Victorian Deaf and Dumb Institution (1866–1948)


  • Auspice: Victorian School for Deaf Children
  • Title or Name: Victorian Deaf and Dumb Institution (1866 – 1948) ; Victorian School for Deaf Children (1949–95)
  • Other Names: Victorian College for the Deaf (1995–current) 
  • Address: St Kilda Road, Prahran 

Victorian Deaf and Dumb Institution history in brief 

In 1866, the Victorian Deaf and Dumb Institution was established in St Kilda Road, Prahran to educate profoundly deaf children aged six to 16 years. In 1949, it was renamed the Victorian School for Deaf Children.

In 1972, the school was classified as a category 2 children's home, although wards had been placed at the school since the late 1940s.

In the 1970s, the school established two family group homes for deaf children in Stott Street, Box Hill.

By the late 1970s, the school had 180 students of whom 40 from the country were in residence. The kindergarten had 85 pupils, with about 15 in residence. These children were accommodated in three on-campus family group homes. 

In 1976, the kindergarten was re-named the Princess Elizabeth Junior School for Deaf Children.

The school and kindergarten closed on weekends and any children not able to go home stayed at the Stott Street family group homes.

In 1995, the school became the Victorian College for the Deaf.

Warning about distressing information

This guide contains information that some people may find distressing. If you experienced abuse as a child or young person in an institution mentioned in this guide, it may be a difficult reading experience. Guides may also contain references to previous views, policies and practices that are regrettable and do not reflect the current views, policies or practices of the department or the State of Victoria.  If you find this content distressing, please consult with a support person either from the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency.


Please note that the content of this administrative history is provided for general information only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The department does not guarantee the accuracy of this administrative history. For more information on the history of child welfare in Australia, see Find & Connect .


Guide to out-of-home care services 1940–2000: volume one – agency descriptions, compiled by James Jenkinson Consulting, North Melbourne, November 2001. 

List of records held by the department

For information relating to the central management of care leavers and wards of state, please consult the guide to Central department wardship and out-of-home care records. These collections date back to the 1860s and include ward registers, index cards and ward files.

Voluntary children's homes files (c.1930–c.85)

File ; Permanent VPRS Number 18069 / P0001 ; 18069 / P0002

Content: The files record interaction between the various voluntary homes and the government. This filing system was created in 1975, combining earlier correspondence and other records to create one system with ‘VH’ prefixes.

The specific files relating to Victorian School for Deaf Children date from 1949–83 and includes:

file VH-059:

  • correspondence regarding Victorian Deaf and Dumb Institution now to be known as Victorian School for Deaf Children, 1949
  • file note requesting the department to pick up wards for holidays, 1947
  • file notes regarding receipt of clothing from Royal Park Depot for named wards, 1951–56
  • file note regarding custody of wards during school holidays, 1956
  • Parents Association newsletter, 1964
  • correspondence and application for declaration as an approved children’s home, includes Government Solicitor’s opinion regarding the school’s eligibility for declaration, 1964–65
  • inspection visit report, 1969
  • application and approval for declaration as an approved children’s home, 1972
  • correspondence regarding admission form Allambie centre, 1972
  • inspection report, 1972
  • correspondence regarding approving Victorian School for Deaf Children  and Princess Elizabeth Kindergarten for the Deaf as approved Children’s homes, 1972
  • reports of wards, 1973
  • correspondence regarding wards’ payments, including names, 1973
  • correspondence regarding clothing, 1974
  • press clipping, 1974
  • commencement of a cottage for deaf children at 12 Stott Street, Box Hill, and detailed report on a visit to the cottage, 1974
  • application and approval for declaration of 12 Stott Street, Box Hill South, as an approved Children’s Home, 1974
  • visit report, school at 597 St Kilda Road, 1977
  • declaration of 94 Jasper Road Bentleigh and 18 Holloway Street, Ormond as approved children’s homes, 1983
  • correspondence on cuts to expenditure, 1983.

file: VH-059A:

  • annual reports, the Victorian School for Deaf Children, 1963–64 (102nd report) to 1978–79 (117th annual report)
  • annual report, Adult Deaf and Dumb Society of Victorian 1968–69
  • parents’ manual, 1977.

Reviewed 10 August 2016