St John of God Training Home for Retarded Boys history in brief
In 1953, the Brothers Hospitaller of St John of God acquired 20 acres Point Nepean Road, Cheltenham (site of the Methodist Homes for Children which had closed and moved to Burwood). It became a home and special school for mildly intellectually disabled Catholic boys and young men aged seven to 16.
The home had a capacity of 100 boys and young men unable to live with their parents, including state wards.
The Brothers also operated:
- Marian Lodge Training Centre (adjacent to St John of God), for boys with a moderate intellectual disability capable of benefiting from some training
- Yarra View Training Farm, a sheltered workshop environment for young men over 16 years with mild and moderate intellectual disability.
In 1966, the Cheltenham site was sold to Myer and associated interests. The Brothers moved to a purpose-built facility at Greensborough.
In 1967, the home reopened as Churinga, a Centre of Community Living for Mentally Retarded Boys. It provided a combination of residential care, training and treatment programs for non-educable boys with an intellectual disability, including wards. Capacity was 60–70 residents. Catholic and Protestant boys were accepted. A focus on the boys' families was a key aspect of the program.
A small day-centre program was also conducted. Some girls were admitted as day students in the latter years of the service. In 1990, Churinga closed. St John of God Services Victoria now runs services to people with disabilities, including Churinga Support Services.
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 .
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.1930-85)
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 is dated from 1953–85 and includes:
Churinga residential school correspondence and local orders (closed 1991); Churinga, Diamond Creek Road, Greensborough, and St John of God Training Home for Retarded Boys, Point Nepean Road, Cheltenham; declaration of institution as an Approved Children’s Home on 28 January 1958.
Reviewed 24 April 2019