The Haven Foundling Home & Refuge (1897 – 1988)


  • Auspice: Salvation Army
  • Title or Name: The Haven Foundling Home & Refuge (1897–1988) 
  • Other Names: The Haven Maternity Home (1897–1973); The Haven Hospital and Nursing Home (1932–67); The Haven Child Care Centre (1973–75); The Haven Hostel for Girls with Intellectual Disabilities (1975–88)
  • Address: Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy

The Haven history in brief

In 1897, the Salvation Army established The Haven in a substantial private residence in Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy. A private home was modified to provide dormitories, a maternity hospital and a nursery.

The Haven was used as a maternity home for young mothers who were sent there from around the state. In 1932, a two-storey hospital and nursing home was erected on the Alfred Crescent site to accommodate infants and toddlers.

An inspection in 1938 found The Haven accommodated 56 mothers (22 pregnant, and 34 with young infants), 22 infants who were wards of state, and 20 infants under the infant life-protection provisions of the Children's Welfare Act 1928.

In 1967, the hospital section was closed and women were sent to the Royal Women's Hospital to give birth.

The Haven Hostel for babies and toddlers

In 1971, a new babies’ home opened on the site, comprising a reception area, lounge, office for the sister-in-charge, and a room for newborn babies up to six months awaiting adoption. Another wing comprised four units, each for five children.

Until the mid-1970s, The Haven operated as a hostel for unmarried mothers, and as a hospital and home for babies and toddlers. The Haven Hostel babies' and toddlers home accommodated 31 babies and toddlers from birth to three years. The hostel section still housed unmarried mothers whose babies were delivered at the Royal Women's Hospital.

In 1973, the Salvation Army closed the babies’ home and established a day care centre in its place.

From 1975 until its closure in 1988, The Haven cared for girls with a mild intellectual disability.

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

Admission and Discharge Day Books (1907–75)

Volume; Permanent VPRS 17821 / P0001

Content: ‘The Haven’ Admission and Discharge Day Books record details of infants who were admitted into the care of ‘The Haven’, and provide admission number, name, date and place of birth, date admitted and discharged, and the location following discharge (e.g.: died of gastroenteritis, gone with mother, boarded out, adopted, committed to Royal Park, etc), and an address. Entries are arranged in order of registration number.

As registration numbers commence at 756, it would appear that the first volume of the series is missing. It is not known whether this volume still exist, as it appears to have been separated from the rest of the collection for many years.

Registers are arranged in chronological order. There is no knowledge of any control records. To locate an entry, it is necessary to know a person’s birth date. Volume six includes entries from several time periods, to capture instances where entries may have been missed or rectified from entries in the original register.

Volume 1: Registration number 0756-2697: 21/12/1907 – 1/10/1919

Volume 2: Registration number 2686-4275: 27/9/1919 – 15/10/1928

Volume 3: Registration number 4276-5717: 16/10/1928 – 14/71939

Volume 4: Registration number 5718-7860: 15/7/1939 – 20/9/1945

Volume 5: Registration number 7861-9359: 15/9/1945 – 3/8/1949

Volume 6: Registration number 9360-10808 (entries not consecutive): 1949-1953

  • Entries 9360 to 9472: 16/8/1949 to 6/1/1950
  • Entries 4473 to 4713: 10/1/1950 to 18/9/1950
  • Entries 7713 to 7726: 23/9/1950 to 6/10/1950
  • Entries 7227 to 8182: 7/10/1950 to 15/7/1953
  • Entries 10683 to 10808: 15/2/1953 to 25/6/1953

Volume 7: Registration number 10809-12482: 25/6/1953 – 3/2/1959

Volume 8: Registration number12483-15060; 0001-368 ): 4/2/1959 – 23/1/1975

Volume 8 includes a register of babies born at Royal Women’s Hospital, where the mother and child were subsequently admitted to The Haven. The registration numbers 0001 to 0368 for births at Royal Women’s Hospital, include the time period of child birthdates 25/4/1967 to 23/1/1975

Labour Ward Case Books and Registers (1916–67)

Volume; Permanent VPRS 17820 / P0001

Content: The Labour Ward Case Books record details of mothers who gave birth to a child at ‘The Haven’ maternity and babies home from 1916 to 1967. The registers include the name of mother, marital state, age, time and date of labour, presentation of the infant (e.g.: breech, vertex), the date the child was born, sex, delivery (e.g.: normal, forceps), weight at birth, date of discharge, progress after labour and antenatal and postnatal clinical details.

The hospital section of The Haven closed in 1967. Expectant mothers were then taken to the Royal Women’s Hospital. The Labour Ward Case Books begin in 1916, through to 1967, when the hospital section closed.

Entries are arranged in chronological order by date of admission and by a registration number allocated to each new admission. There is no knowledge of any control records for the registers. To locate an entry, it is necessary to know a person’s birth date.

The whereabouts of the register for the period May 1922 to December 1927 is not known.

Salvation Army - The Haven Hostel Babies & Toddlers Home - Labour Ward Case Book Register

  • Volume 1: Registration number: 0001-1009: 30/11/ 1916 - 4/5/1922 ( Births )
  • Volume 2: Registration number: 1979-3959: 5/1/1928 - 14/9/1941 ( Births )
  • Volume 3: Registration number: 3960-5771: 15/9/1941 - 9/11/1946 ( Births )
  • Volume 4: Registration number: 5772-9644: 7/11/1946 – 7/8/1953 ( Births
  • Volume 5: Registration number: 9645-12022: 9/8/1953 – 4/7/1961 ( Births )
  • Volume 6: Registration number: 12023-12454: 7/11/1961 – 22/4/1967 ( Births )

Departmental information

Voluntary children’s homes files (c.1930–85)

File; Permanent VPRS 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 The Haven is dated from 1938 to 1973 and includes:

  • quarterly, annual and biannual inspection reports, some including lists of wards of state and infant life protection children, 1938–67
  • report from the Children's Welfare Department by the Inspector at The Haven outlining medical conditions of children in care, 1939
  • correspondence regarding immunisation, funding, over payment of fees, recordkeeping of wards, facilities and standards, staffing, placement of wards, medical consents, and finances, 1949–72
  • correspondence and notes regarding adequacy of facilities and overcrowding at The Haven, notes on standards, 1955–56
  • confidential review and report on conditions at The Haven, 1969
  • correspondence regarding the future of The Haven, visit from the Children’s Homes Section representative, and change from residential to day care, 1973
  • list (several) of state wards in residence or transferred from The Haven, 1973
  • correspondence regarding placement of wards in new homes following closure of The Haven, 1973.

Reviewed 10 August 2016