Berry Street came into being in 1994, when Berry Street Incorporated amalgamated with Sutherland Child, Youth and Family Services. In 2007, a decision was made to use the Berry Street name, as this was how it was known by stakeholders (it was also known previously as Berry Street Victoria). In 2009, Berry Street was the largest independent child and family welfare organisation in Victoria.

Berry Street came into being in 1994, when Berry Street Incorporated amalgamated with Sutherland Child, Youth and Family Services. The Berry Street name is taken from the street in East Melbourne where the organisation was based up until 2000. The heritage of Berry Street dates back to 1877 and the foundation of the Victorian Infant Asylum.

Sutherland Child, Youth and Family Services was formerly known as Sutherland Homes for Children, established in 1909.

The early years of the new Berry Street organisation saw changes at the former site of Sutherland Homes in Diamond Creek. From 1994, this campus was known as ‘Berry Street / Diamond Creek’.

On 18 September 1995, one of the residential units at Berry Street / Diamond Creek, ‘Meglin Cottage’, was destroyed in a bushfire. A staff member, Eddie Scoleri, was killed. A 16-year old resident was hospitalised for burns and smoke inhalation. A memorial plaque to Scoleri was placed in the Berry Street board room.

Following the fires, the other residents of Meglin Cottage were relocated into the community. Then, residents of Callaway Cottage were relocated. The last residents left the Berry Street / Diamond Creek campus in January 1997.

The Diamond Creek property, which was used for office space from 1997, was finally sold in March 1999. The site at Diamond Creek had been ‘home’ for thousands of people. Former residents, staff and community members attended an open weekend to ‘Say Farewell to Sutherland Homes’ on 26 and 27 February, 2000.

In 2006, following the Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care, Berry Street issued an unreserved apology ‘for any physical, psychological, sexual or social harm that may have occurred to children and young people in our care’.

Heritage & Background Information Service

Berry Street is the custodian of out of home care records from its predecessor institutions and agencies dating back to 1877, and those of Sutherland Child, Youth and Family Services.

Former residents (and their families) of the various orphanages, homes and other out-of-home care programs run by Berry Street or Sutherland Homes for Children and its predecessors can contact the Heritage and Background Information Service at Berry Street to gain access to records.

Records of adoptions organised by Berry Street institutions are held by the Victorian government.


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