The Berry Street Heritage Collection dates back to around 1877. The records relate to the operation of Berry Street and its predecessor agencies. The collection includes client records, admission records, visitors' book from Sutherland Homes reunion, press cuttings, Berry Street publications and photographs.
Former clients of Berry Street, Sutherland Homes and Lisa Lodge Girls' Hostel and their relatives can access personal information in the collection in accordance with Berry Street's Access to Heritage Archives policy.
There are four handwritten hard cover registers in this series and they contain, in total, 405 pages and 6614 entries. This series records details of children and adults admitted to care. Details recorded are dates of admission, name of the child, date of birth, mother's name and sometimes address, length of stay and religion.
There are ten hard cover binders housing, in total, 3520 loose handwritten pages and 3537 entries. This series records details of children and adults admitted to care. Details recorded are the name of the child, the name of the mother, the mother's address, sometimes reason for admittance, religion, whether the child was baptised and the mother's signature.
There are limited copies of records that were sent to the Commonwealth Department of Social Services in the 1970s when a child was admitted to or discharged from Berry Street's care. The admission forms provide the "full name and address of person or authority last receiving endowment for the above child (i.e. Parent, Guardian or Institution") and the discharge forms say "Full name of person or institution to whom child was discharged". These records are incomplete and while there are records up to 1981 in the collection, most of them are from 1973-1974.
This is a single handwritten hard back book with the contents organised in alphabetical order. The book contains 41 pages and 237 entries. This series contains details of children who were fostered. Details recorded are name of the child, the name and address of the foster carer and sometimes details of the outcome of the foster care arrangement.
This is a single handwritten hard cover book. The book contains only 37 pages of recorded information and, in total, there are 477 entries. This series contains details of children who have died whilst in care. Details recorded are the name of the child, date of death, cause of death and signature of the medical officer.
This is a single handwritten soft cover book. The book contains, in total, 101 pages of recorded information and, in total, there are 240 entries. This series contains details of children admitted to care. Details recorded are the name of the child, date of birth, ward number, date of admission, reason for admission, date of discharge from care, name of the person or organisation to which the child was discharged and comments relating to the child whilst in care.
There are eleven hard cover registers in this series. The earlier volumes contain the names of children and later volumes include information such as the names of parents, address, dates of admission, name of the person or organisation to which the child was discharged and comments relating to the child whilst in care.
In 2007 Berry Street's adoption records were transferred to the custody of Department of Human Services. Access to these records is available through Family Information, Networks and Discovery (FIND), Department of Health & Human Services.
Highlights of the collection include:
The documentation and management of the Heritage Collection is organised in two Excel spreadsheets which cover, separately, records from the pre-1970s period and records from the 1980s onwards.
Post-1980 client records are stored offsite with an accredited records storage provider.
In 2015, Berry Street commenced a project to organise and digitise its photographic collection.
Sources used to compile this entry: This entry has been updated with information received from the record holders as part of the Records Access Documentation grants. The source documents are held in the eScholarship Research Centre files at the University of Melbourne.
Prepared by: Rosemary Francis and Elizabeth Daniels
Created: 5 October 2011, Last modified: 13 September 2017