2015 Commemoration


150 Year Reunion

Civic Reception

Image Gallery


CAFS 150th Commemoration Exhibition at Gold Museum opens


Image Gallery




Arthur Kenny Avenue of Honour Re-creation 3 August

Homelessness Week 4 – 11 August


Foster Carers Week 8 – 14 September


CAFS 150th Annual General Meeting


White Ribbon Week

Wozzles Wearhouse Spring Carnival Fashion Parade


Legacy Centre Opening 8 December

(Orphanage Foundation Stone laid on Dec. 8 1865)

Child and Family Services Ballarat Inc (CAFS) is commemorating former residents of the Ballarat Orphanage who served in World War 1. The stories of service and sacrifice of the “old boys” of the Ballarat Orphanage who answered the call to serve in World War 1 will be part of an exhibition at the City of Ballarat’s Heritage Weekend: A Century of Service.

In 1917, a Memorial Avenue was planted by the Orphanage in honour of the former residents who served in the War. Later this year, the Arthur Kenny Memorial Avenue will be re-opened with new trees and new plaques to remember the sacrifice made by those original 106 “old boys”.

When Australia received the call to arms in 1914 many old boys of the Ballarat Orphanage were willing to play their part in the so-called “Great War”. Of the 106 former residents known to have enlisted, Frank Golding, former resident and historian, discovered that Orphanage boys enlisted at a higher rate than the nation’s recruits at large, and at a younger age than average.  “The personal and collective story of these ‘old boys’ deserves to be remembered and told no less than any others who fought in the name of their country.” Frank will be giving a talk on the subject at the as part of the Australians at War Twilight Talks at the Art Gallery of Ballarat on 29 April 2015.

At least 21 sets of brothers from the Orphanage chose to take part in the great adventure. Privates Charles and George Zilles enlisted as soon as they turned 18. George was a carpenter when he enlisted in Ballarat in 1916. In France in 1917-1918 he was severely wounded twice, gassed and suffered trench fever. Charles was a brickies labourer when he enlisted in 1917. He served in France where he was twice hospitalised with life-threatening influenza. Both returned to Australia and were discharged in 1919. Lauretta Zilles, great niece of the brothers, still has a post-card sent by George, advising his family against allowing his younger brother Charles to enlist. “I’m very proud of George and Charles.”

Sapper James Wallace was at the Orphanage from the age of 6. He enlisted in 1916, and was sent to France with the 2nd Tunnelling Company. He dug tunnels beneath enemy lines in France and Belgium. After being severely wounded in the face, chest and hand and suffering shell shock, he returned to Australia in 1917. His grandson, Andrew, is delighted that James’ legacy is not forgotten.

More than one former resident became a prominent citizen in Ballarat. Private William Prowse served in the Army Medical Corps and Bicycle Battalion in France before being discharged in 1919. He later became a Life Governor of the Orphanage. His daughter Eloise of Ballarat treasures her father’s photographs and achievements in later life.

Historian Frank Golding in front of the Ballarat Orphanage World War One Honour Board.