Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children and Adults (1918–77)


  • Name: Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children and Adults
  • Other names: Yooralla Society of Victoria (1977–current), Glenroy Training Centre and Special School, Ida Seitz Residential and Treatment Centre, Windsor Lodge
  • Yooralla Clinic, Yooralla Special School

Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children and Adults history in brief

Yooralla 1918–present

Fitzroy and Carlton

In 1918 the Yooralla Free Kindergarten for Crippled Children began as a kindergarten for children with disabilities associated with the Fitzroy Mission. Later that year the kindergarten relocated to 313 Drummond Street in Carlton, nearer to the old Children’s Hospital, and again to Pelham Street in Carlton (between Lygon Street and Rodney Place) where it progressively expanded its facilities.

The Pelham Street site operated from 1922 to 1942, and again from 1947 to 1975, and was known variously as the Yooralla Hospital School and Free Kindergarten, the Yooralla Clinic, and the Yooralla Special School, at different stages in its history.

It provided kindergarten, schooling and clinical services to children with disabilities, and increasingly built partnerships with both the Department of Education and the nearby Children’s Hospital.

Macedon (war years)

From 1942–1946, Yooralla was evacuated to the Macedon Golf House (commandeered by the state government for the duration of the war) and operated as a residential school or hostel. The facility housed and taught Yooralla students, and also took some children who were in the care of the Victorian Society for Crippled Children, the Children’s Hospital Clinic and the Austin Hospital, including some wards of the state.

The Yooralla School at Macedon became formalised as state school no. 4599, and by 1942 the teaching component of Yooralla was handled entirely by the Department of Education.


In 1945, Yooralla purchased a property on the corner of Belmore and Balwyn Roads, known then as Windsor Lodge. The property was used by Yooralla from late 1946 and was sold in 1993. It accommodated some Victorian wards.

Windsor Lodge served as hostel accommodation for children with a disability from the late 1940s to early 1950s, and was principally intended for country children.

During the early 1960s, the facilities were extensively upgraded, financed largely by successful GTV9 Telethon for Yooralla fundraising events that began in 1959. A medical treatment block was opened in 1960, and a significantly expanded hostel (replacing the old Windsor Lodge) opened in 1964. The new complex was named the Ida Seitz Residential and Treatment Centre.

A small school operated at the Balwyn site from 1950 onwards, and was formalised as state school no. 4675 in 1951. The school was established to teach an overflow of children recovering from Melbourne’s 1949 infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis) epidemic, who were accommodated by Yooralla at the request of the Health Department. Following this, the school continued to service children from the country and the eastern suburbs until a larger school was opened by the Department of Education on an adjacent site in 1962. The new school also took the designation state school no. 4675 Yooralla Balwyn.


In 1976, Yooralla opened the Glenroy Training Centre and Special School on the northern side of Box Forest Road, Glenroy. A pre-school and early childhood intervention centre was also built and operated by Yooralla on the site from 1978.

Permanent residential accommodation for children was provided in Acacia Street, Glenroy, in the form of a group home called Kingston House.


In 1977, Yooralla merged with the Victorian Society for Crippled Children and Adults (VSCCA) to become the Yooralla Society of Victoria.

Following amalgamation, the Yooralla Society of Victoria began providing services to all people with a disability, not just children.

The VSCCA brought with it to the new Yooralla Society an adult accommodation hostel known as Angus Mitchell House, which opened in 1962 at 61 Sutherland Street, Armadale, and operated until c.1997–1999. Another adult hostel, Flete House, was opened at 2 Flete Avenue Armadale in 1977, and operated until 2002.

In addition to adult accommodation, the VSCCA had also established a respite accommodation hostel for children known as Alston Lodge at 129 Manningham Street, Parkville from 1975–1984, as well as a holiday hostel called Hilltops which operated at Hoddle Street, Yarra Junction from about 1957–1988 (the site had previously been used as holiday camp from about 1950).


Yooralla began offering small-scale residential accommodation (such as group homes or independent units) in the late 1970s, beginning with houses in Balwyn and Box Hill:

•  45 Stroud Street, Balwyn: permanent adult accommodation 1976–95
•  Gumnut Cottage, 148 Belmore Road, Balwyn: permanent children’s accommodation 1976–95
•  Ellis House, 52 Rostrevor Parade, Box Hill: permanent children’s accommodation 1977–95

This trend continued. Numerous other houses were established throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria from 1979 onwards.

In 1993, the Balwyn hostel complex closed and residents were relocated to new community-based housing in Box Hill. Yooralla’s last hostel was closed in 2002, and Yooralla’s portfolio for residential accommodation services is now entirely based on a community-inclusion model.

Yooralla also provides services in respite, community participation, learning, therapy, employment, education and independent-living support, both for adults and children, using a social model of service.


The Yooralla Society of Victoria was established in 1977, incorporating both the Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children and the Victorian Society for Crippled Children and Adults. The latter organisation is covered in a separate guide. 

See Find & Connect for more detail on the history of child welfare in Australia. 

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 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.

Client records 

Contact Yooralla to discuss the access and availability of personal records. 

Attention: Chief Practitioner, Yooralla
In person:       Level 14, 595 Collins Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000
By mail:          PO Box 238, Collins Street West, Vic 8007
By phone:       03 9666 4500
By fax:            03 9916 5900
By email:
By internet:


Yooralla Society of Victoria

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
       Permanent VPRS Number 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 under Yooralla Society of Victoria hold records dating from 1963–85. These files include documents relating to the Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children and the subsequent organisation Yooralla Society of Victoria.

File VH-061-2

  • inspection report, 179 Balwyn Road, Balwyn, including named state wards, 1963
  • visit report 1963, 1966, 1969 
  • correspondence regarding named state wards, 1963
  • application and approval for declaration as an approved children’s home, Ida Seitz Hospital Annex, 1963
  • medical benefits for state wards, 1964
  • request for consent for operation, blood transfusion and other surgical procedures for wards, 1966
  • list of named wards: holiday arrangements, 1973, 1974, 1975
  • detailed case notes on a ward, 1973 
  • correspondence regarding a named ward, 1974

File VH-061-1

  • annual reports, 1978, 1982
  • newsletter, Network, 1981
  • newspaper cutting 1978

File VH-061

  • children’s camps, costs, 1976
  • subsidy request for family group home at 16 Arcadia Avenue, Glenroy, 1977
  • list of wards, holiday arrangements, residents of Yooralla Hostel, Balwyn, 1976
  • Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children, holiday placements, 1977
  • memorandums on proposed updates to Balwyn Hostel, 1978
  • questionnaire and responses, programs and activities, 1977
  • visit report, 1977
  • name change to Yooralla Society of Victoria, 1977
  • holiday placements, listing wards, 1977, 1979
  • minutes, multiple meetings between the department and Yooralla, Balwyn Hostel – analysis of the role of the hostel in relation to its policy on child care, 1977
  • application for declaration as an approved children’s home, boarding house for crippled children, 127 Manningham Street, Parkville, 1977
  • report of Balwyn Hostel pilot scheme, 1978
  • information regarding funding for family group homes, 1978
  • Yooralla Family Group Homes expenditure, 1978
  • reports on six wards placed in Yooralla family group homes, 1978
  • report on the Box Hill and Glenroy family group homes and suitability to receive category one funding, 1978
  • draft funding agreement, 1978
  • notification that Yooralla School for Crippled Children was dissolved on 1 July 1977 along with The Victorian Society for Crippled Children and Adults and the new body is the Yooralla Society of Victoria, 1979 
  • correspondence regarding category 1 funding including estimated receipts and expenditure, 1979
  • application for funding, 1979
  • renovations to family group home, 1979 
  • minutes of meetings of the Yooralla Child Care Committee, 1980, 1981
  • proposals for foster care for disabled children, 1981
  • documentation regarding per-capita payments state wards for Yooralla, 1982–83
  • income and expenditure, 1982
  • lists of state wards in each Yooralla facility, 1983
  • medical expenses for state wards, 1983
  • application for declaration of approved children’s homes as category one children’s homes, 1983:

o Glenroy Cottage, 14 Acacia Street, Glenroy
o Box Hill Cottage, 52A Rostrevor Parade, Box Hill
o Alston Lodge, 129 Manningham Road, Parkville

  • reports on the three properties proposed for declaration as approved Children’s homes, 1983
  • government expenditure cuts, 1983
  • correspondence regarding estimates of maintenance expenditure, 1984
  • funding for staffing and modification to Glenroy Cottage, 1984
  • notification that Alston Lodge closed, 1985.

Reviewed 24 April 2019