Dunlea Centre

Dunlea Centre

Dunlea Centre have a wide variety of great programs to preserve the family unit.

Fr Thomas Dunlea (1894-1970) founded Boys’ Town at Engadine, in 1939. His immediate source of inspiration was the movie about Fr Edward Flanagan (1886-1948) who founded the original Boys’ Town in 1917 at Omaha, Nebraska, USA . Both Fr Flanagan and Fr Dunlea drew inspiration from St John Bosco (1815-1888), whose work with disadvantaged youth began in Turin, Italy , but has since spread world-wide.


St John Bosco is the Founder of the Salesian Society of Priests and Brothers who, since 1952, have been responsible for the work of Boys’ Town.

Boys’ Town has undergone many changes over time as it has continued to respond to changes in society and the emerging needs of youth and families. In 2010 responding to the community need for a residential girl’s unit Boys’ Town Engadine became Dunlea Centre and established the Margaret unit to also help young ladies in need. Today as Dunlea Centre it is a comprehensive service to adolescent children and their families who are at risk of family breakdown, but who want to restore their relationships.

Dunlea Centre provides family and individual therapy, academic and life skills education, and residential care for both boys and girls. Family Preservation and Restoration is the focus of the Dunlea Centre’s program. Dunlea Centre is also an out of home care service and students live-in from Monday to Friday, thus allowing the children and their family some space to bring about necessary changes.

What we did:

Corporate Brand Identity
Brand Handling Guides
Communications Strategy
Creative Direction Strategy
Digital Strategy
Strategic Marketing Campaigns

The brief

The Dunlea Centre (formerly known as Boystown) approached COG Strategy with a brief to deliver the critical path in rebranding the organisation.

The Dunlea Centre had not taken the required intellectual property action early on and unfortunately came up against a competitor who used and registered the same operating name, Boystown. This competitor was a lottery agency who was highly active in digital marketing and direct mail marketing, which began to directly effect the brand strength and effectiveness of brand communications for the Dunlea Centre. The challenge was to rebrand to the Dunlea Centre and manage the entire creative and strategic process.

Over and above the broader brief was to create a brand that delivers against the services of the Dunlea Centre, and carry with it the same household values that Boystown has been doing since 1939 – but to now include girls.

The COG Strategy Solution

A tactical and strategic approach to rebranding, which included handling old stereotypes while delivering a new brand into society that still honours the true intent of the people who started this Sydney institution.

The strategy for the Dunlea Centre was for the most part lead the way for design and digital projects. A strong tactical lead here would create a clear roadmap for not only brand assets to be created, but for corporate B2B and B2C marketing communications to commence.

A key reason for the rebrand was that the market had changed and a boys only offer was no longer relevant or of appeal. Shifts in public perception around religion, wayward youth and also education were also key elements to what the rebrand strategy needed to consider.

Key elements within the brief from Dunlea Centre to COG Strategy was to not only create a new identity, but to also challenge the old stereotypes of what this Catholic institution provided to society. The challenge was to also hold on to the values and brand equity that Boystown had become a household name for.

A series of brand strategy workshops engaged key brand stakeholders, and all discovery and formal takeaway was then presented to the board of directors for formal approval.

The solutions came as new corporate brand identity, brand handling guides, communications strategy, creative direction strategy, digital strategy and strategic marketing campaigns.

The results

Within 1 year of rebranding, the Dunlea Centre introduced girls into their programs, and reached maximum capacity for their services. With multiple campaigns for bequests and not for profit donations, the Dunlea Centre now enjoys a renewed relevant brand and offer to society and remains a profitable organisation. 

Dunlea Centre is now operating across both print and digital channels with its new identity, there are the resources and systems in place to capture data, measure brand value and marketing campaign effectiveness. Dunlea Centre is now a charity that is competitive in the charity and NFP sector, one that is very different to the landscape it launched in back in 1939.

“The preventive system must be our characteristic: never harsh punishments; never words that humiliate; never sharp reprimands in the presence of others. Let our words be gentle, patient and loving; no sarcastic remarks; never strike anyone, even lightly. Let every Salesian make himself the friend of all and never harbour thoughts of getting even. Let him be quick to forgive and never rake up the past. Kindness in speaking, in working, in giving advice will win over everyone”.

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