 1935
  • List of boys in residence including religious denominations, 10 April 1935
  • Correspondence relating to complaints about by the Hon Chaplain’s decision that the boys in residence shall all attend the Church of Christ chapel Surrey Hills regardless of their religious denomination, January – May 1935
  • Correspondence regarding accommodation arrangements for boys as a result of the home’s de-registration and (subsequent) re-registration, December 1936 – November 1937
  • Letter from Hon Secretary requesting that all correspondence be addressed to the Home's office address, 12 August 1938
  • Letter from Hon Secretary requesting particulars for 10 boys in residence, 26 January 1940
  • Correspondence regarding rate of pay for children in institutions attending school in relation to two wards, June 1940
  • Correspondence regarding change of office address, appointment of office bearers, and a fire at the home, September 1941 – September 1942
  • List of girls at Children's Welfare Department, Royal Park Depot, 14 January 1942
  • Memo to the Under Secretary regarding upcoming appearance of a staff member at Camberwell Court on a charge of sodomy, 10 November 1942
  • Letter from General Secretary advising of the Military’s occupation of their offices and consequent office relocation to the site of the home, 18 February 1943
  • Memo regarding payment to outfit each boy at Burwood Boys' Home, 14 July 1944
  • Letter from Superintendent and Secretary requesting authorisation to make arrangements for medical procedures required for two Wards, 15 May 1945
  • Report of Inspection Visit, 30 May 1955
  • Application for declaration as an Approved Children's Home: Burwood Boys' Home, 3 October 1955
  • Correspondence and memoranda re. registration as an Approved Children's Home, October to November 1955
  • Documentation relating to allegations and charges concerning sexual abuse of two boys whilst on a holiday in Sydney, January and July 1956
  • Report of Inspection Visit, 25 April 1956
  • Report regarding grievances of and disciplinary problems with boys placed The Palms Hostel, Hawthorn, 4 December 1956
  • Correspondence and memoranda, June – December 1956
  • Memo regarding the advisability of sending Wards to Burwood Boys' Home, 6 December 1956
  • Report of Inspection Visit, 1 August 1957, including discussion regarding problems with and the future of The Palms Hostel, 6 August 1957
  • Memo regarding operational arrangements due to the Superintendent’s illness, 20 February 1958
  • Report of 2 March 1959 Inspection Visit; report dated 17 April 1959
  • Memoranda regarding the appointment of a new Superintendent, 28 October and 1 November 1959
  • Report of interview on 2 August 1963 with foster parent Mrs Wicks regarding the situation of a ward, 30 August 1963
  • Reports, correspondence and memoranda, March to October 1963
  • Correspondence regarding secondary school book allowances; boarding-out payments for wards; accommodation shortages at Allambie Reception Centre, September to October 1964
  • Letter to Superintendent regarding arrangements for Inspection Visit on 11 May 1965, 4 May 1965
  • Report of Inspection Visit on 11 May 1965
  • Letter of thanks to Superintendent regarding placement of Family Welfare Division boys from Turana, 16 September 1965
  • Correspondence regarding request for provision of First Aid supplies, February to March 1966
  • Report of 20 September 1966 Inspection Visit and correspondence, September to December 1966
  • Memo regarding accommodation for two wards of working age, 14 February 1967
  • Correspondence, March 1967 to February 1968
  • Documentation re. claim for reimbursement of secondary school uniform costs, March to April 1968
  • Report of 5 March 1968 inspection visit, 4 April 1968
  • Correspondence regarding the appointment of a new Superintendent, 22 and 23 October 1968
  • Report of interview of Superintendent regarding temporary accommodation for wards in employment pending placement in private board or on home release, not dated
  • Memoranda regarding the use of a Working Boys' Flat for short term accommodation of wards who have gained employment, 31 December 1968 & 21 March 1969
  • Burwood Boys' Home, House Parents Salary Scale, November 1968
  • Letter from Superintendent & Secretary notifying of upcoming assessment meetings concerning three Wards, 27 March 1969
  • Report of 27 February 1969 Inspection Visit, 16 April 1969
  • Letter from Department of Health re. payment of accounts for the medical treatment of wards, 15 May 1969
  • Correspondence regarding Organisational Structure of Burwood Boys' Home, November 1969
  • Correspondence regarding the death of the President of Burwood Boys' Home, September 1970
  • Housemothers Salary Scale, July 1971
  • Correspondence and Notes, August to November 1971
  • Correspondence relating to Murray River Safari adventure holiday trip, November to December 1971
  • Memo regarding request by named ward for interview with Director of Family Welfare to discuss request to have a motor bike, 22 December 1971
  • Memo regarding approval for contribution toward cost of school excursion to Queensland for three Wards, 19 April 1972
  • Burwood Boys' Home, Organisational Structure Chart, May 1972
  • Letter to Professor MD Neale of Monash University approving request to access departmental records of children in care to undertake study: Educational Development of Children in Care, 1 August 1972
  • Documentation relating to the building of a new Administration Centre, August to December 1972
  • Report regarding withdrawal of Child Fostering Application relating to a named ward, 20 March 1973
  • Letter from Superintendent & Secretary requesting approval for nine Wards to participate in an excursion to Central Australia, 27 July 1973
  • Documentation relating to proposed excursion to Central Australia, 27 July 1973
  • Documentation relating to the situation of named wards, June to October 1973
  • Dcumentation relating to Specific Fostering Application for named ward, April to November 1973
  • Correspondence and notes regarding requests for financial assistance from for Superintendent's residence, Administration Centre, communications equipment, and increased staffing costs, September 1973 to March 1974
  • Arrangements for wards in residence for Christmas holidays, 19 December 1974 to 2 February 1975
  • Arrangements for Wards in residence for August-September holidays, 2 August to 7 September 1975
  • Letter of thanks to Superintendent regarding submission of school holiday lists, 29 August 1975
  • Correspondence regarding: appointment of an Education Officer; instituting preventative, remedial and school liaison educational programs, September 1975
  • Newspaper Article from the Chadstone Progress reporting on approach to Caulfield Council for financial assistance, 3 November 1975

File VH-009-3

  • Extract from Minutes of General Committee Meeting held on 21 July 1981, Forward Planning Committee Report re Future Direction of Services
  • Documentation relating to discussions regarding proposal to establish a Family Group Home and an Early Adolescent Unit in the Shepparton area, August to November 1981
  • Documentation relating to establishment of the Goulburn Valley Project; Shepparton Early Adolescent Unit; and Maroopna Family Group Home, January to October 1982
  • Documentation relating to application for declaration as an Approved Children's Home: Burwood Children's Homes, 4 Power Street Shepparton and 64 Lenne Street Maroopna, October 1982
  • Documentation relating to establishment of programs and working arrangement for Goulburn Valley Program, October to December 1982
  • Documentation of planning, establishing and staffing of Goulburn Valley Family Care, 1981–85
  • Application for and declaration of 4 Power Street, Shepparton and 64 Lenne Street, Maroopna as Approved Children’s Homes, 1982
  • Burwood Children's Homes, Goulburn Valley Programme Working Arrangement, draft copies, not dated
  • Burwood Children's Homes, Goulburn Valley Programme Working Arrangement, not dated
  • Discussion Paper concerning standards, general principles and process for staff selection, Goulburn Valley Programme, 7 April 1983
  • Minutes of Meeting held on 7 April 1983 to discuss Discussion Paper on principles of staff selection, issues with selection of staff, and concerns with current cottage parents Goulburn Valley Programme, 19 April 1983
  • Memo re. comment on statements reported in Hansard on 20 October 1983 concerning development of Early Adolescent Unit at Shepparton, 3 January 1984
  • Correspondence regarding resolution by Committee of Management to adopt the name Goulburn Valley Family Care for their services in the Goulburn Region, February 1984
  • Letter to Director re. residential child care staffing establishment list for Goulburn Valley Family Care, 4 April 1984
  • Newspaper Articles from Free Press & Progress Press reporting on plan by Burwood Children's Homes to sell their campus at 155 Warrigal Road Burwood, 11 September 1985

File VH-009-4

  • Residential Child Care Section's response to Goulburn Region proposal for special project for home-based residential care for specific family, 20 July 1983
  • Letters to Burwood Children's Homes & Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency seeking interest in being the auspice agency for the special child care project for an Aboriginal family in Goulburn, 9 August 1983
  • Memo from acting Regional Manager Goulburn Region re special project for home-based Aboriginal child care worker, 26 August 1983
  • Memo approving the appointment of a child care worker for 12 months for the Goulburn Region's special project for home-based Aboriginal child care worker, 5 October 1983.

Departmental administration

Staffing Priorities Committee, Homes and Hostels Files (1976–83)

File; Temporary

Content: This collection comprised files documenting the recommendations for staffing positions for homes and hostels, correspondence between the Minister of Community Welfare Services and senior officers, as well as funding information. The Staffing Priorities Committee made recommendations to the minister regarding priority of staffing positions required.

Individual homes and hostels are listed accompanied by comprehensive material concerning each home, family group home or hostel. There are also minutes from the approved children's homes and hostels meetings from 1978 to 1980.

The specific file relating to Burwood Children's Home dates from 1976-79. The file relating to Kemp Lodge is dated 1977.

Note that this collection has had all permanent material removed and placed in below.

Staffing Priorities Committee, Homes and Hostels, Correspondence, Guidelines for Operation and Minutes of Meetings (1976–80)

File; Unappraised

Content: Mnisterial correspondence, Staffing Priority Committee minutes, and list of members.

Family Welfare Division Funding and Accounts Files (1971–77)

File; Temporary

Content: Accounts and funding files for individual children’s homes that were 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 when visited. The records are arranged in a broad chronological order.

The specific file(s) relating to the Burwood Boys Home date from 1971–75.

Reviewed 22 September 2016