Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission was established in 1895 as residential accommodation for homeless boys in Melbourne. It also continued the work of the Latrobe St School and Mission, where girls could attend classes. This work was carried out in a separate building and was often referred to by this name for some years afterwards. By December 1922 the Home was mainly a receiving depot but continued to house around ten boys who were apprentices in the city. On 9 September 1924 the Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home was closed and the service was transferred to Minton Boys Home in Frankston.
In 1895 the Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission was established. It operated out of two separate buildings. The Boys' Home being newly built to provide accommodation to homeless boys, while the Mission provided food and classes to both boys and girls.
The Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission was referred to as many different names during its operation. The name Latrobe Street Ragged School Mission and Boys' Home or simply Ragged Boys' Home and Mission all referred to the same institution.
In 1899, there was an average of 30 boys living in the Home. The Spectator reported in the same year that over 1000 boys had received the benefits of the institution since 1895 and that the Mission provided the following services:
Free teas and gospel meetings on Monday, juvenile choir on Tuesday, sewing classes and Dorcas Society for the girls on Wednesday, boys' gymnasium and athletic clubs on Thursday, Boys' Brigade on Friday, with separate gymnastic and dumbbell classes for girls under a lady teacher; these are rounded off with Sunday School Gospel meetings, lantern services, slum and police court visiting, prayer meetings and macramé classes.
From 1901, boys were sent to Seaside Home, Frankston on the weekends and in school holidays. From 1904 boys began to be transferred to the Frankston Home to live there permanently.
The Boys' Home became well known for giving an annual Town Hall Concert and Demonstration as a fundraising activity. Girls who attended the Mission for classes were also included in the program. Another annual event was the picnic that occurred in November, where the children were taken by either train or caravan to Mordialloc or Sandringham. Up to 1500 children would attend.
From the mid 1910's, the Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission, was more commonly known as just the Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home with boys being sent to the Model School in Melbourne for education. In 1912 after much fundraising the new building for the Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission was opened on the corner of La Trobe and Exhibition streets.
By the late 1910's attention was being focused on the Seaside House, Frankston and by 1922 the Home was mainly used as a receiving depot and a home to a few boys who were apprentices in the city. On 9 September 1924 the Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission was closed and the building sold in the November to the Irish National Foresters' Benefit Society.
1865 - 1895 Latrobe St Ragged School and Mission
1895 - 1924 Melbourne Ragged Boys' Home and Mission
1924 - 1943 Minton Boys Home
1943 - 1961 The Menzies Home for Boys
1961 - 2000 The Menzies Home for Children
2000 - Menzies Inc.
Sources used to compile this entry: Davies, Shirley, 'One Thousand White Onions': a history of caring for children since 1865, Menzies Inc., Frankston, 2005; Duff, G.B., 'Social work of the Church: child rescue agencies of Melbourne', The Spectator, 23 June 1899.
Prepared by: Nicola Laurent
Created: 12 February 2015, Last modified: 13 July 2018