The Silky Oaks Haven for Children, in Manly West, was operated by the Open Brethren and the Council of Silky Oaks Children's Haven. It was established at Toowong in 1940 and moved to Manly in 1946 and was licensed as a foster home. The first State children were admitted to Silky Oaks in April 1950. From the 1970s, Silky Oaks established a number of cottage homes.
Silky Oaks Haven for Children was licensed under The lnfant Life Protection Act 1905 6 September 1940.
Silky Oaks was licensed as a residential facility under The State Children Act 1911 30 March 1957. The first family group cottage was completed in 1965/66 and licensed under The Children's Services Act 1965 4 August 1966.
The name Silky Oaks was adopted because the kitchen at the Cross Street residence at Toowong was made from Silky Oak timber.
The original home is over 100 years old. It provided the first dormitory style accommodation for the children.
An extension was opened in 1959 and called Cornell House after Mary Cornell, who worked to establish a place for neglected children.
Alexander Cottage was named after Max and Jean Grey and is also known as 'Grey Cottage'. In 2014, it continues to house residents.
Farm Cottage was located across the road from Silky Oaks, at 227 Manly Road. It hosted a work program designed for the boys and generated income for the Home. In 2014, a retirement village now stands on the site of Farm Cottage.
In 2014, Balmoral and Durack Cottages are closed.
Silky Oaks Haven was one of the institutions investigated as part of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions in 1998-1999. In its final report, the Commission acknowledged the 'helpful approach' of the Council of Silky Oaks, and inquiry commissioners and staff conducted a visit and inspection of the Home.
The Commission heard allegations of sexual abuse of residents of Silky Oaks by a staff member in the 1960s, which were substantiated by the perpetrator's guilty plea in 1995. This case is discussed in the Commission's report on pages 88-90
Sources used to compile this entry: 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. 5, 8, 85, 88-91, 97.; Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. pp.84-85..
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 23 June 2011, Last modified: 19 October 2018