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Our History

In 1895, Mr. Robert Campbell Edwards, a prosperous Irish born, tea-merchant, having great concern about the number of children living on the streets of Melbourne, founded and built the Burwood Boys’ Home. His admirable philosophy was that ‘no truly destitute boy would ever be turned away’. To achieve his goals, he took advantage of a ‘buyer’s market’ by purchasing a choice parcel of real estate in Warrigal Road, Burwood and promptly erected a fairly substantial wooden house – all for the princely sum of £500.

A flourishing market garden was cultivated, surplus goods sold and the money used to cover other expenses.Further savings were made by raising dairy cows enabling the home to produce its own milk supply. From the age of 14, the children participated in working the land and gained extensive experience in the area, which led to many securing paid positions as farmers or dairymen upon leaving the Home. Those who did not were encouraged and supported in their learning of a trade.

Girls were first admitted to the Home in 1972, which necessitated the name change from Burwood Boys’ Home to Burwood Children’s Home. In the 1980’s, the government revamped its social welfare policy with an increase in benefits to many families. As a result many children, who might otherwise have been placed in care, were able to be supported in their own homes or fostered in private homes which eliminated the need for institutions.

In 1986, after operating for more than 90 years, the Home closed its doors and the Burwood property was sold. The organisation then underwent a name change to Child and Family Care Network Inc. and relocated to Glen Waverley.

 

Burwood Boys’ Home enquiries

bestchance will do its best to assist with enquiries from any past ‘Burwood Resident’.

Please call 8562 5100 and ask for our Heritage Officer. If you have any memorbillia or stories that you would like to share with us, please fill in the attached form and post it to us and our Officer will be in contact.

Enquiry Form

Please note that sometimes our records may be incomplete and the following organisations may also be of assistance:
vanish.org.au – provides advice and support to any member of the community who has been placed in adoption, state wardship, an institution or foster care

dhs.vic.gov.au – this department holds Wards of the State/Child Protection information

Through the Years

1895 The Burwood Boys’ Home is constructed on Warrigal Road, Burwood

1929 Part of the 42.75 acre property is sold

1942 The school building is re-constructed following a fire

1944 An appeal for holiday hosts for the boys receives an overwhelming response

1947 The founder of the home, Mr. Robert Campbell Edwards, passes away

1947 An appeal to build a cottage system begins

1947 ‘The Palms’, a hostel for older boys getting ready to exit the home, is opened

1953 The first cottage is built – Campbell Edwards House – and seven boys take up residence

1956 The gymnasium is officially opened and a 21” television is donated so the boys can view the Olympic Games

1972 The first girls are admitted into the home

1974 New administration building is opened away from the cottages and a school is opened in the old superintendent’s office

1981-1982 Houses are purchased in Shepparton

1984 The Goulburn Valley Family Care is established and becomes a program of the Home

1985 The decision is made to sell the Burwood property and to relocate to Glen Waverley

1986 The last child in care leaves Burwood Children’s Home

1986 The name is changed to Child and Family Care Network Inc. with the expansion of the welfare and educational programs

1987 The Frank W Cheshire Education School is officially opened by Frank Cheshire

1988 Child and Family Care Network is officially opened by the Premier of Victoria, John Cain MP

1995 The 100 year celebrations are officially launched by The Governor of Victoria, Richard E. McGarvie, AC, QC on November 18

1996 New CEO Lodi Francesconi is appointed, all programs are reviewed and the shift to children’s services and early intervention begins

1996 The Hon. Alastair Nicholson AO RFD becomes bestchance’s first Patron

1996 The Foundation for Homeless Youth becomes one of Child and Family Care Network’s programs

1996 The Hon. Jeff Kennett, Premier of Victoria, unveils a commemorative plaque at the site of the Burwood Boys’ Home

1998 Two new services are introduced – ‘Helping Hand’ and ‘Warooga Early Childhood Intervention’

1999 Dame Beryl Beaurepaire AC DBE becomes a Patron

2000 Mr. Kevin Bartlett AM becomes a Patron

2001 The dream to build the Children’s Centre and to totally integrate Child and Family Care Network’s programs begins

2002 Three new homes are built for homeless youth, raising the number to twelve homes built over a span of just five years

2003 Rusden Child Care relocates to our campus and the following year is integrated with our other programs

2003 Child and Family Care Network becomes a Kindergarten Cluster manager, with seven kindergartens coming on board

2006 Our eleventh kindergarten becomes part of Child and Family Care Network’s Kindergarten Cluster

2006 Child and Family Care Network changes it operating name to bestchance Child Family Care

2006 A new Children’s Centre is officially opened by The Hon. Steven Bracks, Premier of Victoria

2009 bestchance opens its own Registered Training Organisation – bestchance Training

2011 The new training centre is officially opened by The Hon. Alan Griffin MP, Member for Bruce in March

2011 Lodi Francesconi retires and new CEO, Kevin Feeney is appointed in August

2014 Our 50th kindergarten joins our Kindergarten Cluster and bestchance launches a Family Day Care program

2015 Cheshire School graduates achieve 100% transition rate back into mainstream education

2015 19 new kindergartens join the bestchance, kindergarten cluster, bringing the total to 61 with 372 educators

2015 Childcare in Glen Waverley and Noble Park achieve ‘exceeding’ under the National Quality Framework Accreditation System

2016 The Kindergarten Cluster program transitions into an Early Years Management model

2016 A new book is published which documents the 120 year journey from Burwood Boys Home to bestchance Child Family Care