Heritage Services

The Heritage Service is a dedicated service to assist past clients and care leavers of Sutherland Homes, Lisa Lodge and Berry Street and / or in certain circumstances their families, to access their personal information and records held by Berry Street.

Beginning in 1877, many children were placed in the care of Berry Street, East Melbourne, formerly known as “The Victorian Infant Asylum and Foundling Hospital” and “The Berry Street Babies Home”. Sutherland Homes for Children in Diamond Creek was established in 1909 and amalgamated with Berry Street in 1994. Lisa Lodge in Ballarat was established in 1970 and subsequently merged with Berry Street in 2012. These three agencies are now collectively known as Berry Street.

Since the latter decades of the 20th century Berry Street has also focused on providing community based programs and services to children and families.

Berry Street preserves and holds records and information for all Berry Street services up until the present day. The content of records varies, with earlier records consisting mainly of register entries.

Assistance and information provided by Berry Street’s Heritage Service is confidential.

Services are provided to former residents of Berry Street and their families free of charge and in a timely manner. There is no obligation to proceed beyond an initial enquiry.

To find our more please contact us on 03 9429 9266 or email heritage@berrystreet.org.au 

What Services are provided?

The Heritage Service Provides:

Access to and copies of client records held by Berry Street

This includes:

  • Records of children who were in our care (which may include admission forms, register entries, ‘boarding out’ information, residential care records, foster care records, LAC records, care plans, photos).

  • Records of counselling, therapy services and education services.

Support for former clients

This includes:

  • Support offered when applying for and receiving records and if required, after receiving records

  • Assistance with contact and referral to Adoption Information Services

  • Assistance to located and access records from other agencies who provided out-of-home care

  • Help with searching for separated family members

  • Referrals to other support agencies such as Open Place (for eligible Forgotten Australians)

  • Support regarding allegation or complaints

  • Holding agency Reunions

Requesting Information

To apply to access your personal information, you can complete the Request for Release of Personal Information form.

Most importantly, we need to know your:

  • Address and phone number

  • Date of birth (if known)

  • Name at birth

Other helpful information includes what year you entered Berry Street, Sutherland Homes or Lisa Lodge and any other information you think will assist us in locating your records.

We also need you to provide us with some identification such as:

  • Birth Certificate

  • Drivers Licence

  • Death Certificate (if you are applying as next of kin for a relative’s records)

There is no cost for you to access your records.

Our Heritage Support Worker will contact you prior to processing your request to discuss:

  • What information you might be looking for

  • What information we can and cannot release given privacy considerations

  • What support may be made available to you during this process and after

  • How long it may take to locate and organise the information for you

  • Opportunities for you to view any photos which may be relevant

Please send your completed form and any other documentation as outlined above to:

Heritage Service
Berry Street
1 Salisbury Street
Richmond VIC 3121

Or phone 03 9429 9266 and ask to speak to the Heritage Support Worker.

Were you or was a member of your family adopted?

As Berry Street is no longer a registered Victorian adoption agency, information about legalised adoptions made through Berry Street from 1928 onwards are now held by the Family Information Networks and Discovery (F.I.N.D.) a service of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 

If you would like more information about de facto adoptions at Berry Street or you would like to talk over your situation please contact Berry Street’s Heritage Services on 03 9429 9266 or to register with F.I.N.D. for post 1928 adoption information please contact:

Family Information Networks and Discovery (F.I.N.D.)
L20, 570 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: 03 8608 5700 or 1300 769 926 (local call cost)
Email: findduty@dhhs.vic.gov.au
FIND Website

Contact:

Heritage Service
1 Salisbury Street
Richmond VIC 3121
T: 03 9429 9266
E: heritage@berrystreet.org.au