St Cuthbert’s Home for Boys (1948–77)


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


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

St Cuthbert's Agency history in brief 

In 1948, St Cuthbert's was established in a large two-storey brick building c.1900 overlooking Colac. It was a Church of England facility, operated by a board of management.

In 1953, the home had capacity for 36 boys aged from five years, both wards and private admissions. All boys attended local state schools.

The department did not make extensive use of St Cuthbert's to place wards, instead placing them closer to Melbourne and their families. But ward numbers at St Cuthbert's increased in the mid-to-late 1960s, during which time St Cuthbert's also started accepting girls.

In 1969, St Cuthbert's established a cottage home at the edge of the property for older boys, increasing the home's capacity to 48. In 1970, another section became a family group home and an emergency care unit was also established on the campus, bringing total capacity to 61.

In 1975, St Cuthbert's opened two new cottages.

In December 1977, St Cuthbert's closed. Children were either transferred to other children's homes, home released, or placed in foster care or residential units closer to their families.

In January 1978, Glastonbury purchased St Cuthbert’s in Colac and operated two Family Group Homes from the site.

In 1980, Glastonbury started transferring all its congregate care facilities into family group homes.

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 & Connect.


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.1930–85)

File ; Permanent VPRS Number 18069 / P0002

Content: The files essentially 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 St Cuthbert's date from 1949–1978 and includes:

  • correspondence with the department: includes dental attention, funding of state wards, 1949 requesting placements at the home 1956, accepting British migrant children 1957, funding of outfits for wards 1959; boarding out of wards 16 years and over; transfers of wards; applications to admit children 1971–72, transfer of children 1977
  • court case regarding the allegation of a child’s mistreatment, 1953
  • structural alterations, site plans  and general description of facilities, 1953
  • principal’s report to board of management, 1953
  • application for and correspondence regarding declaration as an approved children’s home, 1955–56
  • inspectors and visit report 1956, 1957, 1966–72, 1974, 1977
  • report on family of boys at the home, 1956
  • report on a non-ward, 1957
  • includes consent to surgical or any other operation upon wards dated 15 July 1966
  • list of wards 1962, 1971, 1975
  • list of wards and future placements, 1977
  • description of facility, 1962
  • in depth report on the home, 1966
  • application for fostering/adoption, 1968
  • list of ward names and numbers regarding influenza immunisation, 28 September 1971
  • copy of St Cuthbert Homes Act 1971
  • article on financial issues, deputation to minister, capital grant application, 1974–75
  • notes for minister on situation of the home, 1975
  • minutes of children’s homes planning committee, 1975
  • annual report, 1976
  • incident of possible mistreatment, 1975
  • list of wards in Colac subregion, 1977
  • summary of war names, numbers, siblings and family, 1977
  • transfer of children, 1977
  • notification of the home’s closure, 1977
  • St Cuthbert’s complex closure, facilities valuation 1977

Reviewed 10 August 2016