Our Story

“Home is like hell. We have nowhere to go. Doesn’t anyone care about us?”

These were the angry words of a gang kid that prompted our founder George Farrington, in 1971, to form a team dedicated to helping troubled and disadvantaged youths who didn’t fit in.

Half a century later, that team, which later came to be known as Open House, has evolved into an institution dedicated to caring for and supporting people of all ages from all walks of life. Our mission is to provide those with no one to turn to and nowhere to go a place to belong.

A Place for Those With Nowhere Else to Go

Open House began in 1971 to provide a safe place and positive activities for troubled young people. It was meant to be a much better alternative to the pub.

Over the years, Open House has grown in many ways to offer opportunities to a diverse range of people. We have responded to community needs by providing friendship and support through activities for individuals of all ages who are dealing with loneliness, isolation, distress, anxiety, mental illness, addiction, dysfunction, not fitting in, or issues with growing up.

We believe that the development of positive friendships and support help people grow through the struggles and circumstances of their lives.

I volunteer at Open House because it is a place where encouragement and comfort is given freely to all. I’s a place where there is joy and fun. It’s a place for everyone to belong.

– Bill Hall, Volunteer at Open House since 1994

Many of the original founders are still actively involved in Open House at volunteer, board, and adviser levels.

Having had several bases through the years, including a long period in Ivanhoe, Open House is now based at a former Uniting Church site in Macleod, Victoria, just a five minute walk from the shops and railway station.

We have a large hall, the Welcome Centre, with full catering facilities, workshops, youth worker offices, and the former manse we converted to our administration and meeting centre. We also have expansive indoor and outdoor grounds we are progressively converting into community space.

Become Part of the Open House Family Today

Whether you’re looking to extend a helping hand or need support, friendship, a new hobby, or just a place to feel safe and heard, you’re welcome here.

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