The Melrose Training Farm for Boys was established by the Try Society in 1938 at Harkaway, near Berwick. Previously, the Try Society ran the Clifden Farm and Try Boys' Home at St Andrew's North, but decided to move the institution to the new site where there were "better facilities for teaching agriculture and better housing accommodation" (Hurstbridge Advertiser 26 August 1938). The farm housed around 30 boys aged between 8 and 14. When it closed in August 1957, the boys were mostly transferred to other Homes including Tally Ho, Burwood Boys' Home and Box Hill Boys' Home.
The Melrose Training Farm for Boys was established by the Try Society in 1938 at a property near Berwick (the location was also sometimes referred to as Harkaway). The farm aimed to 'provide a healthy home environment for 30 boys and youths and … to train boys in farming and other agricultural pursuits'. The first boys at the home had been moved there from the Try Society's Clifden Home at St Andrews.
In the early 1950s, it was described as catering for boys aged between 8 and 14.
Changes to the Children's Welfare Act in 1956 led to inspections of the Farm by the Children's Welfare Department, so that Melrose Training Farm could be registered as an 'approved children's home'. These inspections led to concerns being raised by the Department about poor conditions at Melrose.
The Farm was closed in 1957 when the Try Society advised the Children's Welfare Department that it was no longer able to finance the institution.
Records show that boys still living at Melrose in August 1957 were transferred to other homes, including Tally Ho, Burwood Boys' Home and Box Hill Boys' Home. Some boys returned to their homes when Melrose closed.
1938-1957: Melrose Training Farm for Boys was located on a farm property on Harkaway Road at Harkaway, near Berwick, Victoria
Sources used to compile this entry: Try Boys' Home Moving, Advertiser, 26 August 1938, 5 pp, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56848054; 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Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf; Real Estate View (2007) 137-163 Harkaway Road, Harkaway VIC 3806. MELROSE - Grand Victorian Mansion on 20 Breathtaking Acres. Retrieved from https://www.realestateview.com.au/real-estate/137-163-harkaway-road-harkaway-vic/property-details-sold-residential-866247/ (accessed 6 February 2020).
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 12 June 2009, Last modified: 28 July 2021