Through the creation of this accessible resource; designed for former residents, and the general public – Deakin University Archives seeks to recognise and document the important history of the site that is now part of Deakin University.
Created in response to former residents re-visiting the site, this project aims to create a historical document, identify sources of information for further research, create records where none exist through oral histories, and provide reunion opportunities for those who have lived in this former reception, treatment, classification, accommodation and transit centre for children admitted to out-of-home care.
The Allambie Reception Centre opened in Burwood in 1961, on the site that is now Deakin University and was previously the Presbyterian Church of Victoria’s Kildonan children’s home from 1937.
Until its closure in 1990, Allambie was the Victorian Government’s main reception centre for children, accommodating girls (up to 14 years of age) and boys (up to 10 years of age) for an average of 3 months in accordance with the laws of the time.
Alongside the remaining buildings, archive documents and the stories of former residents; stands a memorial plaque, in the garden at 70 Elgar Road. It reads:
‘Infant and child welfare institutions occupied this site for nearly sixty years.
Children were placed in residential care for many reasons, including;
poverty, homelessness, social disadvantage, domestic violence, parental alcoholism,
the death of a parent; or parents separated by hardship or war.
In 1937 the Presbyterian church established Kildonan Children’s Home
to accommodate up to 100 children.
Children attended school here but in later years attended local schools.
Brothers and sisters of different ages lived in separate units.
In the late 1950s Kildonan began establishing family group homes
in recognition that smaller family-like environments are
better for children’s development that institutional care.
In 1960 the Kildonan Children’s Home was sold to the Victorian Social Welfare Departmentand in 1961 the Allambie Reception Centre was established.
Children came from all over Victoria and stayed until the Children’s Court placed them in State care or reunited them with their families.
Those admitted to State care left Allambie to live in
children’s homes or with foster families.
Allambie provided accommodation for 90 children, but was often overcrowded.
More than 160 child care staff provided 24 hour care for the children living there.
During the 1980’s, as foster care programs developed,
children were placed directly into foster care placements
and the number of children living at Allambie diminished.
Allambie was finally closed in June 1990.’
– Monument Inscription, Deakin University, 70 Elgar Road Burwood, Victoria, Australia.
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