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New South Wales - Publications Details

Resource Section

Title
Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls' Training Home
In
State Heritage Register
Editor
Heritage Council
Imprint
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2012
Url
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=5061346
Description

Extract from listing:

The former Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls' Training Home [now Bimbadeen Evangelical Christian College] provides tangible evidence of the Government policy and practice of taking Aboriginal children away from their families and communities, severing all ties with their culture in order to assimilate them into mainstream Australian society. Placement of Aboriginal girls in the institution of the Cootamundra Girls' Home has caused cultural dislocation for the former residents and ongoing associated problems within the Aboriginal community. The place as a means to reconnect to the past is associated with commemoration and healing of these individuals and communities.

The former Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls' Training Home provides historical evidence of the Government policy of assimilation that was based on Social Darwinism or the premise that "full blood" Aborigines would die out and the "mixed race" Aboriginals would soon have their Aboriginality bred out. The former Home is evidence of the plan to train Aboriginal girls to become domestic servants demonstrating the prevalent ideology of the early to mid twentieth century, that Aboriginal people were inferior in intelligence and only fit to become the servants of the rest of society.

The Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls' Training Home provides an example of the historical practice of Aboriginal wards of the State being denied their Aboriginality and cultural heritage which was the subject of a National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from the Families in 1997 (Commission of Inquiry). The nation was made aware of how widespread the practice of removal was, which affected every Aboriginal community but was outside the consciousness of mainstream Australians. The Cootamundra Girls' Home provides contemporary Australia with physical evidence as a means to comprehend the pain and suffering of past assimilation practices.

The former Home is a rare example of an Aboriginal Girls' Training Home in NSW and has the potential to provide insight into the accommodation and training of Aboriginal wards of the State in the first half of the twentieth century.

Listed State Heritage Register, Register Number 01873, gazetted 17 February 2012.

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