Orphanage, Industrial School and Reformatory Records
Also see Children's Records.
Also see Adoption Records.
Also see Benevolent Asylum Records.
Also see School Records.
Also see Indigenous Victorian Records.
Also see Court Records.
The following were early orphanages in Melbourne and suburbs:
- Melbourne Orphanage (St James' Orphan Asylum 1850 -1853 named Melbourne Orphan Asylum 1853 named Melbourne Orphanage 1926) Melbourne, South Melbourne, North Brighton and Middle Brighton 1853-1965
- St. Vincent de Paul's Orphanage, South Melbourne (named St. Vincent de Paul's Boys Home 1967) 1854-1997 This housed boys. Girls were also housed here until 1867.
- St. Vincent de Paul's Girls' Orphanage, South Melbourne (named St. Vincent de Paul's Children's Home 1962) 1861-1962
- Victorian Infant Asylum and Foundling Hospital, Fitzroy and East Melbourne (named Foundling Hospital and Infants' Home 1906 named Berry Street Babies' Home and Hospital 1964) 1877-1975
- Home of Hope for Destitute Children, Collingwood 1880-c.1927
- Excelsior Boys' Home, North Brighton 1886-c.1915
- Livingstone House (named Methodist Homes for Children 1891 named Orana, the Peace Memorial Homes for Children 1953), Carlton and Cheltenham 1888-1988
- St Joseph's Home for Destitute Children (named St. Joseph's Home for Boys 1925 St. Joseph's Home for Children 1967), South Melbourne, Surrey Hills and Flemington 1888-1997
- Kildonan (Presbyterian) (named Kildonan Homes for Children c.1960), North Melbourne and Burwood 1890-c.1993
- Heidelberg Boys' Home (Salvation Army) 1893-1895
- Church of England Homes for Children, Brighton and Malvern 1894-c.1968
- Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission 1895-1924
- Pakenham Boys' Home (Salvation Army) 1895-1897
- Burwood Boys' Home (named Burwood Children's Home c.1972-c.1986) 1895-c.1986
- Bayswater Boys' Homes, The Basin 1897-1986
- Canadian Rescue and Children's Home 1897-c.1921
- Murrumbeena Girls' Home (Salvation Army) 1897-1912
The following were early orphanages in the rest of Victoria:
- Geelong Orphan Asylum c.1854 - 1984 (named Geelong Protestant Orphan Asylum 1862 named Geelong and Western District Protestant Orphanage 1909 named Glastonbury Geelong Protestant Orphanage 1955 named Glastonbury Children's Home 1977)
- St. Augustine's Boys' Orphanage, Geelong (named St. Augustine's Orphanage 1939 named St. Augustine's Boys Home 1966) 1857-1988 This also housed girls until 1878.
- Our Lady's Orphanage, Geelong 1862-1997 (later St. Catherine's Orphanage 1912-1960, St. Catherine's Children's Home 1960-1975)
- Ballarat District Orphan Asylum (named Ballarat Orphanage 1909 named Ballarat Children's Homes 1968) 1865-1984
- Nazareth House (Roman Catholic), Ballarat 1888-1976
Industrial schools were established in Victoria in the 1860s. Neglected children who came before the courts were sent to industrial schools. These schools were abolished in the 1880s.
The following were industrial schools in Melbourne and suburbs:
- Princes Bridge Industrial School (Immigrants' Aid Society) 1864-1865
- Convent of the Good Shepherd Industrial School for Girls, Abbotsford 1865-?
- St. Joseph's Industrial School (Our Lady's Orphanage), Geelong 1865-?
- Royal Park Industrial School 1875-c.1887
- Royal Park Depot (also called Receiving Depot), Parkville c.1880-1955
The following were industrial schools in the rest of Victoria:
- Sunbury Industrial School 1865-c.1880
- Geelong Industrial School c.1865-c.1880
- Ballarat Industrial School 1869-c.1879
- Bendigo Benevolent Asylum Industrial School 1868-1885
There were also training ships for older boys:
- The ship Nelson, Hobson's Bay 1868-c.1878
- The ship Success, Hobson's Bay 1868-c.1873
- The ship Sir Harry Smith, Hobson's Bay (also a reformatory) 1865-1873
- The ship Deborah, Hobson's Bay 1864-c.1873
Reformatories were established in Victoria in 1864 and continued until 1954. Criminal children who came before the courts were sent to reformatories.
- Immigrants' Aid Society Reformatory for Juvenile Offenders c.1860-c.1864
- Government Reformatory for Boys (The ship Sir Harry Smith Hobson's Bay 1865-1873, Jika Reformatory for Boys, Pentridge Prison, Coburg 1873-1879, Ballarat Boys' Reformatory, Ballarat 1879-1893) 1864-1893
- Government Reformatory for Protestant Girls c. 1864-1893 (Sunbury and Melbourne c. 1864-1875, Jika Reformatory for Girls, Pentridge Prison, Coburg 1875-1895)
- Convent of the Good Shepherd Reformatory for Girls, Abbotsford 1866-1883
- Convent of the Good Shepherd, Oakleigh Reformatory for Girls, 1883-1981
- Brookside Private Reformatory for Protestant Girls, Scarsdale 1887-1900
- Ballarat Probationary School for Boys, Alfredton 1890-1892
- Brunswick Girls' Home - Albion Protestant Reformatory for Girls (Salvation Army), Brunswick 1892-1902
- Olinda Farm Reformatory 1893-c.1900
- Bukawert Reformatory School for Protestant Boys, Buln Buln 1894-1899
- Straight View Farm Reformatory School (Roman Catholic), Harcourt 1895-1919
- Mount Paradise Reformatory for Boys (Roman Catholic), Pakenham 1896-c.1911
- Pakenham Girls' Reformatory 1897-1900
- Mintaro Reformatory Home for Girls (Methodist) 1903-1912
In 1872 a system of boarding out children was brought in where state wards were placed in foster care in private homes.
The Public Record Office Victoria holds records of foster children and state wards in Victoria. The Department of Human Services holds more recent records. It should be noted that some of these records are closed under Section 9 and as they relate to children, they will not be released for 99 years after the creation of the records. An application under Freedom of Information may be made.
PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - WARD REGISTERS 1864-1966 (VPRS 4527)
These relate to wards of state. These were known as Children's Registers from 1864 to 1887. Wards of state 1864-1894 and some wards of state 1894-1899 can be seen online on Public Record Office Victoria website. These are searchable by name through the catalogue.
ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, INDEX TO THE CHILDREN'S REGISTERS OF STATE WARDS, 1850-1893
This is an index of Children's Registers of State Wards in Victoria, Australia. It is culled from the records of the Department for Neglected and Criminal Children and industrial and reformatory schools of the 19th Century in Victoria, Australia. It is searchable.
GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA - GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES
Industrial Schools Inward Registered Correspondence Index 1867-1870 has been included.
This is an index to correspondence found in Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 937.
STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA - MELBOURNE ORPHAN ASYLUM RECORDS 1845-1989 (MS13168)
The records are not online. The collection comprises case files, ca. 1858-1959, admission book ca.1850-1986, official register of inmates, 1887-1975; reports on apprentices, 1913-1917, minute books, annual reports and other documents. The admissions book can be consulted for you by Library staff and if files are found they can be viewed in the Library’s Heritage Collections Reading Room.
Access to records that are older than 99 years are available without restriction. To access records 99 years and under, an application to OzChild needs to be made. This is a finding aid.
FAMILYSEARCH - GEELONG AND WESTERN DISTRICT PROTESTANT ORPHANAGE ADMISSION RECORDS AND CARD INDEX 1870-1946
Includes minute books 1870-1913, 1930-1933. Original records in possession of the Geelong Historical Records Centre, Geelong,
FAMILYSEARCH - THE AUSTRALIAN PRESBYTERIAN CALENDAR AND EDUCATIONAL REGISTER FOR VICTORIA 1877
This includes a list of staff associated with Industrial and Reformatory Schools in 1877.
FIND AND CONNECT - HISTORY AND INFORMATION ABOUT AUSTRALIAN ORPHANAGES, CHILDREN'S HOMES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS