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Children’s homes managed by Red Cross

How we investigate enquiries and concerns.

Since 1924, Red Cross has managed a number of respite care homes for children. Most of these closed before 1970 as they were no longer needed.

From time to time, we get enquiries about these homes. The majority of these are from people who want information about time they spent in a home as a child. This is to help them with their own life histories.

Occasionally we get a complaint about how someone was treated at one of the homes. We take every complaint seriously and will do everything we can to ensure people are heard and compensated where it’s right to do so. Red Cross is applying to join the National Redress Scheme to provide an alternative way in which a person who was mistreated at one of our homes can seek support.

To enquire about a home managed by Red Cross, please email privacy@redcross.org.au and we will refer your enquiry as needed.

Questions and answers

How do I get records about someone in a home managed by Red Cross?
You can email privacy@redcross.org.au. All requests will be managed by our archivist and treated as requests for access to personal information under the Privacy Act 1988. While we’ll do our best to help you, it’s important to understand that records for many of these institutions no longer exist.

Do you still run homes for children?
We don’t operate any specific ‘homes’ for children. Lady Lawley Cottage in WA provides short-term for children with disabilities and their families. We also provide our Young Parents Program in NSW with an out-of-home care residence for young parents and their children, funded by the NSW Government.  

What is your process for responding to claims of mistreatment at a Red Cross home?
Protecting children is critically important to us. If there is a complaint, first of all we listen and do everything we can to make sure people are heard and feel supported. Where there is evidence to support the complaint, we will sincerely apologise and agree on appropriate compensation.

Red Cross deals with complaints on a case-by-case basis even if we no longer have any records.

Red Cross is currently in the process of joining the National Redress Scheme, which will mean that there is likely to soon be an alternative way in which a complaint can be brought in regard to a person’s treatment at a Red Cross home. Where claims are brought through the Redress Scheme complainants would not have to deal with Red Cross directly unless they wanted to.

What is the National Redress Scheme?
The National Redress Scheme provides support to people who experienced child sexual abuse in Australian institutions. It was launched in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. People can apply to the scheme at nationalredress.gov.au or by calling 1800 737 377.

Is Red Cross part of the redress scheme?
Red Cross has committed to join the National Redress Scheme. We have been working closely with the Government over the past two months to undertake the necessary steps to join the Scheme. Institutions have until 30 June 2020 to apply to join the Scheme. 

When will Red Cross be officially a part of the National Redress Scheme?
The Government advises that on average, institutions take between three to six months to be officially declared as participating. While we cannot be certain, we are hoping to have joined the Scheme by 30 June 2020.

Why is Red Cross only just joining the National Redress Scheme?
Until now, Red Cross has had its own process for investigating and responding to complaints in a caring, compassionate and prompt way. However, we wanted to provide survivors of abuse with an alternative avenue through which they could seek redress and therefore decided to join the Scheme.  

What processes do you have in place to protect children now?
We’re committed to do everything we can to ensure children are safe and well. All our services undertake child protection risk assessments, our staff and volunteers are screened for working with children, we ensure all our people understand their responsibilities when working with children, and have sound and confidential mechanisms for reporting any child protection concerns to the relevant government authorities.

Why don’t you have better records from homes you managed?
With the passage of time, most organisations that managed homes for children in decades past have few or no remaining records. Red Cross has some remaining records for some homes it operated in New South Wales.

How do I find out what homes I might have been in?
Find & Connect is a resource for people who, as children, were in out-of-home care in Australia. It contains a listing of many homes that were historically operated by a number of organisations and institutions. You can access it at findandconnect.gov.au.

What else can I do?
Free and confidential Redress Support Services are available for anyone applying for, or considering applying for redress. These services are confidential and can help explain the Scheme and who can apply.

For more information on the National Redress Scheme, Redress Support Service, or to obtain the application form, please visit www.nationalredress.gov.au or call 1800 737 377.

Children's homes operated/managed by Red Cross

Berida Junior Red Cross Home, NSW
Years of operation: 1951–74
Type of care: Temporary care (with school) to school aged children whose families were experiencing difficulties. Girls (1950) joined by boys (1972).
Available records: A few photographs of the house and grounds only.

Cudgelo Junior Red Cross Home, NSW
Years of operation: 1928–1951
Type of care: Boys cared for over the summer.
Available records: No records available.

Kippilaw and Juong Red Cross homes, NSW
Years of operation: 1940–1960 and 1925-1944
Type of care: For children from tuberculosis affected families. Both boys only.
Available records: No records available.

Eleanor Mackinnon Home, NSW
Years of operation: 1945–1997
Type of care: Residential program for boys – 5 to 12 years 1951 then boys and girls 5 to 8 years 1987–1997.
Available records: Patchy client records held in Melbourne archive.

Shuna, Leura, NSW
Years of operation: 1924–1951
Type of care: Preventorium for daughters of ex-servicemen.
Available records: No records available.

Margate, QLD
Years of operation: 1945–1975
Type of care: Home for convalescing children and emergency care while mothers were in hospital.
Available records: No records available.

Belltrees, Scone, NSW
Years of operation: 1942–1943
Type of care: Boys.
Available records: No records available.

Wongala, Turramurra, NSW
Years of operation: 1946–1952
Type of care: Boys.
Available records: No records available.

Linton, Yass, NSW  
Years of operation: 1943–1943
Type of care: Girls.
Available records: No records available.

Glen Mervyn House, Randwick, NSW  
Years of operation: Operating from 1940s to the present.
Type of care: Initially girls and younger boys, now home to the Young Parent’s Program from 1993.
Available records: Patchy records to 1993. Some staff records and fuller records for children. Held in Melbourne archive.

Ramsgate, NSW 
Years of operation: 1925–1951?
Type of care: Seaside preventorium for boys.
Available records: No records available.

Welfare House, VIC
Years of operation: 1945/46–1952
Type of care: Initially for hospitalised mothers and then for mothers and children travelling from interstate for polio or cerebral palsy treatment.
Available records: No records available.

Kooringa, Malvern, VIC, later Lady Dugan Home. Leased to Department of Health as a children’s home and ceased Red Cross operations in 1970.
Years of operation: 1945/46–1970
Type of care: Convalescent ex-service women, then convalescent mothers and babies, then ex-servicemen’s children generally as a result of the mothers being hospitalised.
Available records: No records available.

Dunant House, SA
Years of operation: 1970–1995
Type of care: Temporary Youth Housing at Brompton.
Available records: No records available.

Lady Lawley Cottage, WA
Years of operation: 1945 (Red Cross managed) - present
Type of care: Disability Institution, Home, Convalescent Home, Care Provider, Temporary Care, Respite Care.
Available records: Recent records for children available.

Junior Red Cross Home, Henley Beach, SA  
Years of operation: 1933 - 1946
Type of care: A convalescent and holiday home for children undergoing treatment at the Adelaide Children's Hospital. Run by the Red Cross, it accommodated up to 20 children. In 1946 it became known as the Lady Hore-Ruthven Home.
Available records: No records available.

Then, Lady Hore-Ruthven Junior Red Cross Home, Henley Beach, SA
Years of operation: 1946-59
Type of care: A convalescent Home for up to 50 children. Closed in 1959 and became known as the Glenelg Red Cross Home.
Available records: No records available.

Then, Junior Red Cross Home, Glenelg, SA
Years of operation: 1959-68
Type of care: Operated as a convalescent Home for up to 35 children recuperating from illness or in need of emergency accommodation.
Available records: No records available.