Mission of St James and St John (1919–97)


  • Auspice: Church of England, Diocese of Ballarat
  • Name: St Cuthbert’s Home for Boys (1948–77); St Cuthbert's Children's Home

Mission of St James and St John history in brief

In 1919, the Anglican Church established the Mission of St James and St John to provide, among other services, homes for young Anglican boys and girls in need.

In 1925 the Mission opened the Arms of Jesus Babies Home in East Melbourne as well as Ramoth for toddlers. (In 1932, the Arms of Jesus Babies Home was sold to the Freemasons, and Ramoth was closed.)

By 1928, the Mission had opened four additional homes for children: St Gabriel's Balwyn for babies (taking over the function of Arms of Jesus Babies Home); St Luke's Bendigo for toddlers (taking over the function of Ramoth); and St Nicholas for school-age boys adjacent to St Agnes for school-age girls, both in Glenroy.

Also in 1928, the Mission opened four homes for children with complex needs: St Pauls and St Barnabas Phillip Island; Kedesh maternity home and adoption agency (in Carlton, and later, Kew); Fairhaven Fairfield rescue home for girls; and Butler House. By 1935 the Mission had also established its School of Home Crafts in East Melbourne.

In 1941, the Mission opened a residential care cottage for 12 girls at St Agnes. It also assumed management of the Andrew Kerr Memorial Home in Mornington, previously a large congregate care home run as a holiday home for underprivileged children. It accommodated both boys and girls, and allowed siblings to be kept together.

In 1955, the Mission opened Ellen Connell Children's Holiday Home at Healesville. Also in 1955, St Paul’s Phillip Island reformatory was closed.

In 1956, St Nicholas Boys Home was closed and its boys transferred to a reopened St Paul’s, now a children's home.

In the 1960s, the Mission reviewed its institutional approach to the ‘care’ of children and also developed a social work service. In 1964 the Mission opened Brady House in partnership with the Church of England Men's Society as a hostel for young men, some who were former prisoners. Brady House closed in 1978.

In 1963, St Agnes' Girls Home closed and its girls moved to three cottages in Blackburn South. In 1969, the Minna Johnson Cottage for Mothers and Babies opened at St Gabriel's.

From the 1970s

In the 1970s, the Mission focussed on family and specialist services. It closed its older congregate care facilities: St Paul’s in 1973 (children moved to Blackburn South Cottages); Ellen Connell Holiday Home in 1973; St Gabriel's Babies Home in 1975; St Luke's and the Andrew Kerr Memorial Homes in 1977–78 (and started moving children to cottages and family group homes).

In 1976, Thurana family group home opened in Traralgon, Gippsland. In 1978, the Mission took over Community Services Victoria's family aid program, and in 1979 launched Gippsland Family Services in Traralgon. During the 1980s, Gippsland Family Services established The Manor (an emergency house for families in crisis), a handyman service, a family extension (foster grandparents) program and Central Gippsland Foster Care in Moe. (Later in 1992, Gippsland Family Services opened the Mission’s second Permanent Care program.)

By 1978 the last Andrew Kerr children had been moved to family group homes in Mornington. The Mission then established Peninsula Family Services in Mornington to provide family counselling, residential care, a big brother/sister program, and a youth house. (In 1989, both the Peninsula Family Services and Gippsland’s Thurana Early Adolescent Unit were transferred to other agencies.)

In 1978, the Mission opened a regional family counselling service in Williamstown, and in 1979, a pilot foster care program also started in Williamstown.

In 1979 St Paul's Newhaven was converted to a holiday camp for children and young people.

In 1979 a flat near Kedesh at Kew housed mothers needing support in the early months post-childbirth. In 1982, Kedesh offered pregnancy counselling and parents support service. In 1986, Kedesh closed, replaced by the Kedesh Hostel in Box Hill for single pregnant women.

A shift to smaller-scale and more family-oriented services was reflected in the 1980 establishment of Beryl Booth Court on the site of the old East Melbourne homecraft hostel. Beryl Booth Court had eight small flats for at-risk, sole-parent families.

In the early 1980s, Buckland House Newport opened to provide emergency, short-term residential care for up to eight children.

In 1980, Blackburn Cottages became Blackburn Family Services, and numbers in each were reduced from 16 to six. By 1986 the service was working with children and families towards reunion. Blackburn Family Services closed in 1988.

The Mission’s Adoption Information Service was launched in 1985, and started planning to provide regionalised adoption and permanent care services in the western suburbs. In 1987, the Mission created Yarra Valley Family Support (previously Lilydale Family Support), offering family and individual counselling and family aides. In 1988, Lilydale's Kids in Care foster care program joined Yarra Valley Family Support, (by 1992, called Yarra Valley Family Services).

A late 1980s building program saw Yarra Valley Family Support relocate to Castella Street Lilydale. Gippsland Family Services moved to new premises in Church Street Morwell, and Western Family Services moved to larger offices in Somerville Road Yarraville.

By April 1987, Western Family Services operated a new Adoption and Permanent Care program. (In 1992, the Mission's second Permanent Care program opened as Gippsland Family Services.).

In the early 1990s, Western Family Services opened outreach components in Werribee and Melton, providing family and financial counselling and ADDCARE drug and alcohol services. In 1991, Beryl Booth closed, replaced by a Choices centre for young women and their children at Berry Street.

In 1994, Buckland House emergency residential program for western suburbs children closed and became the Yarraville Family Group Home, and Western Family Services established an Adolescent Community Placement Program.

In the late 1990s, the Mission of St James and St John operated from headquarters in Batman Street, West Melbourne.

In 1997, the Mission amalgamated with the Mission to the Streets and Lanes and St John's Home for Boys and Girls, to form Anglicare.

Anglicare (in 2016) delivers more than 100 regional programs and services, and remains involved in out-of home care and support services for children and young people.

Client Records

Enquiries about the possibility of access to Mission of St James and St John records should be made to:

The Heritage Client Practitioner
Anglicare Victoria
103 Hoddle Street
Collingwood Victoria 3066
Phone: 03 9412 6133

Agency details

Auspice:The Church of England/ Anglican Church
Facility:Andrew Kerr Memorial Home Mornington (1941–78)
Other name:Andrew Kerr Memorial Home for Boys and Girls
Address:109 Barkly Street, Mornington, 3931

Facility:Arms of Jesus Babies Home (1925–32)
Other name:Church of England Babies' Home
Address:Clarendon Street, East Melbourne, 3002

Facility:Beryl Booth Court (1978–91)
Address:Homecrafts Hostel, 43 Berry Street, East Melbourne, 3002

Facility:Blackburn South Cottages (1963–88)
Other names:Blackburn Family Care
Blackburn Family Services
Address:24 Highfield Avenue Blackburn South, 3130

Facility:Brady House, with the Church of England Men's Society (1964–78)
Address:Pascoe Vale

Facility:Buckland House (1980–94)
Address:52 Hall Street Newport, 3015

Facility:Butler House for Homeless Girls (1934– )
Address:97 Drummond Street, Carlton, 3053

Facility:Ellen Connell Children's Holiday Home Healesville (1955–73)
Other names:Ellen Connell Holiday Cottage; Ellen Connell Home; Ellen Connell Home for Children
Address:Fernshaw Road, Healesville 3777

Facility:Fairhaven (1927–53)
Other names:Winlaton
Address:Yarra Bend, Fairfield 3078; "Winlaton", in Springvale Road, Nunawading 3131

Facility:Kedesh Maternity Home (1926–86)
Address:210 Cardigan Street, Carlton 3053; 29 Stevenson Street, Kew 3101

Facility:Minna Johnson Cottage 1969–74
Address:201 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn 3103; 8 Wandeen Avenue, North Balwyn 3104

Facility:Ramoth Toddlers' Home (1927–32)
Address:Ferntree Gully, Victoria

Facility:St Agnes's Girls’ Home(1926–63)
Other names:St Agnes' Home for Girls; Glenroy Homes
Address:22 Widford Street, Glenroy 3046

Facility:St Barnabas' Boys' Home (1934–39)
Address:Newhaven, Philip Island 3925

Facility:St Gabriel's Balwyn (1935–74)
Other names:St Gabriel Church of England Babies' Home; St Gabriel's Babies' Home
Address:201 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn 3103

Facility:St Luke's Toddler’s Home (1932–79)
Other names:Langley Hall; St Luke's Children's Home; St Luke's, Bendigo, for Toddlers
Address:Napier Street, White Hills Bendigo 3550

Facility:St Nicholas' Boys Home (1926–55)
Other names:Glenroy Homes
Address:6 Melbourne Avenue, Glenroy 3046

Facility:St Paul’s Home for Boys (1955–79)
Address:Newhaven, Philip Island 3925

Facility:St Paul’s Training School (1928–55)
Other names:Newhaven Home
Address:Boys Home Road, Newhaven, Phillip Island 3925

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.

Non-departmental records

A small number of St Cuthbert’s client related files may be found in records attributed to Glastonbury Child and Family Services held at the Geelong Heritage Centre. Note that access restrictions will apply.

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.1938–86)

File; 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 files relating to this home include :

File VH-022

  • correspondence regarding conversion of Andrew Kerr Memorial Home Mornington and St Luke’s Children’s Home Bendigo to a FGH 1976–77
  • cottages, Mornington application for funding, 1977–78
  • financial statement, 1979
  • closure of Blackburn South campus, 1980
  • negotiations for funding, Westernport early adolescent unit, Rosebud, 1983
  • application to establish family group home 25, Ruth Road Mornington 1983
  • annual report 1984–85

File VH-022-2

  • reports on proposal for restructuring, 1976
  • impact statement, welfare services, western suburbs, 1976

File VH-022-3

  • list of wards at (includes Blackburn South, Newhaven, St Paul’s , St Luke’s, Andrew Kerr Memorial Home, Blackburn Cottages), 1973, 1974
  • report regarding children’s homes at Gippsland Regional Centre, including Swan House Traralgon Cottage, 1974
  • meeting regarding family and children’s services in Gippsland region, 1975
  • annual report 1986–87

File VH-024-4

  • Strengthen the family, a document outlining a three-year project for the mission, years 1980, 1981 and 1982

File VH-022-5

  • annual reports, 1972–73 to 1985–86
  • newsletter, Mission news 1974–1978
  • ‘How do I get past 1984’, a Mission plan, 1982

File VH-023

  • inspectors’ and visitors’ reports on St Agnes Home for Girls, Church of England Girls Home, Glenroy, including list of wards, 1938, 1940–44, 1946, 1948–60
  • St Agnes Correspondence re staffing, dental attention, 1949
  • application for declaration of St Agnes Home For Girls as an approved children’s home, 1955
  • correspondence regarding immunisations for poliomyelitis (including wards names), 1956
  • diphtheria and tetanus immunisation, 1958, 1960
  • correspondence regarding wards in employment resident in children’s homes, 1963
  • Blackburn South Cottages and ancillary buildings opening invitation and order of service, 1963
  • list of wards transferred to Blackburn South Cottages, 1963
  • inspectors’ reports (Blackburn South Cottages) 1963, 1966–68
  • application for cottages as an approved children’s home, 1963
  • report on a complaint, 1964
  • capital grant application for construction of two new cottages on the site, 1973
  • list of wards placed at the Cottages and St Paul’s Newhaven, 1973
  • list of wards accommodated across Mission properties (Andrew Kerr Memorial Home, Blackburn South campus and hostel, St Luke’s and St Paul’s), 1973
  • list of wards and preferred placements including foster care and adoption, 1980–81

Files VH-024 and VH-024-1

  • inspector’s report including list of wards, 1938
  • inspector’s report (including weekly menu), 1940
  • inspector’s report on a ward’s placement at school of home craft, East Melbourne, 1941
  • inspectors’ reports, 1943, 1948–60, 1965, 1967–69
  • list of wards, 1941, 1959, 1971
  • list of wards for X-rays, 1971
  • list of wards attending secondary school, 1965
  • holiday placement, 1959, 1971
  • correspondence: staffing; funding; hospital treatment and payment for wards; tonsillectomies; medical care of wards; foster care program, 1941–72
  • ward case information, 1955, 1971
  • application for declaration as an approved children’s home 1955–57
  • report on proposed transfer of a ward, 1963
  • assessments and case reviews for children at Andrew Kerr, 1976 and 1977
  • correspondence and meeting minutes re future, closure, conversion proposals for Andrew Kerr to family group homes including movement of wards,1976, 1977, 1978
  • report, Mission of St James and St John, Westernport Region operations and future (includes statistics), 1977
  • proposed early adolescent unit 52 Mitchell Street and family group home 25 Ruth Road in Mornington, and applications for establishment as approved children’s homes, 1982–83
  • funding and staffing application, 1984

File VH-025-1

  • submission and related correspondence to establish a service in Western suburbs region (a short-term residential unit and a family aid program), seeking funding and so on, c.1978.

Staffing Priorities Committee homes and hostels files (1976–c.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 1977–79.

Staffing Priorities Committee, Homes and Hostels, correspondence, guidelines for operation and minutes of meetings (1976–83)

File; Unappraised

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

Reviewed 24 April 2019