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Fairholme was established in 1952 as a home for 32 children ‘of all ages’ with intellectual disabilities who were transferred from the Claremont Mental Hospital. Fairholme, with Earlsferry, made up the Nathaniel Harper Homes owned and run by the government of Western Australia. Fairholme continued to provide out of home care in the Guildford premises, with residents gradually being relocated into modern premises from 1982. All children had been relocated by 1984. The Fairholme property is no longer used for out of home care.

Fairholme was one of two Nathaniel Harper Homes owned and run by the government of Western Australia. It was opened by the Minister for Health, Dame Florence Cardell Oliver, on 27 September 1952.

Nathaniel Harper, whose child had Down Syndrome, donated money to the Mental Hospitals Department to stimulate what has been called a ‘modest beginning of a new era in service provision’ by the State for children with intellectual disabilities. Nathaniel Harper Homes were the ‘first public sector residential facility’ since the Claremont Mental Hospital began in 1903. Nathaniel Harper Homes were run by nursing staff, with visits from Claremont Mental Hospital psychologists. The Education Department set up a special school for children at the Nathaniel Harper Homes.

The Nathaniel Harper Homes were also involved in ‘industrial rehabilitation’, which was a type of ‘sheltered workshop’ employment. The young people and adults at Nathaniel Harper Homes took some of the overflow work from the industrial rehabilitation workshop at the Claremont Mental Hospital. They made glass pipettes and cleaned and re-assembled bottle-tops.

By the 1980s, Fairholme and Earlsferry were better known as separate hostels rather than collectively as the Nathaniel Harper Homes.

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  • Alternative Names

    Nat Harper Homes

    Nathaniel Harper Homes

    Fairholme Hostel


  • 27 September 1952 - 1984

    Fairholme was located on the eastern bank of the Swan River at Market Street, Guildford, Western Australia (Building Still standing)


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