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Organisation Ooldea Mission Children's Dormitory (1938 - 1952)
- Care Provider, Children's Home, Mission, Mission Dormitory and Non-denominational
[Taken from the South Australian guide Finding Your Own Way]
Please note that this page reproduces the original language used in the historical sources drawn upon to compile this entry. This language includes offensive and derogatory terms which are today considered unacceptable. We apologise for any offence caused by such language.
Ooldea Mission Children's Dormitory was established in 1938 to accommodate up to sixty children.
In 1933, missionary Annie Lock arrived at Ooldea Soak with a companion, Miss Marshall. Together they set up a mission, four miles from the Ooldea railway siding. In 1938 two thousand square miles (5200km) of country surrounding Ooldea Soak was made a government reserve. From this time the mission, run by the United Aborigines Mission [UAM] , rapidly developed. Among other structures, a children's home was built consisting of two dormitories, one for boys and one for girls. By 1944 there were 44 children in the home. That year a new dormitory was added to house the girls. This was followed by a dining room, kitchen and hospital.
In 1951, when Professor JB Cleland of the University of Adelaide's Board for Anthropological Research visited the area, there were 31 boys and 24 girls in the dormitories. He reported that the children in the home received 'three good meals a day as well as clothing and housing'. He also wrote that Mr Harrie Green, the Mission Superintendent produced regular returns to his head office providing the names of all the children in the Home and noting new arrivals and departures.
In 1952, an internal dispute within the UAM led to a split between the Federal body which was based in Victoria and the South Australian Council. This schism resulted in the closure of the mission at Ooldea because all of the staff who were loyal to the Federal body moved out. This situation coincided with preparations for British nuclear testing north of Ooldea, at Maralinga. As as result, Lutheran missionaries from Koonibba were summoned to Ooldea to assist all the Aboriginal people there, including the children in the home, to move to the government's reserve, and new Lutheran mission, at Yalata.
- 1938 - 1952
- Ooldea Mission Children's Dormitory situated at Ooldea, Nullabor Plain, 270 km east of SA-WA border. Location: Ooldea
Records Managed by
- Hampton, Ken and Mattingley, Christobel, Survival in our own land: 'Aboriginal' experiences in 'South Australia' since 1836, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 1988. Details
- Women washing clothes [editor's note: at Ooldea]
- Ruby Hyde
- B 70884/33
- State Library of South Australia
Sources used to compile this entry: George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005, http://www.salinkup.com.au/content.php?page_id=4.
Prepared by: Melissa Downing
Created: 15 February 2011, Last modified: 6 August 2012