St Paul's Training School for Boys (1928-79)


  • Auspice: Mission of St James and St John
  • Title or Name: St Paul's Training School for Boys (1928-55)
  • Later Names: St Paul's Home for Boys (1955-79)
  • Address: Boys Home Road, Newhaven, Phillip Island

St Paul's Training School for Boys history in brief

In the 1920s and 1930s, two homes operated at Newhaven on Phillip Island.

St Paul's Training School for Boys was established at Newhaven in 1928 by the Mission of St James and St John.

In 1934, the Seaside Garden Home for Boys was handed to the Mission of St James and St John, attached to the adjoining home as the junior section and renamed St Barnabas.

In 1939, St Barnabas closed.

St Paul's had capacity for 60 boys up to 14 years of age, 43 of whom were wards of the state. Boys received technical training in engineering and carpentry and attended an adjacent state school.

In 1956 the St Nicholas' Boys Home in Glenroy was closed. The boys were transferred from Glenroy to St Paul's at Newhaven, and the St Paul's boys were sent back to the department's Royal Park receiving depot.

St Paul's then became a home for about 50 boys aged 8 to 16 years who had not had contact with the justice system.

In 1973, there were only 15 boys in residence at St Paul’s. That year St Paul’s Home for Boys was partially closed and soon ceased operation as a children's home.

By 1979 St Paul's had become the St Paul's Discovery Centre, funded for socially disadvantaged children by the Commonwealth Schools Commission. It is estimated to have closed around 2004, but this cannot be confirmed.

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.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 file relating to Seaside Gardens Home for Boys dates from 1931 to 1973 and includes:

  • list of Catholic boys at Seaside Gardens 1931
  • maintenance payments, running costs and so on 1931–34
  • Mission to St James and St John assumes responsibility for Seaside Gardens 1934
  • inspector’s report includes comparison of conditions at Seaside Gardens and St Paul’s; references to corporal punishment, 1934
  • list of wards at St Paul’s and St Barnabas, 1935
  • doctor’s report on a visit, no evidence of undue punishment, 1936
  • list of boys transferred from depot, 1939
  • approval under Children’s Welfare Act 1928 as an institution to care for neglected children, 1939
  • report of boys involved in local crime, 1944
  • staffing arrangements for 1951, 1956, 1963
  • list of boys and their IQ level, 1944
  • private resident to hospital with polio, 1952
  • school reports for boys for 1953, 1954
  • documentation of allegations with investigation and reports, 1954.
  • attendance at Wonthaggi secondary schools 1954
  • relocation of St Nicholas Boys Home boys to St Paul’s and return some boys to Royal Park Depot, 1956
  • declaration of St Paul’s as an approved children’s home 1956
  • inspector’s report, mentions new arrivals from St Nicholas, corporal punishment, pocket money and poor relationship with local community 1956
  • correspondence regarding use or not of corporal punishment and consequences 1956
  • psychological report on boys including names 1956
  • inspector’s reports 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970
  • discussion on unsuitability of St Paul’s and suggestion that it be used to alleviate overcrowding at Turana 1960
  • report advises that St Paul’s will accept Aboriginal and disabled children but not offenders; relations with local community improving and so on 1963
  • inspector’s report states that staff relations damaged after actions of new superintendent 1970
  • external complaint and investigation 1970
  • documentation of allegation, investigation and result 1971
  • report and press clipping regarding partial closure of St Paul’s 1973
  • undated information relating to the St Paul’s Discovery Centre c.1979.

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 relating to the St Paul’s Boys Home dates from 1971 to 1975.

Reviewed 10 August 2016