A hostel was one type of institution for young people in Victoria, usually those leaving children's homes or reformatories, to prepare them for life after 'care'. Hostels generally catered for 'older' children and young people, from around the age of 15. They assisted former residents of orphanages and children's homes with the transition to paid employment and independent living. From the 1940s, the Victorian government encouraged 'care' providers to establish hostels, offering a subsidy.
The young people who lived in hostels were often in paid work, and usually aged between 14 and 18 years.
Under s.14 of the Children's Welfare Act 1954, hostels were described as institutions for the 'accommodation and supervision of young persons engaged in employment who are wards of the Department or have been inmates of a reception centre, children's home or juvenile school'.
The Victorian government provided subsidies to some hostels run by voluntary agencies, under the Government Subsidy Scheme.
The establishment of hostels was partly in response to concerns about young people, formerly in children's homes or other institutions, being 'led astray' during their adolescent years.
Some hostels catered especially for young women in the 'big city'. Others, such as the School of Homecrafts Hostel in East Melbourne, also providing training and employment to young people.
Sources used to compile this entry: Monk, Joanne; O'Donoghue, Gina, Billylids and 'Home Kids': The Story of The Mission of St James and St John 1919-1994, The Mission of St. James and St. John, Surrey Hills, Victoria, 1994.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 12 June 2009, Last modified: 20 February 2015