The Gables (1962–85)


  • Auspice: Childrens' Welfare Department
  • Title or Name: The Gables (1962-85)
  • 101 Princess Street, kew

The Gables history in brief

The Gables was a solid brick, two-storey Edwardian residence initially built as a private home, and later used as nurses' quarters for the Kew Mental Hospital.

In 1962, The Gables opened as a state-run Children's Home for 25 children, all wards of the state: boys about four to 10 years and girls four to 14 years. Most had disabilities or learning difficulties.

In 1965, renovations enabled the children to live in three fairly self-contained units, one upstairs and two downstairs in the main building, and in a cottage at the rear of the main building under the supervision of cottage mothers.

In 1985, The Gables Children’s Home ceased to operate and The Gables became a residential unit.

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.
  • Archival Services agency history files.

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.

The Gables Children's Home (1962-85)

Register of residents and movements register (1968-85)

Volume; Permanent VPRS 17944 / P0001

Content: This series contains a register of The Gables' admissions and discharges, as well as movements of individual residents.

The register entries are arranged in a double page column format for admissions (left page) and discharges (right page) for each week from pages 1–5. These entries detail: the date of admission; section or number; name; date of birth; details (page number); mother; father; address; from where received.

Most of the page entries have been adapted to a movements register, with each page converted to reflect the movements and activities of each child residing at the home.

These pages record the name and address of the visitor taking the child out of the home and date of outing, rather than single admission and discharge entries for each child.

Child case history files (1957-85)

File; Permanent VPRS Number 17974 / P0001

Content: A case history file was created for each resident at The Gables. The exception to this arrangement was where two or more children from the same family were admitted, when a single file was usually created for all of the siblings.

Files are not arranged in any order. The file covers include the name and date of birth of the client. In some cases the file covers might include the date of admission, date of discharge, ward number and religion. Cottage mothers and other staff added to the files with information about the child’s progress.

The Gables Children’s Home child case history files may include the following details:

  • child’s name
  • date of birth
  • personal description
  • names and ages of parents and siblings
  • circumstances of admission
  • family background
  • religion, and when admitted
  • ward number
  • case history
  • family and social history
  • assessment notes,
  • behavioural notes
  • progress reports
  • education reports and achievements
  • referee reports
  • medical and dental treatment details
  • health and medical history
  • psychiatric reports
  • psychological assessments
  • incidents
  • offences committed
  • court documents
  • holiday arrangements
  • correspondence in relation to wardship and guardianship
  • information regarding transfers from, and to, other institutions
  • circumstances and date of discharge from The Gables and from wardship.

Financial records (1963-86)

File; Temporary

Content: This accession contains a variety of records attributed to several centres in the Inner Eastern Region. It includes some financial records related to The Gables as follows:

  • The Gables Advance Account Ledger 1982–1984
  • The Gables Auxiliary Account Ledger 1982–1985

Individual program file (1985-85)

File; Temporary

Content: This is a single file relating to a single resident of The Gables. The file contains six copies of an individual program for the resident, created c.1985, at the time the resident was being prepared to leave The Gables.

Staff establishment cards (Hillside, Illoura and The Gables) (1970-83)

Card; Temporary

Content: The small set of blue staff establishment cards relate to Hillside, Illoura and The Gables children’s homes. These cards show position occupants by name, position occupied and name of the home the position relates to (most of the columns have not been used).

Departmental children’s homes files (1963-89)

File; Permanent 18072 / P0001

Content: The files record interaction between the various departmental homes and the department. This filing system was created in 1975, combining earlier correspondence and other records to create one system with DH prefixes.
The specific file(s) relating to this home include:
  • health inspectors’ reports, 1961–76
  • authority for consent to any surgical or other operation, dated 8 February 1963

Staff resignations list dated 12 December 1962.

Community Services Victoria (and predecessor departments) personnel files (c.1950s-88)

File; Temporary

Content: This series comprises the central employee filing system for the department.

These files chart each employee’s history including the following contents: employee's name, date commenced, positions held, leave details, position changes and promotions, salary increases and termination details. Some files include the employee's leave card as well as various employment history details. These records are arranged in alphabetical order by surname.

The files include staff working at the reception centres, training centres and children’s homes.

The Gables Residential Unit 101 (1985–c.92)

Report books, diaries, communication books and staff sign-on books (1985-97)

Volume; Temporary

Content: This accession was transferred to the department archives from the department’s Eastern Region office. The records are attributed to Children and Youth Services, Accommodation and Support Services. The accession includes records created in several different residential units, including The Gables. The records specific to the Gables are:

  • report books 1987–90,
  • communication books 1985–92,
  • diary/appointment books, 1987–90
  • staff sign-on book, 1985–90

Report books contain entries that show the time of day on which events occurred. Incidents and other observations by staff of residents were recorded for inclusion at a later time in formal reports.

Communication books were primarily used as a means of communications between staff on different shifts. Entries relate to matters such as unit maintenance, administrative matters as well as child activities that staff needed to be aware of.

Diaries primarily document children’s appointments, wake-up calls et cetera.

Note that there is some overlap in information recorded in these different types of communication records.

Reviewed 10 August 2016