The Ballarat Reception Centre was opened by the Victorian Government in 1961. It accommodated 15 to 18 children aged up to 14 years who were waiting for placement, or whose placement had not worked out. The Reception Centre was renamed 'Warrawee' in 1964. It closed in around 1982.
Warrawee was situated at 28 Victoria Street, Ballarat. The building was initially a private hospital, run by a former matron of the Ballarat Female Refuge, Sarah Jane Ellis. From 1927 to 1961, the building housed the Ballarat Orphanage Boys' Hostel.
The Ballarat Reception Centre received its first children in July 1961. 55 children were admitted during the year ending June 1962. This group of children comprised wards of state just admitted to the Department, children on protection applications pending their Court hearings, and some non-wards placed at the Reception Centre overnight by the police.
The children at Warrawee attended local schools and did other activities in the community whilst awaiting the outcome of assessment.
In May 1968, it was stated that the Reception Centre was nearly always full. This made it difficult to cope with families of children arriving from time to time without notice from Children's Courts in the surrounding districts. The aim was to separate Regional Office staff from the Centre to allow for more accommodation at the Centre. This occurred in November of that year.
In August 1968, the Director of Family Welfare wrote that he was very concerned at the lack of activities for the children in the Reception Centre. He stated that a long term plan was needed for the Centre.
In December 1971 there were 14 children resident at the Centre. In November 1970 there were 17. The number of children discharged to children's homes averaged 69 for the period 1/7/1966-30/6/1969, and 36 for the period 1/7/1969-30/06/1971.
Sources used to compile this entry: Annual report: Social Welfare Department, Government Printer, Melbourne, 1961-1978. 1962.; 'Ballarat Reception Centre (1961-64)', in Finding Records, Department of Health and Human Services, State of Victoria, https://www.findingrecords.dhhs.vic.gov.au/collectionresultspage/BallaratReceptionCentre. See the 'List of records held by the department' section for information about records relating to Ballarat Reception Centre.; James Jenkinson Consulting, Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf; Wickham, Dorothy Glennys, Beyond the Wall: Ballarat Female Refuge, A Study in Moral Authority, A thesis submitted in total fulfillment of the requirements of the degree Masters of Philosophy, Australian Catholic University, 2003, http://researchbank.acu.edu.au/theses/69/; Public Record Office Victoria agency description for VA 5106.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 1 May 2009, Last modified: 25 October 2018