Lutheran Children’s Home (1950–76)


  • Auspice:Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia
  • Title or Name:Lutheran Children's Home
  • Alternative Names: Peace Memorial Children's Home
  • Address:760 Canterbury Road, Surrey Hills (1950–55); 25 Sackville Street, Kew (1955–c.1976) 

Lutheran Children's Home history in brief

In October 1950, The Lutheran Peace Memorial Children's Home opened in Canterbury Road, Surrey Hills to care for the children of widowed post-war immigrants who needed to work.

In 1954, there were 38 children aged four to 14 from 11 nationalities including Latvian, Estonian, German, White Russian, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian and Polish backgrounds.

In 1952, the home received registration as a charitable organisation provided improvements were made.

The home was sold and a larger property was bought at 52 Sackville Street, Kew, which opened in 1955.

In 1956, the home became an approved children's home. The number of migrant children decreased and the home started taking in other children needing care, including wards of the state. It had capacity for 42 children aged four to 14.

In the 1960s, the age limit was extended for children attending school ¬– 15 for boys and 15 plus for girls.

In 1967–68, the Kew property was renovated. The home housed mostly state wards, with some private placements. Lutheran families in the city and country were approved as holiday hosts for the school holidays.

In 1971 the Lutheran Church established the Lutheran Teenage Family Care Home at Station Street, Box Hill for up to eight children too old to remain at the Lutheran Home in Kew. This enabled them to finish school and either find employment or progress to higher education.

The 1970s and ‘80s

In 1973, the Lutheran Church moved to family group home care. They closed the Sackville Street congregate care facility and bought four or five cottage homes in the Blackburn/Mitcham area.

By 1976, four more cottage homes had been opened in Doncaster East, Mitcham, Nunawading and Blackburn South. Each cared for five or six children and enabled sibling groups to remain together.

In 1980 the Teenage Care Home in Box Hill closed and was converted to a Lutheran Social Services administrative and welfare centre. During the early 1980s, Lutheran resources transferred to the Glenelg region. In 1982 the Lutheran Children's Homes became the approved auspice for a new community-based welfare service for children in the Glenelg area.

In 1983, Lutheran Children's Homes established a foster care program in Victoria’s South West Region, headquartered in Warrnambool – Glenelg Foster Care.

In 1984, the Mitcham cottage home was sold to fund activities in the Glenelg Region, and land was bought in Warrnambool for the Warrnambool Family Group Home, which opened in 1985.


In 1990, the Hamilton family group home opened, funded by the sale of the Blackburn South cottage. The Hamilton property came to be used by Hamilton Extended Family Service for family mediation services, or to place young people unable to live at home in short-term supported accommodation. The property was sold in 2005.

In 1991, Glenelg Foster Care, Glenelg Family Care, Currawong House in Hamilton, South Western Tenant Support Services, and Warrnambool Community Legal Aid Service amalgamated to form South Western Community Care Association Inc. (Lutheran Children's Homes continued as the auspice agency until August 1995.)

In 1998, the South Western Community Care Association Inc became Community Connections with offices in Warrnambool, Geelong, Hamilton, Colac, Camperdown and Portland.

In 1989 Lutheran Children’s Homes auspiced a new community-based preventive program called Ringwood Extended Family Service, until 2002 when it closed its services to young people and their families.

In 2012, Community Connections stopped being a care provider. In 2012, OzChild took over Community Connections.

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 .


Departmental administrative files and collated histories.

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.

Child information

Admission and discharge registers for children placed at Lutheran Peace Memorial Children's Home (1950-82)

Volume; Permanent (VPRS Number 17942/P0001)

Content: This collection consists of registers that document the admission and discharge of children as residents of the Lutheran Peace Memorial Children’s Home.
Headings used in the registers are:

  • name of child
  • date and location of birth
  • parent or guardian
  • parents’ address and phone
  • date of arrival (at Lutheran Children’s Home)
  • date of departure
  • remarks

Some headings were added later, including:

  • gender
  • board/maintenance
  • religion

Entries are arranged in admission number order.

Child case history files (1950-88)

File ; Permanent (VPRS Number 18080/P0001)

Content: This collection comprises the case history files of the children who resided at the orphanages and group homes established by the Lutheran Church of Australia, Victorian District Office.

The residents of the Lutheran Children’s Homes were predominantly wards of state. However, some children were placed in the home on private boarding arrangements organised by a member of their extended family or legal guardian.

The files may contain:

  • ward’s name
  • ward number
  • date and place of birth
  • family background including names and ages of parents and siblings
  • date and reason for admission to wardship
  • applications for admission to and continuance of wardship
  • case histories
  • case plans
  • case planning reports
  • psychological assessments medical treatment records dental records
  • social worker case notes
  • oliday arrangements
  • school student reports
  • school photographs
  • progress reports on children
  • annual reviews of wardship
  • wardship terminations and general correspondence relating to the ward and his/her circumstances.

Summary information is commonly attached to the inside front cover of files.

The files are arranged alphabetically by family name. In cases where there is more than one state ward from the same family, a family file was created to document all matters relating to each of the siblings.

Unit 4 includes a list of state wards resident at 755 Station Street, Box Hill between April 1971 and January 1980. It contains also some publicity material celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Lutheran Children’s Homes.

The records include files received from:

  • Lutheran Peace Memorial Children's Home, 52 Sackville Street, Kew
  • Lutheran Teenage Family Care Home, 755 Station Street, Box Hill

Family group homes:

  • 88 Heatherdale Road Mitcham
  • 13 Mountfield Street Nunawading
  • 17 Dobell Street Blackburn
  • Dryden Street Doncaster East

The collection also contains a few administrative files.

Departmental administration

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

File ; Permanent (VPRS Number 18069/P0001)

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 1950–88 and include:

  • correspondence and minutes of meetings with the department, 1975–87
  • documentation relating to application for and declaration of establishment as an approved children's home, 1956
  • inspectors’ reports, 1956–76
  • newspaper clipping containing photograph from the wedding of the Matron including picture and names of three children, 1958
  • correspondence with the department: regarding holiday hosts and placement of children 1962; subsidies for state wards who are engaged in outside employment,1963; payment of school subsidies, 1964–66; location of records 1964; staffing issues, 1964–65; transfer of wards, 1966; consent to operations, 1968; educational tour for wards 1975, staffing of facilities,
  • memo and correspondence relating to problems in staffing and future of home, 1967–68•memo regarding meeting with staff member of the home to discuss staffing situation at the home, and the committee's deliberations regarding family group homes,1964
  • staffing 1967–87
  • memoranda and correspondence relating to increases in the authorised number of children in residence and improvements required to the home's facilities, 1968
  • proposal, application for and declaration as an approved children's home for Lutheran Teenage Family Care Home at 755 Station Street Box Hill, 1970–71•reports from psychologist and from Matron Lutheran Children's Home regarding child, 1972
  • correspondence regarding proposed purchase of service from St John's by Lutheran Children's Home,1972
  • correspondence relating to submission from Lutheran Children's Home to Minister for Social Welfare regarding proposal for change of program from congregate to cottage care, including proposed establishment of seven family group homes, sketch plans and financial costings, grants for conversion of facilities, 1973–75
  • reports on children residing at the home, 1975–76
  • minutes of meeting with members of the committee of Lutheran Children's Home to discuss issues involved in the changeover from congregate care to family group homes, 1974
  • income and expenditure, 1974–75
  • complaint to the Minister from director of a kindergarten regarding the standards at Lutheran Children’s Home, 1973
  • proposal for family group homes in Bennett Ave, Heathmont, and Donvale,1977, and replace home at 755 Station Street, Box Hill•lists of children, including those going out to holiday hosts, interstate travel 1958–1982
  • submission for foster care and family group homes program in Glenelg Region, 1982– 1984
  • family group homes, correspondence, information sheets 1964–1982
  • family group homes listed at June 1982 – 30 Dobell Street Blackburn; 32 Dryden Street Doncaster East; 88 Heatherdale Road Mitcham; 13 Mountfield Road Nunawading
  • meetings concerning proposal for the partial or total relocation of Lutheran Children's Homes family group homes to the Glenelg Region, and children in residence, 1983
  • sale of Heatherdale Road Mitcham and purchase of Family Group Home in the Glenelg Region, Lot 35 Coonemara Road Warrnambool, 5 Barrowby Street Portland 1983–86
  • sale of 17 Dobell Street Blackburn, 1987

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 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 1976–78.

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

File ; Unappraised

Content: The material comprises ministerial correspondence, and Staffing Priority Committee minutes and list of members. The Staffing Priorities Committee made recommendations to the minister regarding priority of positions required.

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

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 files relating to the ‘Lutheran Children’s Home’ 1972–75, and Lutheran Teenage [Family Care Home] Box Hill date from 1974–75.

Reviewed 10 August 2016