Try Youth Hostel


  • Auspice: The Try Society
  • Title or Name: Try Youth Hostel
  • Address: 53 Cromwell Road, South Yarra

Try Youth Hostel history in brief

The Try Society emerged the early 1880s, reflecting the work of William Mark Forster with boys in Melbourne. Shortly after he established the Try Society, Forster also began the Melbourne City Newsboys’ Society which operated for decades as the Newsboys Club.

How it worked

Boys paid a membership fee to join the Try Society, entitling them to a range of classes and activities. The Society also had a savings bank, a Band of Hope, and a Children's Church. Most members of the Try Society were employed in factories or workshops.

In 1887, the Toorak and South Yarra Try Boys Society opened in a building in South Yarra [Hawksburn]. In 1888, a farm in Lilydale was lent to the Society.

By 1890s, the Try Society had clubs in the central and inner city, South Yarra, Richmond, Camberwell, Malvern, Windsor, St Kilda, Brighton, Carlton, Yarraville, East Melbourne.

The Try Society published the Australian Boys' Paper until 1907. From 1907, it published the monthly Try Boys' Gazette. The Girls Try Society was situated in Motherwell Street, Hawksburn. In the late 1890s, Vida Goldstein was a key figure. Girls could attend classes in singing, writing, elocution and calisthenics. The Girls' Try Society also had a library. The Society found 'situations' in the country for girls needing them.

In 2009, Try Youth and Community Services operated a number of programs with young people, including Big Brothers Big Sisters. The collection guide appears to refer to records held by the department relating to the Try Youth Hostel, dated 1977–83.

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 .


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.

Staffing Priorities Committee, homes and hostels files (1976–83)

File; Temporary

Content: This collection comprises files documenting the recommendations for staffing positions for homes and hostels, correspondence between the Minister of Community Welfare Services and senior officers as well as funding information. The Staffing Priorities Committee made recommendations to the minister regarding priority of staffing positions required. Individual homes and hostels are listed accompanied by comprehensive material concerning each home, family group home or hostel. There are also minutes from the approved children's homes and hostels meetings from 1978–80.

The specific file(s) relating to Try Youth Hostel date from the year 1977.

Staffing Priorities Committee, homes and hostels, correspondence, guidelines for operation and minutes of meetings (1976–80)

File; Unappraised

Content: This collection is comprised of permanent material removed from AS/1993/014. The material comprises ministerial correspondence, and Staffing Priority Committee minutes and list of members. The Staffing Priorities Committee made recommendations to the minister regarding priority of staffing positions required.

Reviewed 24 April 2019