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Warangesda Dormitory


Warangesda Dormitory was established on an Aborigines Protection Association station at Warangesda, near Darlington Point, in 1893. It trained Aboriginal girls for domestic service and served as a welfare depot for younger children from other reserves and stations. In 1897 the Aborigines Protection Board took over managing Warangesda Mission and the Dormitory. Girls from Warangesda were sent into domestic service ‘apprenticeship’ by the Board. Warangesda Dormitory closed in 1912 and girls were transferred to Cootamundra Training Home. The Mission was sold in 1926. The site and surviving buildings were listed on the State Heritage Register in 2013. The Dormitory ruins were still visible in March 2014.

Warangesda Station was established at Darlington Point by the Reverend JB Gribble in 1880 as a refuge for Aboriginal people. Gribble’s aims were to Christianise the Aboriginal people, as well as shield them from the influences of white people, such as tobacco, alcohol, prostitution and gambling.

The Aborigines Protection Association formed in 1881, incorporating Warangesda, Maloga (run by another missionary, David Matthews) and Cumeragunja Stations. In 1881 two representatives of the New South Wales Government visited Warangesda. From 1886 the Aborigines Protection Board sent Aboriginal children who were orphaned, destitute or homeless to Warangesda, along with adults in need of welfare support.

Warangesda Dormitory was developed in 1893 to isolate girls and young women from other members of their community and concentrate on ‘training’ them to work in domestic service. It was the base for the beginnings of the Aborigines’ Protection Board’s ‘apprenticeship’ policies. These policies were pioneered by George Edward Ardill, who was a member of the Association. He placed girls from Warangesda Dormitory in apprenticeships in Sydney.

In 1897, when the Protection Association’s finances collapsed, the Aborigines Protection Board took over the management of Warangesda, along with Cumeragunja and Maloga. The Board continued to use the Dormitory to receive girls who were thought to be ready for employment, taking them from all over New South Wales. In 1909 the Aborigines Protection Act gave the Board the power to apprentice children, and girls who had reached the school-leaving age were then sent to domestic service.

In 1911 the Aborigines Protection Board opened the Cootamundra Home as a training home for girls and Warangesda Dormitory was closed. A number of girls were transferred to Cootamundra from there.

The whole of Warangesda Station was sold by the Aborigines Protection Board in 1926 and it has been in private ownership since then.

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  • Alternative Names

    Warangesda Aboriginal School for Girls


  • 1893 - 1912

    Warangesda Dormitory was situated at Warangesda Station, on the Murrumbidgee River, Darlington Point, New South Wales (Building Demolished)


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