St Luke’s Toddlers’ Home (1927–77)


  • Auspice: Anglicare (1981current), Church of England, Bendigo, Mission of St James and St John 
  • Name:   St Luke’s Toddlers Home (1927–76)
  • Other names: St Luke’s Anglicare (current), St Luke's Family Care (1976–81), St Luke’s Family Care Council Youth Hostel
  • Address: Ferntree Gully, Bendigo

St Luke’s Toddlers’ Home history in brief

In 1927, the Mission of St James and St John opened their first Toddlers' Home at Ferntree Gully (their first until 1932 when they leased Langley Hall, Bendigo). St Luke's had a capacity of 45 to 50 children aged 18 months to five years, housed in groups according to age. School-aged children attended local schools, and there was a kindergarten on campus.

In 1976, the Mission converted its operations into family group homes and by the end of the decade had two units accommodating between six and seven children (mostly adolescents) in Bendigo and Eaglehawk.

In 1977, the Church of England Diocese of Bendigo assumed the auspice of St Luke’s.

In 1979 the St Luke's Family Care Council managed a multi-service agency providing a range of family support and substitute care programs.

By 1981, St Luke's Family Care was operating two early adolescent units in Bendigo for children aged 10 to 16 years, a regional foster care program, a youth accommodation program (including a youth residential unit for eight young people, 15 to 19 years), a youth community placement program and a kindergarten for children with special needs in small groups. St Luke's also assumed responsibility for St Aidan's Children's Centre Bendigo’s two family group homes.

In 2016, the organisation is called St Luke's Anglicare and has 100 staff throughout central and north-western Victoria delivering a wide range of services including intensive family services, out-of-home care services, youth accommodation and support, and residential care for children.

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.

Client Records

Enquiries regarding the availability of client records should be made to:

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


Please note that 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.

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.85)

File; Permanent (VPRS Number 18069 / P0001)
Permanent (VPRS Number18069 / 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 date from 1939–86 and include:

File VH-026-1A (St Luke’s Family Care Council Youth Hostel)

  • developmental plan and submission for the establishment of a youth hostel in the Loddon-Campaspe region, 1980
  • submission for restructure of St Luke’s Family Care, Loddon-Campaspe region, 1981

VH-026-1 (Head office file)

  • file notes with detailed case information on a child placed at St Luke’s, 1976
  • copy of departmental discussion regarding conversion proposal of Mission of St James and St John, for restructure of its child and family welfare service in Loddon-Campaspe and Westernport regions, including conversion of St Luke’s home, Bendigo, into family group homes, 1977
  • Correspondence regarding a capital grant for conversion of St Luke’s and a maintenance allowance for children transferred to Bayne Cottage, 31 Glenco Street, Kennington, 1977
  • reports and correspondence on future of St Luke’s (Bendigo) and Andrew Kerr, Mornington, 1977
  • Paper for consideration and advice: Anglican Family Care Council, Incorporating St Luke’s Toddlers Home, White Hills, 1977
  • correspondence regarding purchase of an additional family group home in Bendigo, 1977
  • correspondence regarding placement of a family of children located in Colac, 1977
  • response to questions from St James and St John on future of their family group homes in Bendigo, 1978
  • correspondence with the department regarding services in the Loddon-Campaspe region and the Anglican Diocese of Bendigo, 1978
  • correspondence regarding disposal of family group homes in Loddon-Campaspe region, 1979
  • correspondence relating to hand over of 31 Glenco Street, Kennington and 32 Haggar Street, Eaglehawk to the Diocese of Bendigo Family Care Council, 1979
  • correspondence from St Luke’s Family Care council regarding staffing and property in handover of family group homes, 1979
  • return of admission and discharges, listing of wards of state at 32 Haggar Street, Eaglehawk and 31 Glenco Street, Kennington, for relocation, 1979
  • correspondence and report on a foster care program, 1979
  • visits report, 1979
  • staffing requirements, 1979, 1980
  • file note relating to placement of two wards from Allambie, 1980
  • report from St Luke’s Family Care Council on staffing at Haggar Street, with un-named ward case details, 1980
  • summary of meeting regarding future plans and capabilities, 1981
  • opening of Oman House, Youth Residential Unit, Bendigo, 1981
  • report and correspondence regarding closure and sale of St Aiden’s, family group homes and restructure of St Luke’s, 1981
  • application for establishment of approved children’s homes, 308 Bernard Street, Bendigo and 169 High Street, Kangaroo Flat, 1982
  • Correspondence between department and St Luke’s Family care regarding review of its services, 1982
  • minutes of meetings, correspondence and reports to discuss establishment of a unit for five children currently at Allambie, includes detailed case information, 1983
  • rental of house, 21 Neal Street, Bendigo, for a family group home to accommodate a family of five children, 1983
  • sale of family group home,169 High Street, Kangaroo Flat, and application for conversion funding, 1983
  • bilateral agreement between Loddon Campaspe Regional Centre, Department of Community Welfare and St Luke’s Family Care, Anglican Diocese of Bendigo, 1983
  • submission for funding, home makers service and a family substitute and child placement program, 1985
  • approval for conversion funding, to relocate family group home at 308 Barnard Street, Bendigo, to new location 1986

File VH-026

  • inspector’s reports, 1939, 1940, 1943, 1947–50, 1952, 1953, 1955–59, 1962, 1964, 1965
  • lists of state wards at St Luke’s, 1939–42, 1944, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959
  • file note regarding patch testing for tuberculosis, one child has positive result, 1947
  • correspondence regarding dental inspection, 1947
  • file notes regarding named wards, 1948
  • correspondence regarding poliomyelitis immunisation and Salk injections 1956
  • notes regarding outbreaks of measles and chickenpox, 1956
  • correspondence regarding consent for operations and other surgical procedures, 1962
  • proposal for St Luke’s Toddlers Home to house 35 children and operate along similar lines to Andrew Kerr at Mornington, 1968
  • copy of affidavit and correspondence on existing services as they relate to St Luke’s as a beneficiary of a will, 1968–72
  • correspondence providing detailed case information on wards of state resident at St Luke’s, 1972
  • reports and recommendation on St Luke’s, 1973
  • correspondence regarding transfer of named wards (with case information), 1973
  • correspondence regarding application to vary a charitable trust, 1974

Staffing Priorities Committee homes and hostels files (1976–83)

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 positions required. Individual home and hostels are listed accompanied by comprehensive material concerning each children’s 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 St Luke’s dates from the year 1978.

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

File; Unappraised

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

Reviewed 01 September 2016