We would like to acknowledge those who spent time as children or youths in orphanages, children’s homes, foster homes or any other form of institutional or out-of-home ‘care’.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that University of Melbourne Collections may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons, or culturally sensitive content. More information.

Below is a list of collections at the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) that contain material related to Care Leavers and Victoria’s child welfare history. This list will continue to evolve as UMA staff identify more records of interest within the current collection and in any future records transferred to UMA.

Note: We like to let people know that they may come across material that is confronting or disturbing in the records. Sometimes words or images can cause sadness or distress, or trigger traumatic memories for people, particularly survivors of past abuse, violence or childhood trauma. For some people, these responses can be overwhelming. If you need to talk to someone, support is available - please see Find & Connect Support Services.

Bendigo Orphanage
Bendigo Orphanage, West Elevation, 1903, Bates, Smart and McCutcheon Pty Ltd collection, Job 118, Drawing No. 5, 1968.0013.00317

Collection Title, Reference Number

Date Range of Records

Link to UMA Catalogue and Finding Aid Listings

Relevance to Care Leavers

Records of Melbourne City Mission  



Melbourne City Mission is a welfare organisation established in 1854 by the Churches of Melbourne. Records include: Client Records, 1933-c.1973. Annual Reports. Melbourne City Mission was responsible for an adoption service, Hartnett House which included a children’s home and, later, family group homes; the Elizabeth Fry Retreat, a hostel for young women, later called Swinborn Lodge.

Records of Teresa Wardell

1936 -1955


Teresa Wardell (1896-1995) was one of Victoria's first trained social workers. While working for the Victorian State Government Children’s Welfare Department Teresa Wardell collected records about state wards which contain the names and details of individuals. For example, case cards and case files on children at the Boys and Girls Depots, Royal Park, written by her or other social workers, Child Endowment notes and a notebook with information about court cases.

There is a name index that covers some of the files in this collection, case files located in Units 4 and 5 (date range c.1936 to c.1955). The Name index is a tool to help archivists locate relevant records for Care Leavers. It is not publicly available because it contains the names of individuals, but it can be accessed by Care Leavers.

Citizens Welfare Service of Victoria Records



Records of the Citizens Welfare Service of Victoria (CWS) and its predecessor the Charity Organisation Society. Records include: Case records 1903-1966; index names and statistical particulars of clients 1948-1960.

CWS operated a foster care program from approximately 1954 onwards and a girls hostel in Kew from approx. 1964-September 1967.

Client Case Records, Citizens Welfare Service of Victoria



Case records of Citizens Welfare Service clients, most of the records contain documents created in the date range of 1961-1979. Clients being primarily those people seeking relationship guidance counselling and including general counselling/support. Each client is an individual or couple and the file documents their interaction with Citizens Welfare Service.

Client Case Records, Citizens Welfare Service of Victoria  



Day Books recording inquiries from and interviews with Citizens Welfare Service clients by social workers; Diaries - show the work patterns of Citizens Welfare Service social workers, covering activities such as individual and group consultations, home visits, 'duty', married couples group, 'student support group', meetings and visits to Observatory Clinic; Short term contact client files including notes and correspondence relating to group therapy or counselling sessions conducted by Citizens Welfare Service social workers; "ACL and Bristol Adjustment Guides: report forms for family counselling".

Records consist of one item, a file labelled 'ACL & Bristol: Students Ret'. File contains data gathered according to the standard report forms titled 'The Child in the Family'.

Private and Professional Papers of Leonard J Tierney (2008.0060)



Leonard Tierney was an academic and the Head of School of Social Work at the University of Melbourne 1961-1990.

Records in this collection were compiled during Tierney’s work as a lecturer, scholar, teacher, community advisor and consultant. The records comprise of research papers, discussion papers, meeting minutes, reports, drafts and interim reports; including reports to government departments, organisational reports (some relating to the Brotherhood of St Laurence, St Anthony's Project, and St Vincent’s and St Augustine’s Boys’ Homes), published and annual reports.

Papers of Samuel MacMahon Wadham 


1964.0014 [WADHAM, SAMUEL MACMAHON, SIR (1891-1972)]

Samuel McMahon Wadham was Professor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne from 1926. Throughout his life, Wadham was involved with a wide range of scientific and community organisations, particularly in rural Victoria, including the Northcote Farm School and Tally Ho Boys' Training Farm.

There are records relating to Northcote Children's Farm in this collection dating 1940-1970 including reports, agendas, minutes, correspondence, financial statements.

There are also records relating to Tally Ho - Methodist Central Mission Boys' Home dating  1931-1932 including accounts, reports, and, correspondence.

Welfare Photographs and Publications (2013.0135)

1930-1970 (photographs dated c.1956-1959)


These photographs and publications were collected by Donella (Donna) Jaggs, a former social worker with the Victorian government, who went on to become a lecturer and researcher in social policy.

Records include: Photographs published by the Victorian Government of social welfare activities and institutions, including visits by social workers to orphanages, Family Group Homes and foster homes, and photographs of the Winlaton Youth Training Centre in suburban Melbourne, (Nunawading). Many of the photographs include children.

All Victorian photographs in this collection have been digitised, however due to privacy these have not been published online. Descriptions of these photographs can be viewed on the UMA Digitised Items catalogue by searching on the reference number 2013.0135 or a word search such as a name of a home.

Institute Of Early Childhood Development Graduates Association/ Free Kindergarten Union



The Free Kindergarten Union of Victoria commenced teacher training in 1909.  A two year course was run in cooperation with the Education Department in 1910-14, but from 1917 the Union trained its students independently.  In 1922 the Kindergarten Training College was established in Mooroolbeek, Kew.  In 1965, the institution, as the Melbourne Kindergarten Teachers' College, became an entity separate from the Union, and in 1973 joined the State College of Victoria as the Institute of Early Childhood Development.  Subsequently it has been amalgamated with the University of Melbourne.

The Graduates' Association initiated the establishment and running of the Warrawong Kindergarten in 1957, and the Forest Hill Kindergarten.

This collection has multiple accessions: please search catalogue with: 'Institute of Early Childhood Development Graduates Association'.

Institute Of Early Childhood Development Graduates Association (2004.0011)



This collection includes ‘Photos of Forest Hill Residential Kindergarten’ (undated). A draft list of the collection is attached to the catalogue record.

Jigsaw (2004.0041)


2004.0041 [JIGSAW]

Jigsaw was a self-help and lobby organisation with the aim of changing public perception and the law to provide people who had been part of the adoption system the right to access their personal information surrounding the experience.

Many records transferred to UMA came from Robert Bender, Founding President, 1976-1981, and the majority from David Hirt(1937-2005), President, 1982-1986.

Most of the search files, containing client information, were transferred DHS Adoption Records c. 2004.The Finding Aid lists a series titled ‘Client Information’ dated c. 1979- undated.

Bates, Smart and McCutcheon Pty Ltd (1968.0013)



Bates, Smart and McCutcheon Pty Ltd is one of the oldest architectural firms in Melbourne.  They designed both public and private buildings.  Amongst the drawings of buildings include: Convent of The Good Shepherd, Abbotsford (BSM Job 26) dated 1890-1901; Bendigo Orphanage (BSM Job 117) dated 10 Dec 1903; Nazareth House, Ballarat (BSM Job 121) dated 1889; Victorian Children’s Aid Society, Frankston dated 1923-1928; Refuge at Cheltenham, Church of England Mission (BSM Job 108) dated 1891-1907. The University of Melbourne Archives holds the drawings of these buildings as part of the business records of these architects.

Clements Langford Pty Ltd (1960.0003)



Clements Langford Pty Ltd were one of Melbourne's largest building firms. This collection can be considered as four main groups - administrative records, plans from 380 building jobs, photographs, and a small group of private papers.

Amongst the drawings of buildings and blueprints include: Edith Head Club Hostel, Spring Street, Melbourne   dated 1939; St. Paul's Training Home for Boys, undated; St. Martin's Home for Boys, Burwood Road, Auburn, undated; St. John's Home for Boys, Balwyn Road, Canterbury, undated; Girls Home [The Catherine Booth Girls' Home - Salvation Army], East Kew, undated; Eventide Home [Bethany Boys' Home], Launceston, Tasmania and Camberwell, dated 1956; School of Homecraft. Berry Street, East Melbourne, dated 1922; Lyndon Lodge, Harcourt Street, Auburn, dated 1951 and Andrew Kerr Memorial Home, Mornington, dated 1926. The University of Melbourne Archives holds the drawings of these buildings as part of the business records of these master builders.

Young Men's Christian Association (1975.0092)



Young Men's Christian Association formed by a committee of the Mutual Improvement Societies' Union in 1871 for the "Spiritual, Intellectual and Social Improvement of all within its reach", viz evangelical Christians, its membership and activities broadened considerably as the organisation grew.

The collection includes one file titled 'Barnardo’s Homes Children', comprising correspondence between R. A. Moodie, General Secretary of YMCA Melbourne, Mr P. T. Kirkpatrick, GeneraI Superintendent of Barnardo's Homes London and R.W. McKellar, County Commissioner of Boy Scouts Association Victoria, regarding immigrant children arriving in Australia from Britain, discussing making arrangements for providing entertainment for the children while docked, dated 1947-1951.  One letter written from 'Barnard Party' (including 28 children aged 8-16, no names provided) on board S.S. "Ormonde", dated 8 November 1947, on way to Melbourne.

NB. to search for potential additional material relating to children in care in the YMCA collection, please search on the UMA Catalogue and Finding Aid Listing via the link.

Australian Red Cross



The Australian Red Cross Society National Office and Victorian Division records were transferred from the Red Cross Archives to the University of Melbourne Archives between 2015-2020.

NB. As the collection is large, and the organisational structure complex, a guide has been created to assist Care Leavers in navigating and discovering records.