The Department of Social Work has had a long and successful history in providing quality education in Social Work


The Victorian Institute of Hospital Almoners was established. This is generally regarded as the beginning of Victorian social work education. The Institute offered a two-year course incorporating some general social work education and more specific almoner training until 1933.


A meeting of the Council for Mental Hygiene, the Institute of Hospital Almoners, the Charity Organisation Society, the Central Council of Benevolent Societies, and the National YMCA appointed a Committee on Social Training to investigate the establishment of a general course of social work training, preferably at the University of Melbourne. A Board of Studies was subsequently appointed to supervise a social work course.


The general course of social work training commenced. Later that year the Victorian Council on Social Training took over the Committee's work and offered a two-year general social work diploma course.


Responsibility for the general social work course was transferred to the University of Melbourne.


The course was extended to three years to allow for specialisation in the third year.


The Board of Social Studies at the University took over the training responsibilities of the Victorian Institute of Hospital Almoners, which subsequently closed.


The three-year Diploma of Social Studies was replaced by a Bachelor of Social Work degree providing two years of intensive professional social work education, generally following completion of an Arts degree. The Board remained the governing body for the Social Work course until 1989.


The Department of Social Studies was incorporated into the Faculty of Arts as the Department of Social Work (later the School of Social Work).


The inaugural Len Tierney Lecture marked the beginning of this commemorative annual event. These public lectures have sought to sustain Dr Tierney's commitment to generating, publicising and using research for the wellbeing of children and families. More information is available in the Len Tierney biography.


The School of Social Work was relocated within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, thereby forming the School of Nursing and Social Work.


Social Work formed part of the Melbourne School of Health Sciences, together with Nursing and Physiotherapy.