Phillip Island & District Historical Society

St Paul's Home for Boys

Last updated on 12-Jul-19


From “A New Beginning”, from the Phillip Island & District Historical Society archives.


The building of St Paul’s Training School for Boys, as it was then known, commenced in 1925. The Mission of St James and St John took over the property at the request of the government. Construction of the home took two years. Many of the building materials were brought in by punt which ran between San Remo and Newhaven.

Following completion, at a cost of £30,000, St Paul’s Training School was opened on April 14th 1928 by Lord Summers, Governor of Victoria. The Dean of Melbourne, the Very Reverend G E Aickin, M.A., dedicated the school. Associated with him were the Venerable Archdeacon Lamble and representatives of the Mission of St James and St John.

£6,000 was given by Miss J E Schutt for a memorial chapel as a memorial to her brother, the late Mr Justice Schutt. Miss Violet Teague presented a painting of “Christ the Carpenter” for the interior of the chapel.

The consecration service was conducted by Dr Head on November 16th 1935.

The home was near the site of the Newhaven Boys Home which closed in 1925, and the Seaside Garden Home which opened in 1921 and closed in 1934. Neither was connected with any church.

The Mission of St James and St John assisted in the running of St Paul’s Training School for Boys. The home was open for problem boys, no matter of what class or creed.

The boys began arriving from the courts immediately after the opening of St Paul’s Training school. The boys learnt the kind but firm discipline of Rev Faulkner, the school principal. His was a system that had no place for causing fear or using physical restraint. The system was quite flexible, continually ready to adapt to current needs and fresh ideas.

The ages of the boys were approximately eight years to 18 years. The home could take up to 120 boys. Every boy had to remain in the home for two years unless they were removed by their parents. The older boys were taught farming methods, lacquer spraying, motor mechanics, radio engineering, commercial art, accountancy and boot repairing.

The junior boys aged under 14 had to undertake ordinary school curriculum at the Newhaven State School.

The boys did odd jobs around the home and from their money-raising chores they were given pocket money for a small spend-up at San Remo every now and then.

Rev. George Hall took over from Rev Faulkner as principal in December 1938. For the next ten years he continued to develop Rev Faulkner’s system of rehabilitation. In the 1950’s Bob Flavell took over as principal.

A number of the boys attended either the Wonthaggi High School or the Wonthaggi Technical School, which gave them the opportunity of a better education and helped them adapt to community life. After leaving the home, many of the boys became apprentices and public service employees. Only a very small percentage of the boys went back to their old way of life.

In the early 1970s the number of boys being sent to St Paul’s from the Child Welfare Department began to fall off. This was due to a number of government houses which had been built in Melbourne.

About 1975 St Paul’s home closed. In 1978 the home became St Paul’s Discovery Centre run by Anglicare. Their mission was to provide ministry for disadvantaged children and their families, helping to put shattered lives back together. The Phillip Island environment provided children and their families with new experiences such as bush walks, rock climbing, swimming, surfing and fishing. The buildings were also used for school camps in the 1980s.

St Paul’s Discovery Centre was sold to Knox School in the early 2000’s. In 2006 the school sold the property to developers who intend to subdivide the land, but the buildings have a heritage overlay which complicates demolition. The site was sold again, but is currently (Jan 2017) disused.