St Paul’s School for the Blind


  • Auspice: Villa Maria Catholic Homes (Formerly Villa Maria Society for the Blind, Villa Maria Society)
  • Title or Name: St Paul’s School for the Blind (1957–)
  • Alternative Name: St Paul's Residential School for Blind Children, St Paul's College
  • Address: 3-13 Fernhurst Grove, Kew 3101; 6 Studley Park Road, Kew 3101; 45 Austin Street, Alphington 3078

St Paul’s School for the Blind history in brief

In 1957, the school opened as a residential school for blind or vision-impaired boys and girls aged 5 to 16 years, funded by Catholic Education. This school occasionally admitted wards, and was declared an approved children's home in 1959.

St Paul's was originally governed by the Villa Maria Society for the Blind which also operated two hostels for people who were blind or had a vision impairment.

Children could stay in these hostels after they finished school at St Paul’s. St Paul's also operated two smaller residential units in Kew and Alphington that were also approved children's homes.

In 1980, new kindergarten, primary and secondary schools opened on the site, including a special education unit for children with severe multiple or degenerative disabilities.

Following greater integration of blind or vision-impaired children into mainstream schooling, the school stopped its residential service and expanded educational and therapy programs for children with multiple disabilities, including those with specialised medical needs and those on the autism spectrum.

St Paul's School for the Blind and Vision Impaired remains operational in Kew (as of 2016).

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.1930–85)

File ; Permanent VPRS Number 18069 / P0001

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 St Paul’s date from 1959–88 and include:

  • press clippings, 1956 and 1959
  • annual reports, 1957–59
  • inspection report, 195
  • application and approval for registration: declaration as approved children’s home, 1959
  • correspondence regarding funding, 1960–82
  • payments for Commonwealth wards, 1982
  • declaration as an approved children’s home, 1984
  • list of special premises operated by voluntary organisations with recommendation to be declared as approved children’s homes under the Social Welfare Act 1970, includes St Paul’s School for the Blind’s site at Studley Park Road Kew and Austin Street Alphington, 1984–88.

Reviewed 10 August 2016