Marribank, near Katanning, was run by the Baptist Union as an Aboriginal mission from November 1952, when it continued the Marribank Farm Training School. Marribank accepted children who were wards of the state and private admissions. By the 1970s, Marribank was reported as operating with a community development model and by the 1980s was offering family support programs in cottages on the old mission site and in Katanning. Marribank had closed by January 1989.
Marribank, near Katanning, began on 1 November 1952 when the Department of Native Welfare handed over Marribank Farm Training School to the Baptist Union 'for establishment as a mission on a walk-out-walk-in basis' according to the Department of Native Affairs in its 1953 Annual Report.
Until 1963, children and young people at Marribank were under the guardianship of the Commissioners of Native Affairs and Native Welfare.
When Marribank was surveyed as part of a project to discover the residential facilities for Aboriginal schoolchildren in 1971, it was noted that children and young people at Marribank were going to primary and high school in Katanning.
By 1979, Marribank had opened a cottage in Katanning and had moved from dormitory accommodation to a cottage care model on the Marribank site.
In 1982, the Consultative Committee on Residential Child Care described Marribank as having evolved from a mission that had been mostly involved with child care to facility with a community development service model.
By 1983, Marribank was offering a Family Support Program where Aboriginal families could receive family reunification and support services, and accommodation assistance. Reportedly, from this time there was an increasing emphasis on working with children as part of a family group, rather than as individuals.
In 1984, Marribank's cottage in Katanning was used for short term emergency care rather than as student accommodation.
In 1985, the Consultative Committee on Residential Child Care outlined the admission criteria for Marribank:
People seeking admission to Marribank 'have to be homeless or evicted, consequently this is a very vulnerable group. People who can cope on the outside are not accepted. Most of the people are self referred, but Marribank has a Board of Aboriginals…who screen and interview people before they are accepted. The Board limits the number of people in the houses, including visitors. Visitors must report to Mr Nunn and they are allowed to stay for a maximum of two days. Unemployed children are not permitted to live at Marribank, unless they do some courses to keep them occupied.' (Report on the Activities of the Consultative Committee in 1984/85, in Signposts 2004, p.314)
In 1986, an education officer was appointed to Marribank and there are some items in the State Library of Western Australia that date from around this time, which were produced by the Educational Unit at Marribank.
In 1987, the range of programs offered at Marribank were reported as including: an Education Centre program; work therapy; role model relationships; and a museum/tourist centre. For staff, there was professional staff development, and in-service training for cottage parents.
On 30 December 1988, Marribank's funding ceased. Its residential facilities were closed by January 1989.
There may be records for children placed by the Department of Native Affairs, the Department of Native Welfare or the departments responsible for child welfare. The Department for Child Protection and Family Support's Aboriginal Index may also hold information.
The State Records Office of Western Australia also has records, including items that name residents and administration items.
The Department for Aboriginal Affairs in Western Australia may also hold records or other information.
Students who were resident at Marribank after 1969 may have been Commonwealth Secondary Grant recipients. The National Archives of Australia may hold records relating to people who received these grants.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Annual Report of the Commissioner of Native Affairs [and Native Welfare] for the year ended 30th June', in Western Australia Protectors Reports, 2010, http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/collections/exhibitions/remove/wa/protrepo.html. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Native Welfare 1959 p.8.; 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.313-315, Table 25 Young People at Marribank Certain Years between 1960 and 1989.; 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/; Longworth, Alison, Was it worthwhile?, An historical analysis of five women missionaries and their encounters with the Nyungar people of south-west Australia, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, 2005, http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/163/2/02Whole.pdf. pp.298-299.; 'Woman Inspector', Sunday Times, 23 November 1947, p. Page 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59457472. The excellent drawings by children at Carrolup (Marribank) were reported in the newspaper in Perth..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 7 October 2014