The aim of the Victorian Association of Day Nurseries, formerly known as the Association of Creches from 1913, was 'to assist parents and children who have been deprived of normal happy home life by tragedy and disaster to overcome their difficulties and rebuild their lives'. The Day Nurseries provided day care (not residential care) for children from broken or disrupted homes, admitted on the recommendation of a social worker. This policy changed in 1948 with the establishment of residential or 24 hour services for children whose mothers were ill, hospitalised or shift workers. The VADN ceased operation in 1992.
In 1913 the five Creches operating in Melbourne's inner suburbs formed the Association of Creches. These creches had co-operated to provide a working model of a creche as part of the Exhibition of Women's Work which was held in Melbourne in 1907. By the 1920s creches operated at Collingwood (1886), Prahran (1890), Richmond, (1891) Brunswick (1895) Fitzroy,(1899) Carlton (1900,) North Melbourne (1903), South Melbourne (1910), City of Melbourne- Ethel Nilsen, (1916) Ballarat , Footscray and Northcote.
There were approximately 500 full time child care places in VADN Nurseries after the opening of Geelong in 1967 and CARE Broadmeadows in 1971.
From 1948 however, buildings in urgent need of repair, ageing committees and financial restraints meant that some of the Foundation Creches handed over the management to Local Government; Prahran 1948, North Melbourne, City-Ethel Nilsen, South Melbourne in the 1950s and Collingwood in 1973.
In February 1943, During World War Two, all creches were classified as essential services and staff had to obtain permission to leave their job. The federal government made the decision to assist mothers who were engaged in war work by subsidising the Creches. Federal funding ceased at the end of the war and was not resumed until 1972.
Sources used to compile this entry: Merritt, D.R., Child Care Staffs in Institutions: report on survey undertaken for the Children's Welfare Advisory Council to determine the need for courses of training, Government Printer, Melbourne, 1957.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 12 June 2009, Last modified: 26 April 2016