The W. R. Black Home in Chelmer opened in 1928. It was a home for girls run by the Presbyterian Church. In July 1938 it gained approval for children in State care to be admitted - the first intake of State children happened in September that year. Following the closure of Blackheath Home in May 1963, children of both sexes were admitted to W.R. Black Home. It closed on 31 July 1965. At this time, some children were transferred to the Treacher Family Group Home, in Aspley.
W. R. Black Home was in a building located on the banks of the Brisbane River at Chelmer. The house, originally called Hurlton, was built for John Sutton, proprietor of an ironworks and shipbuilding business at Kangaroo Point. When the Suttons moved out, the building was rented out to the Church of England Grammar School for use as a boarding facility.
Following the death of John Sutton in the early 1900s, Mrs Sutton moved back into Hurlton where she remained until her death in 1928.
W R Black, mine-owner and philanthropist, made many bequests to the Presbyterian Church throughout his life. Black purchased Hurlton following the death of Mrs Sutton and gave it to the Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian Home for Children opened on 24 November 1928. It closed on 31 July 1965.
The home was licensed as a private institution under The State Children Act on 21 March 1929. The Home was licensed under The lnfant Life Protection Act on 27 September 1938.
From 1944 until 1961, the children living at W. R. Black Home attended Ann Street Sunday School.
In 1963, following the closure of Blackheath Home, in Oxley, its residents were transferred to W.R. Black. This led to difficulties for W.R.Black's matron - according to a departmental report cited in the 1999 report of the Forde Inquiry:
The combining of these two homes with some 60 children presents in my opinion a real problem requiring a large staff under a Matron of long experience and strong personality ... The new Matron is attempting to cope with it with few untrained staff and not a very effectual personality (p.94).
The report states that the Presbyterian Church's solution was to establish family group homes in various suburbs. Children were progressively transferred from W.R. Black Home to the new family group homes or to temporary foster homes. In May 1965 only 12 children remained at the home.
1928 - 1965 W. R. Black Home
1969 - 1995 Chelmer Children's Home
Sources used to compile this entry: 'W R Black Home', Brisbane Courier, 18 May 1931, p. 15, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21710664; Our Brisbane Past and Present, WR Black Home for Children, Chelmer, 25 May 2012, http://www.yourbrisbanepastandpresent.com/2012/05/wr-black-home-for-children-chelmer.html; Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, Queensland. Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, Brisbane, 1999. p.94.; Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. pp.35-36.; Email correspondence with Presbyterian Church of Queensland archives, April 2014.
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 8 June 2011, Last modified: 3 August 2017