See More

Bernie Chatley (1943 - )

Bernie Chatley circa early 1970s

Bernie Chatley ascribes his decision to become a social worker to two main factors. First was his early experience of growing up in the working class area of East Preston, and going to school with and observing the poverty of some of the children from the near-by Housing Commission development known as Little Chicago. Second was the influence of his parents and grandparents, strict Church of Christ adherents who lived by the precepts that one should live a good life, and help those in need. With this background, when Bernie read an advertisement for Cadetships offered by the Social Welfare Branch of the Chief Secretary’s Department in the Victorian Government to undertake the Diploma of Social Studies, he was ready to leave his clerical position with the State Electricity Commission and launch his social work career.

He enrolled in the Diploma of Social Studies in1965, and after completing his final placement in March 1968 he was sent as a social worker to the Youth Welfare Division of the Social Welfare Department. In December 1972 Bernie was transferred to the Institute of Social Welfare, where he was responsible for coordinating courses for prison officers, youth welfare officers and child care staff from a range of institutions, then from mid-1975 to mid-1977 he worked as Principal Probation and Parole Officer. In mid-1977 he moved from direct social work practice to personnel work as a Recruitment and Staff Development Officer, before moving back to direct social work practice in the role of Superintendent of the Outer East Youth Welfare Service in 1984. From mid-1996 Bernie moved to the Family Contact Research Project at the former Kew Residential Services, where as a result of the closing of that institution he was involved in making contact with families of current and former residents. Bernie was still in this position when the interview took place in August 1996.

Transcript of Interview


Audio of Interview

Audio File


Contact the Victorian Branch

Victorian Branch Services Coordinator
(Monday to Friday)

Ph: 03 9320 1000 or 1800 630 124 (toll free alternative)

Level 7, 14-20 Blackwood Street
North Melbourne

PO Box 2008
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Parkville Vic 3050

Connect with us on:

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers