Miralee Reception Centre (1967–86)


  • Auspice: Children’s Welfare Department
  • Name: Miralee Reception Centre (1967–86)
  • Other names: Mildura Reception Centre (1963–67)
  • Address:  27–29 Chaffey Avenue, Mildura

Miralee Reception Centre history in brief

Miralee Reception Centre was established in 1963 as the 'Mildura Reception Centre', and renamed 'Miralee' in 1967. Miralee accommodated around 10 to 12 children aged up to 14 years.

In 1967, the centre was renamed Miralee, which is Aboriginal for ‘black swan’. Miralee was one of two non-metropolitan reception centres. It served northern and western Victoria while Warrawee in Ballarat, served central and south-western Victoria. Initially, referrals to Miralee were also accepted from the New South Wales area of the Sunraysia District along the Murray River.

Children came to the centre on a protection application order or safe custody order, and their situations were assessed. Those who were made wards of the state remained at the centre until arrangements were made for their care.

The reception centre social worker managed children’s arrival and accommodation, supervised foster care, home release placements in the community and provided assistance with applications for family counselling. A probation and parole officer was also located at the centre.

Due to a shortage of other options in the Mildura region, some children remained at Miralee for many months. Parents, relatives and friends were encouraged to keep in contact. The children attended local schools and churches.

In 1969, the regional office moved to Mildura’s business centre.

In 1980 the Department built a new 'Miralee' Reception Centre and residential reception care continued at Mirallee until its closure in about 1986.

Please note:

The Children and Young Persons Act 1989 required that the provision of services for children and young people on protective orders be separated from those provided to young offenders in custody. The Act established different divisions in the Children’s Court to completely separate child protection matters from criminal custodial matters.

The 1989 Act also established the term ‘children in need of protection’, replacing old terms ‘ward of state’ (from the Neglected Children’s Act 1887) and ‘trainee’ (from the Social Welfare Act 1960). Children and young people involved with child protection and sentenced young people are now all classified as ‘clients’.

Young people who entered the youth justice system before the 1989 Act was implemented, kept their trainee case history files, but not the later Client Relationship Information System institutional files (JJ CRIS prefix). This explains why the older records continued until the late 1990s – well after the terminology had changed.

The term ‘client’ is still used for all care leavers in Victoria.

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.

See Find & ConnectExternal Link for more detail on the history of child welfare in Australia.


  • Guide to out-of-home care services 1940–2000: volume one – agency descriptions, compiled by James Jenkinson Consulting North Melbourne, November 2001.
  • Victorian Government gazette, no. 97, 18 December 1963, p. 3693, ‘Established Mildura Reception Centre at 27–29 Chaffey Avenue, Mildura’.

Reviewed 24 August 2016