St Paul's School for the Blind opened in 1957 in Kew and was run by the Villa Maria Society. It admitted some wards, and operated two residential units in Kew and Alphington. For most of its history St Paul's School was located at 6 Studley Park Road, Kew (also described as 13 Fernhurst Grove). In 2018 it moved to 3 Brenbeal Street, Balwyn. In the late 1970s, the school expanded to teach children with other disabilities. At some point St Paul's ceased providing residential care for children. In 2019 it continues to operate as St Paul's College, located in Balwyn.
St Paul's School for the Blind was run by the Villa Maria Society, which was formerly the Catholic Braille Writers' Association of Victoria from 1907 to 1948. Brother O'Neill (d.1968), a Christian Brother, was the first principal.
As this facility admitted wards from time to time, it was declared an Approved Children's Home pursuant to Section 14(1)(a) of the Children's Welfare Act 1958 in 1959 (ie a Category II Children's Home: caring for children who are physically or mentally handicapped, including wards).
St Paul's also operated two smaller residential units in Kew and Alphington which were designated Approved Children's Homes.
St Paul's no longer provides residential care to children. According to the 'Finding Records' website:
Following greater integration of blind or vision-impaired children into mainstream schooling, the school stopped its residential service and expanded educational and therapy programs for children with multiple disabilities, including those with specialised medical needs and those on the autism spectrum (DHHS, 2016).
Sources used to compile this entry: 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Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf; 'St Paul's School for the Blind', in Finding Records, Department of Health and Human Services, State of Victoria, https://www.findingrecords.dhhs.vic.gov.au/collectionresultspage/StPaulsSchoolfortheBlind. See the 'List of records held by the department' section for information about records relating to St Paul's School for the Blind..
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 2 October 2009, Last modified: 1 April 2022