Woodbine Centre for the Welfare of Mentally Handicapped Children (1954 – 2000)


  • Auspice:Woodbine Centre
  • Title or Name: Woodbine Centre for the Welfare of Mentally Handicapped Children (1954 – 2000)
  • Address: Craig Avenue, Warracknabeal

Woodbine Centre for the Welfare of Mentally Handicapped Children history in brief

Woodbine Centre for the Welfare of Mentally Handicapped Children was built in 1954 and run by a non-profit company Woodbine Centre, incorporated in 1952.

Woodbine was a home for 18 to 20 children and young people with intellectual disabilities, aged six to 15 years for boys and five to 22 years for girls. A high proportion of residents were wards of the state.

The centre was run by the 15-member Woodbine Centre Committee, most of whom had a family member with an intellectual disability.
In 1969, the centre was approved as a category 2 children's home.

In 1979 the committee started developing family group homes in the Warracknabeal area. By the early 1980s, three family group homes were operating and the old congregate care centre was being phased out.

Woodbine still (2016) provides accommodation, day and employment programs, and training to people with intellectual disabilities in regional Victoria.

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 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 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.1985)

File; Permanent VPRS Number 18069 / P0002

Content: The files essentially 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 entitled Woodbine Centre for the Welfare of Mentally Handicapped Children dates form 1968–85 and includes:

file VH-060-78:

  • letter from Mental Health Authority to Social Welfare Department requesting inspection of Woodbine with a view to placement of state wards there and declaration as an approved children’s home, 1968
  • list of wards suitable for Woodbine, 1968
  • inspection and visit reports, 1969–72, 1979, 1982
  • correspondence regarding staffing, 1969, 1975
  • annual reports, 1969–70, 1982
  • correspondence regarding provision of medical equipment and aids for children at Woodbine, 1971
  • correspondence, reports and so on regarding fees payable to Woodbine for state wards resident there, 1971, 1979
  • documentations and report regarding a ward’s placement and possible removal from Woodbine, 1974
  • correspondence, press clippings and so on regarding capital grants for extension of facilities at Woodbine, 1975–76
  • case summaries for wards at Woodbine, 1975
  • holiday placements, 1975, 1976
  • correspondence regarding care for intellectually disabled wards who attain the age of 18, extension of wardship and payment of special rates, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1986
  • correspondence and other documents regarding Woodbine’s financial situation, 1979
  • correspondence regarding payment of medical costs, 1979
  • payment of fees for state wards, 1982
  • application and approval for establishment of approved children’s homes to be family group homes: Anderson Street Home, 145 Anderson Street, Warracknabeal; McLennan Home, 12–14 Tobruk Avenue, Warracknabeal; EW Tipping Home, 1 Warunda Avenue, Warracknabeal; and copy of gazettal dated 13 October 1982 (p. 3408)
  • list of state wards resident in Woodbine facilities, 1982
  • correspondence regarding future plans and development of Woodbine facilities, 1982
  • briefing notes and recommendations for review of state wards at Woodbine including list of wards,1982
  • application for establishment of approved children’s home to be family group home Woodbine Centre, 50 Craig Avenue, Warracknabeal, 1982
  • correspondence seeking funding assistance to set up a family group home in rented premise, including plans and photographs of the house, 1983
  • plans and correspondence relating to proposal to purchase a house for a family group home, 1985.

Reviewed 24 April 2019