Geelong Orphan Asylum


  • Auspice:Geelong Committee established by the Mayor of Geelong, William Hingston Baylie Name:Geelong Orphan Asylum (1854–1862) Address: McCurdy Road, Herne Hill, Geelong 3218
  • Name: Geelong Protestant Orphan Asylum (1862–1909)Address: McCurdy Road, Herne Hill, Geelong 3218
  • Name: Geelong and Western District Protestant Orphanage (1909–55)Address: McCurdy Road, Herne Hill, Geelong 3218 (1909–33); Colac Road, Belmont, Geelong 3216 (1933–55)
  • Name: Glastonbury Geelong Protestant Orphanage (1955–77)Address: Colac Road, Belmont, Geelong 3216 

Geelong Orphan Asylum history in brief

This home was established by a Steering Committee of wealthy, influential citizens from Geelong and surrounds. The Geelong Protestant Orphan Asylum was their response to concerns about the sudden increase in abandoned, orphaned and neglected children in Geelong after the discovery of gold in Victoria. Land was bought at Herne Hill and in August 1854, a building to house 100 children opened. In 1909 the home changed its name to the Geelong and Western District Protestant Orphanage.

In the mid-1920s, the committee relocated the orphanage to a more appropriate building.

In the 1930s a new home was established on a new site at Belmont, Geelong, designed to house about 85 children between four and 14 years old. The home's 80 acres were also used for dairying and farming. The Education Department ran a primary school on the grounds, and secondary school children went to state schools in Geelong. By the mid-1950s, children from outside the home also attended the primary school.

In 1955, the home changed its name to Glastonbury Geelong Protestant Orphanage, taking the name of the residence of one of its first patrons, James Austin.

In 1974, its first family group home opened at 22 The Avenue, Belmont, becoming Glastonbury Children's Home in 1977.

In 1978, Glastonbury purchased St Cuthbert's in Colac and operated two family group homes from this site.

In 1980, Glastonbury shifted its focus onto family group homes. In 1982, a family counselling service was established.

In 1984 the name changed to Glastonbury Child and Family Services, reflecting the agency's new directions and service philosophies.

In 2011, the agency changed its name to Glastonbury Community services, providing a range of alternative family care services, including family group home care (particularly for large sibling groups) and supported home-base care for a range of other children. Additional alternative family care services included foster care, 'kith and kin' placements and emergency care. A range of family-based supports and services were also provided.

In July 2015, Glastonbury Community Services merged with Barwon Youth and Time for Youth to create a new agency, Barwon Child Youth & Family (BCYF). Their enhanced capacity and efficiency means they can better meet the increasing range of complex client needs of children, young people and families.

BCYF provides access to previous client files in accordance with Confidentiality and Privacy Principles. Supported release of files is provided to children and young people or their ancestors who lived in the care of Glastonbury Orphanages or Children’s Homes. Care leavers or former clients wishing to access their files should contact:

Records Management
12–14 Halstead Place
Geelong West Victoria 3218
Phone: 03 5221 4466

Predecessor and successor agency titles:

  • Geelong Orphan Asylum (1854–62)
  • Geelong Protestant Orphan Asylum (1862–1909)
  • Geelong and Western District Protestant Orphanage (1902–55)
  • Glastonbury – Geelong Protestant Orphanage (1955–77)
  • Glastonbury Children's Home (1977–84)
  • Glastonbury Child and Family Services (1984–2011)
  • Glastonbury Community Services (2011–15)
  • Glastonbury Community Services, Barwon Youth and Time for Youth (2015 to current)

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.1930–c.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 are dated 1936–85 and include:

  • annual reports 1972–76
  • correspondence with government and other care organisations, regarding funding, staffing matters, medical treatment of children, transfer of children to and from other organisations,1938–85
  • inspectors’ and other reports, 1936–85
  • complaints regarding treatment of children, 1938
  • press clippings, 1966–78
  • newspaper articles from Geelong News reporting on conditions at the three Children's Homes in Geelong – Glastonbury, St Augustine's and St Catherine's, September 1972
  • lists of wards, holiday placements and staff, including some personal information, 1938–80
  • Glastonbury Children’s Home Report case management summaries on specific wards, 1972
  • home establishment and registration information, 1956–78
  • establishment of family group homes at Colac by Glastonbury Children's Home – including proposal for a third family group home at Colac – February to November 1978
  • financial, organisational and service planning, 1981–85
  • child transfers and placements, 1970s–80s
  • proposal for the redevelopment of its early adolescent unit and the future of its specialist family group home at 22 The Avenue Belmont, 1982–84
  • conversion funding for new family group home at 29 Chaucer Street Hamlyn Heights – including transfer of the department's equity from property at 22 The Avenue Belmont, 1984
  • file note regarding the involvement of Glastonbury Children's Home in the Glenelg Region,1984
  • incidents and allegations, 1984
  • client case reports, 1983
  • review of funding and reallocation of staff resources, 1983.

Staffing Priorities Committee, homes and hostels files (1796–83)

File; Temporary

Content: 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 1978–80.

The specific file relating to this home dates from 1976–79.

Staffing Priorities Committee, homes and hostels, correspondence, guidelines for operation and minutes of meetings (1976–80)

File; Unappraised

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

Non-departmental records

School and children’s home records

Content: Care leavers and other researchers interested in Glastonbury may wish to consult the following non-departmental records.

Geelong Orphanage / Glastonbury Children’s Home records (at Geelong Heritage Centre):

  • GRS 1293, Client records, 1947–92
  • GRS 244, Admission records 1875–46
  • GRS 246, Annual reports and constitution, and other papers 1855–54 • GRS 245, Minutes 1870–1933
  • GRS 248, Statistical returns, endowment fund and cash books 1873–1946
  • GRS 247, Superintendent's, matron's and visitor's reports 1901–64

Glastonbury Primary School (no. 3656) records:

  • VPRS 9070, School records, Public Record Office Victoria
  • GRS 1359, (VPRS 15819) School records, Geelong Heritage Centre

Note that access restrictions may apply to records that contain personal or private information.

Reviewed 10 August 2016