The Salvation Army Children's Creche, in Canning Street, North Carlton, was established in 1915. The property at 481 Canning Street was a bequest to the Church from Mrs E. Wakely, who had requested the establishment of a creche on the site. The Salvation Army built a two-storey brick building on the land.
The establishment of creches was driven by concern about the children of working mothers, particularly those under the age of five, who could not attend school. The First World War affected many families, with mothers needing to work long hours for little pay to support their children, with their husbands away from home.
The Creche opened on 20 August 1915, the same day as the official opening of Catherine Booth Girls' Home in East Kew. According to Kirkham, staff at the creche were acutely aware of the need for residential care. 'Although the programme was primarily intended for the day to day care of young children of working parents, the Creche was designed to provide temporary accommodation for orphaned and deserted infants, and to provide respite for sick parents' (Southern Soup-Soap-Salvation, 2003).
The first dormitory at the Carlton Creche had six cots. In 1917, additions were made to the building to accommodate 14 children in a larger dormitory area. By 1925, the Home had residential accommodation for 30 infants (Dickson, 1985).
There was a sewing room where staff made the clothes for all of the resident children.
Kirkham's book states that some infants who could not be adopted out from the Haven maternity home were transferred to the Creche as 'permanents'. Some children attended local schools, but the policy was for children to be transferred to other Salvation Army institutions when they reached school age - boys to Box Hill Boys' Home and girls to either William Booth or Catherine Booth Girls' Home.
By 1939, there were 40 children in residence. In December 1941 the institution changed its name to Carlton Children's Home to reflect the fact that it had a greater proportion of residential than day care children. The Home was still widely referred to as the 'Carlton Creche'.
By the end of World War Two, with the demand for residential care continuing to expand, the Salvation Army decided to sell the property and transfer children to its new Kardinia Children's Home in Geelong.
The Salvation Army sold the property to Melbourne City Council in 1947, who continued to provide day care on the site. The Salvation Army Home at Carlton closed on 6 August 1947 and children were transferred to Kardinia in Geelong.
10 December 2021
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000562
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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