Providence Children’s Home (1957–78)


  • Auspice: Catholic Dutch Migration Committee
  • Title or Name: Providence Children’s Home (1957–78); Providence
  • Address: Bacchus Marsh

Providence Children's Home history in brief

In 1957, the Catholic Dutch Migration Committee established Providence in Bacchus Marsh as a small hostel for 16 children of Dutch immigrants while their mothers or families were indisposed. It also provided some temporary accommodation for immigrant families.

In 1958, the Catholic Dutch Migrants Committee changed the facility to a 22 to 25 bed children's home/hostel, which was declared an approved children's home for children and wards aged from two to 16 years. Staff comprised almost exclusively Dutch immigrants. Children attended local Catholic primary schools and Bacchus Marsh High School.

In 1963, Providence opened a family group home nearby, closing it in 1965 when a new purpose-built family group home opened in Sydney Street, Bacchus Marsh.
In 1967, Providence established another three new family group homes, bringing its capacity to 40. One further cottage was opened in the early 1970s, creating a campus cluster of five cottages in one circular court.

Providence Children's Home phased down in the late 1970s and closed in December 1978.

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 / 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 Providence Children’s Home date from 1958–77 and include:

  • declaration of establishment as an approved children’s home on 29 April 1958
  • inspectors’ and visitors’ reports, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966
  • application for and approval of establishment as an approved children’s home, 1958
  • correspondence and reports on staffing, medical attention, dental care at Providence, medical benefits, 1958, 1959, 1964, 1968, 1974
  • list of wards, 1959, 1960, 1970, 1971
  • list of staff, 1961
  • press clippings, 1959, 1960
  • funding request, 1959
  • documentation of a complaint regarding facilities and care, 1960
  • documentation of a ward’s placement with a family, 1963
  • documentation of a complaint from a neighbour, 1963–64
  • application for and declaration of an approved children’s home, 1964
  • opening of a new family group home, 1965
  • application for and declaration of three family group homes as an approved children’s home, 1968
  • documentation of a complaint regarding management, 1971
  • ward names and numbers, 1976–77
  • complaints, 1976
  • plans for 289 Palmerston Crescent, Frankston and Griffith Street, Bacchus Marsh
  • correspondence, assessment and other documents regarding complaints, incidents and allegations, 1974–77
  • list of wards and parents, 1976
  • correspondence regarding concern of families of wards placed at the home, 1977
  • departmental report on staffing, 1977
  • issues for and minutes of meetings, department and board of management of Providence, 1977
  • list of wards and past residents, 1974–76
  • statistics on wards, 1977
  • visit reports, 1977
  • social worker reports, concerns re children in cottage home, Providence, 1977
  • discussion points and reports on the future of the home, including lists of wards and parents, 1977
  • correspondence regarding closure of Providence Children’s Home, 1977
  • correspondence, minutes of meetings, regarding future of wards and transfer of wards, 1978
  • report on meeting with wards’ families, 1978

Child placement records (c.1958-65)

File; Permanent VPRS Number 18069 / P0002

Content: This single file contains about 30 documents that hold information about children placed at Providence Children’s Home from c.1958–65.
The most frequently occurring record is a form or history sheet that relates to an individual child that may include information such as:

  • institution (name)
  • name (of child)
  • date and place of birth
  • date admitted or committed [to be wards of state]
  • reason for admission or committal [to be wards of state]
  • ward number
  • religion
  • date term expires [at child’s age of 18 years]
  • court (where case may have been heard)
  • case history (describes circumstances surrounding the child’s admission or committal)
  • father (name and address)
  • mother (name and address)
  • siblings (names and ward numbers if appropriate)
  • movements or transfers.

There is generally one document per child.

The records are not arranged in a particular order but would suit arrangement in alphabetical order by children’s names. They were transferred to Archival Services from Warawee Reception Centre some time after its closure in c.1989.

They are departmental records created by government officers dealing with placement of children and monitoring their care in babies’ homes. It is also likely that if the child was a ward, information in these records will be found on the child’s ward file.

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 file(s) relating to this home date from 1972-74.

Reviewed 23 August 2016