Cundeelee mission and school, north of Zanthus on the Nullabor, was established by the Australian Aborigines' Evangelical Mission in 1949. It was run by interdenominational churches until 1982, when it became an Aboriginal Community. Cundeelee accommodated children up to primary school age as well as families.
Cundeelee was established by the Australian Aborigines' Evangelical Mission (AAEM) in 1949, reportedly to discourage Aboriginal people from 'begging' on the trans-Australian railway line. From around 1939 to 1948 there had been a government 'feeding depot' for Aboriginal people on the site. When the AAEM offered to establish a mission, they were actively encouraged by the Department of Native Affairs.
In 1952, a sandalwood licence was issued to Cundeelee, and youth and men from the mission worked on the 'Sandalwood Project' as it was known in the Department of Native Affairs. A photograph taken in 1957 has a caption that states Aboriginal youth were being paid for collecting sandalwood.
By the early 1980s, the Cundeelee property was vested in the Aboriginal Lands Trust and was later leased to Upurl Upurlia Ngurratja.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, Perth, 2004. pp.182-183.; Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, http://signposts.cpfs.wa.gov.au/; Middleton, S, 'Nullarbor Natives Gain New Life', The West Australian, 28 February 1953, p. 32, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49083468; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'p.35', Guide to Institutions Attended by Aboriginal People in Western Australia, Government of Western Australia, 2005, http://www.dpc.wa.gov.au/lantu/MediaPublications/Documents/Guide-to-Institutions-attended-by-Aboriginal-people-in-WA-2005.pdf.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 3 June 2014