Warrawee, an Aboriginal word meaning 'camp here' or 'rest here', was named by the Goodwin family who previously owned the property. They named it after a small coastal steamer on which they had met. In 1931 the Reverend FH Patterson, a Presbyterian minister and later Padre of the Southern Patrol of the Australian Inland Mission [AIM], decided that it would be beneficial for inland children, particularly Aboriginal children, to visit the seaside for a holiday. A committee was formed to plan how this could be achieved.
The first camp was held at St Peter's Anglican Church Hall at Glenelg in 1933. Twenty five children came by train to Adelaide from as far north as Alice Springs. They spent three busy weeks in the city before returning home. The second camp was held at the Junior Red Cross Home at Henley Beach. The third and successive camps were held at Kapara Convalescent Home at Glenelg. During World War II further camps were put on hold. One was held in 1949, but an epidemic of poliomyelitis caused the next annual camp to be cancelled.
Finding accommodation for the campers had always been a problem. In April 1950 the Reverend John Flynn and Mr Errol F Monk, secretary of the camp committee, walked along the beachfront from Northcote Home to Grange looking for a suitable site. They spotted Warrawee which at that time was a very old residence of eight main rooms. AIM purchased the building and land in July 1950 and carried out extensive renovations. The first group of children arrived there for a Christmas camp in 1950. Other camps followed in 1951 and 1952. The home was officially opened in May 1952. The following year it also began operating as a Hostel for inland children coming to Adelaide to study.
In February 1957 the Far North Children's Health Scheme was formed. As it was part of AIM, it made Warrawee its base. This health scheme provided a service for outback children aged between 5 and 15 to come to Adelaide for specialist medical care. Parents paid the cost of treatment only if they could afford it. As a result of this scheme further land was purchased and a new wing added to accommodate a minimum of 20 children. The work of the health scheme replaced the children's camps as demand for the service increased. Most of the patients were young Aboriginal children and babies. In 1965 further additions were made to the home and numbers of staff increased to cater for the 30 children who could now be admitted.
Warrawee closed in 1975 as by that time the majority of children were being admitted directly to the Adelaide Children's Hospital. AIM sold the property.
22 January 2019
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/sa/SE00173
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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