Harrison History


The work of Uniting Harrison has played an important role the lives of young people since we first began. As time progressed and needs changed, Uniting Harrison has had a swift approach to adapt and meet these changing needs of the community.

“Harrison is in a constant state of change, not for change’s sake, but change for the sake of our clients”. - Roger Gough, Former CEO

Harrison today supports not only young people, but singles, couples and families from all walks of life with the view that programs and services should be aimed at preventing homelessness rather than reacting to it.

We have a proud history. Please support us in our work.

1960-1963 Rev. Arthur Harrison Minister and congregation at West Hawthorn Presbyterian Church become concerned about boys leaving Kilmany House in Gippsland on probation, and trying to find work and accommodation in Melbourne. Harrison House was established at 50 Power Street, Hawthorn.
1971 A letter from the Senior Probation Officer for Victoria to the Director of Probation, outlining the need for a therapeutic approach to probationers rather than simply board & lodging, recognises Harrison House as a key model in this area.
1977 The Presbyterian, Methodist & Congregational Church united and became The Uniting Church of Australia.
1978 Harrison House Hostel underwent a major refurbishment and the first four paid staff were appointed.
1981 1st Service Agreement between Harrison House Youth Hostel and the Department of Community Welfare Services developed.
1981 1st Annual Report produced.
1982 Harrison House expanded to include a 9 bed residential unit. Harrison House now supports 20 youth at any given time.
1985 Courtney Youth Services, an innovative community accommodation development for young women, Harrison House acted as auspice underwriter for several years.
1985 Harrison Council changed name of operation from Harrison Youth Hostel to Harrison House Youth Services.
1987 In April a motorcycle repair and playground equipment retail business was commenced with funding provided by the William Buckland Foundation.
1985 Harrison House Hostel closed as an institution and opened again in Harrison Street, Mitcham after 23 years in Hawthorn. The new model of accommodation with volunteer home parents was established.
1987 Youth Connections, Harrison’s first newsletter commenced.
1988 Conjara Horticulture Project was established by the Anglicans as a Youth training project.
1989 Renamed Harrison Youth Services.
1989 Blackburn Opportunity shop opened.
1989 Greenock House is opened in December to meet the needs of people with an intellectual disability who were leaving gaol, who have no appropriate accommodation and are in a crisis situation.
1991 Conjara Horticulture Project relocated to Wantirna.
1992 Harrison head office moved to new premises at the Wantirna South Uniting Church at 111 Mountain Highway, Wantirna.
1993 $200,000 bequest received from the Commission for Mission to assist with the purchase of the Mountain Highway site.
1993 Second Op Shop opened in Vermont.
1994 Harrison was renamed Harrison Community Services, as it now served families as well as youth.
1997 The Board of Governance was established in response to church policy changes. DHS moved to a model of Compulsory Competitive Tendering.
2000 The Mountain Highway site was sold and Harrison Community Services was relocated to Knox Towerpoint.
2000 In October a new constitution was signed and Harrison became a part of UnitingCare Victoria.
2003-2004 Harrison was the only Uniting Church agency to successfully tender for the Job Placement, Employment and Training tender.
2004 Roger Gough (CEO) was runner - up in the Equity Trustees National CEO Innovation of the Year award for the Uniting Families Program.
2004-2005 Harrison gained accreditation as a welfare service provider from the Quality Improvement Council of Australia.
2006 Harrison assumed governance of all metropolitan UnitingCare independent living units.
2006 Harrison's Disability Art program commenced and has developed into the Gifford Arts program, an all-inclusive community art program facilitated by professional artist Artur Lyczba.
2008 Harrison Community Services changes its name to UnitingCare Harrison.
2010 The building stage of Gifford Village begins.
2012 Five units at Berry Homes in Wandin are completed.
2012 Management of the Scoresby Op Shop is handed back to the Scoresby Uniting Church.
2013 Gifford Village is completed. Roger Gough retires after 20 years of dedicated service.
2013 Belgrave Op Shop closed down.
2015 Stephanie Webber retires after 25 years of dedicated service.
2015 Sharon Wolstenholme is appointed Acting CEO.
2016 Oct We are joining with 21 other Uniting Church community service agencies to form a new single organisation. Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) Limited was established and governance for all founding agencies was unified under the single Board on 3 October 2016.
2017 June Bayswater and Nunawading Op Shops closed down.
2017 3 July 22 UnitingCare agencies and Wesley Mission merged to form Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) with CEO Paul Linossier.  UnitingCare Harrison becomes Uniting Harrison.
2018 Jerry Ham is appointed EO of the Uniting Harrison cluster.
2018 October

Uniting Harrison moves to new premises at 321 Ferntree Gully Road Mount Waverley with other Uniting clusters.

Uniting Harrison's Disability Services closed.  Disability clients are still supported at other Uniting clusters.

2019 September Vermont Op Shop closed.

Directors/CEOs of Harrison

1962 Rev Arthur Harrison
  John Edwards
1980 Paul Linossier (Director)
1985 Charles Liggett (Director)
1987 Rev George Crombie (Director)
1991 Roger Gough (Director) (CEO)
2010 Stephanie Webber (CEO)
2015 Sharon Wolstenholme (Acting CEO, EO)
2018 Jerry Ham (EO)