• Archival Collection

Melbourne City Mission Records

To access these records

Please contact Charlotte Armstrong, Head of Legal and Privacy, Melbourne City Mission:

Postal address: 164-180 Kingsway, South Melbourne 3205

Phone: (03) 9102 1856

Email: privacy@mcm.org.au

Website: https://www.mcm.org.au/about/our-history/apology-to-forgotten-australians


Melbourne City Mission Records is a collection of historical material and memorabilia relating to the organisation’s history as an out of home ‘care’ provider to children, mothers and its adoption service. The Collection contains a small number of personal records relating to former residents of institutions run by Melbourne City Mission (including Elizabeth Fry Retreat, later known as Swinborn Lodge).

Access Conditions

Access to some records in this collection may be conditional, to protect the privacy of individuals. Care leavers (and their families) wanting to find information about their time in care, or access personal files can contact Melbourne City Mission.


The Melbourne City Mission Records collection largely comprises historical material and memorabilia relating to the organisation’s work with children, mothers and families.

This collection includes some client records from the Elizabeth Fry Retreat, later known as Swinborn Lodge. These include lists of ‘inmates’ from July 1957-June 1958, recording first and family names, and including older women who went to Elizabeth Fry as a woman’s refuge; registration cards dating from January 1963 to late 1969. They record dates of ‘admission’ and ‘discharge’, parents’ names and addresses, sometimes some notes such as the destination of the young woman post-placement, also the referring person/organisation, or who had an official relationship with her, for example, a probation officer; registration lists from July 1963 to February 1972, recording name, dates of admission and discharge and ‘referred by’. The Collection also includes books which contain details about meals and other matters. These records are controlled by an Access database. There are also about 15 boxes of client records from the late 1980s to the 2000s for which an index is being created. This will also be included in their Access database.

Melbourne City Mission can help people access relevant records held elsewhere. (The University of Melbourne Archives holds client records relating to Melbourne City Mission Homes, including the Maternity Home, the Toddlers’ Home and Hartnett House in Brunswick, as well as the Elizabeth Fry Retreat and Swinborn Lodge in South Yarra. Access to the records at University of Melbourne Archives is arranged through the Heritage Service, Melbourne City Mission.)

Note that any records relating to past adoptions organised by Melbourne City Mission have been transferred to the custody of the Victorian government, and access to these records is via the government’s Adoption Information Service.

  • From

    c. 1900

  • To


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