A committee entitled the Slum Investigation Committee was appointed by Cabinet on 19 July 1936 and this Committee held a preliminary meeting at the Premier's office on 13 August 1936. The Committee met as a board for the first time on 26 August 1936. The Committee was constituted a Board by Order-in-Council on 9 September 1936 and met from 15 September 1936 as the Housing Investigation and Slum Abolition Board. This Board continued until its final meeting which was held on 7 October 1937.
The Board's members were H. Pyle MLC (Chairman); F.O. Barnett (deputy Chairman); M. Barlow; W.O. Burt; H. Crosbie; T. Foristed. There were twelve terms of reference set for the Board including a requirement to make physical, social and statistical surveys and a survey of slums within a five mile radius of the City of Melbourne. Another significant term of reference was to make recommendations relating to re-housing of people displaced by housing reclamation.
The Board did not sit and hear evidence but instead conducted numerous surveys and censuses and visited the sites under investigation. The proceedings of the Board are recorded in the minutes of its regular meetings (see VPRS 8208). The results of the inquiries, together with recommendations are included in the Board's report which was presented in October 1937. (See VPRS 8209, or see papers Presented to Parliament, 1937.)
As an outcome of the report, the Housing Act, 1937 was introduced into Parliament in November 1937. Under that Act the Housing Commission of Victoria was appointed on 1 March 1938.
Location of Records
Some records of the Board are held by the Public Record Office and are listed below.
Victorian Year Book 1937 First (Progress) Report of the Housing Investigation and Slum Abolition Board. 1937 New Houses for Old: Fifty years of Public Housing in Victoria 1938-1988. R.Howe (editor). Ministry of Housing and Construction. Melbourne, Vic. 1988