Records from Tally Ho (1903-1986)

Uniting Wesley holds minimal records from Tally Ho Training Farm prior to the 1980s and has for some time been actively searching for personal records and other documents to assist past residents seeking information about their time at Tally Ho.

Fires at Tally Ho

It had been thought that a fire or fires may have been the reason why the records are incomplete. In 2014, we conducted an investigation to explore the evidence for this belief. The researcher examined the records we hold from Tally Ho, in which various documents made reference to fires in 1958, 1964 and 1965.

The 1958 fire occurred in the drying room of one of eight cottages. The report’s findings stated “There is insufficient evidence to draw a conclusion on whether records were lost … however any loss is presumed to be limited to records relating to the clients residing in the particular cottage at the time.”

In relation to the 1964 and 1965 fires, the report found that “records were unlikely to have been lost” due to the locations of the fires and that records were not listed amongst items destroyed.

We’re working to fill the gaps

We deeply regret we do not hold complete records from Tally Ho. From March to June 2017, researchers carefully reviewed the contents of 3,480 boxes from the Uniting Wesley archives. While the boxes mainly contained administrative files, over 7,000 separate new entries were recorded, mostly from Tally Ho between the 1920s and the 1980s.

The new entries are not client files or personal records; rather they are brief entries or mentions of residents from administrative documents. We recommend where possible that these are released to past residents or their family members in person to give greater meaning and context to the information.

Since April 2003, Uniting Wesley has maintained a register of requests for Tally Ho records. If the entries relate to anyone on this register, we’ll make every effort to let them know that new information is available.

We’ve established a protocol and working relationship with the Victorian Government Department of Education and Training in relation to the records from the school at Tally Ho, so there is a streamlined process for people requesting Tally Ho records.

We’re continuing to work with the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services to learn more about the Tally Ho records they hold.

Get in touch

If you spent time at Tally Ho and would like to request a search of our records for information relating to your past, contact Uniting Heritage Coordinator Catriona Milne on 03 8644 1531 or catriona.milne@wesley.org.au.

We’d also love to hear from past residents, staff, holiday hosts and any others who may have photographs and other memorabilia items from Tally Ho that may help provide background and context for the experiences of people who have left care.