Lismore House, South Geelong
126 Kilgour Street
Provider: Barwon Association for Youth Support & Accommodation
Year Opened: 1982
Year Closed: 1995
Lismore House was a hostel for young people in Geelong. It was purchased by the Barwon Association for Youth Support & Accommodation in October 1981. After renovations, the hostel opened in June 1982, with residents coming from Turana Youth Training Centre and Winlaton Secure Girls’ Unit.
According to Barnard, Lismore House was established at a time of rising youth unemployment and homelessness, and when there was widespread concern about gaps in services for young people in the Barwon region. In 1979 the Victorian government announced a pilot scheme to help community agencies to provide emergency accommodation and related services to young people, as an alternative to incarceration in youth training centres like Turana and Winlaton.
When the department offered a $40,000 grant for a new youth hostel in Geelong, Barwon Association for Youth Support & Accommodation (BAYSA) was formed as a legal entity. BAYSA purchased the two-storey bluestone house in Kilgour Street Geelong, which would become known as Lismore House (Barnard, pp.43–44).
The first manager of Lismore House was youth worker Shane Murphy and it employed four residential staff when it opened in June 1982. It accommodated up to 12 residents in shared bedrooms. It had two beds reserved for emergency accommodation of shorter stays up to seven nights.
Lismore House and other BAYSA programs helped to reduce the number of young people from Geelong being sent to youth justice institutions in Melbourne (Barnard, p.45). As well as the youth hostel, BAYSA’s programs expanded in the 1980s and 1990s to include support work with young people living in the community.
BAYSA sold the property in Kilgour Street in 1995 and replaced it with a purpose-built facility called Wahroonga, which housed only five residents (Barnard, p.47).
Reference: Jill Barnard, Stronger Together: A History of the Founding Agencies of Barwon Child, Youth & Family 1855–2018 (Barwon Child, Youth & Family, 2018) [link to PDF of the publication].
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