Minali Receiving and Assessment Centre was established at Lidcombe by the Department of Youth and Community Services in 1975, in response to overcrowding at the Bidura and Royleston shelters in Glebe. It was cottage care, for boys and girls, and was intended to enable children of the same family to be housed together. Following a decision by the Minister for Community Services, Minali closed in 1998.
Minali was officially opened by the New South Wales Premier, Tom Lewis, on 21 March 1975.
Minali was designed as a 'complex of cottage homes' rather than a single establishment. The Annual Report of the Youth and Community Services Department of 1974 described the idea behind the new centre as supplementing the single- sex receiving homes then existing in Glebe.
this new facility will ensure that children of the same family can be housed together and the ties of family relationships maintained during this very critical period in their lives.
In 1996 a group of six young children absconded from Minali, making it as far as the Central Coast before they were caught. One reported she had been sexually assaulted at the Centre. Supreme Court action was taken by the Department of Community Services to prevent broadcast of any material relating to the children.
It seems that this case prompted the then Minister for Community Services, Ron Dyer, to close the Centre. In November 1997 Ron Dyer, told the Parliament 'I took a decision for good and well understood reasons to close both the Ormond and Minali institutions.' According to Hansard:
They will close at such time as there are no longer any children receiving services within them. Ormond and Minali are congregate care centres. They are being closed to provide smaller community-based or family setting accommodation for children who are in need of State care. Worldwide developments in substitute care support the move away from institutional settings for young people who, I would remind the House, have done nothing wrong - they have not offended against the criminal law - but are in need of State care. The redesign and relocation of Ormond and Minali are occurring in a staged manner with both institutions to be closed during 1998. However, current services will not close before new service arrangements are in place to better meet the individual needs of these young people.
Minali closed in 1998. It and Ormond were the last residential care institutions operated by the Department of Community Services.
Sources used to compile this entry: Report of the Department of Youth and Community Services for the year ended 30 June, New South Wales government, 1976-1988. Also available at https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/main; Annual Report: Department of Youth and Community Services, Government Printer, Sydney, 1980/81-1986/87; 'Minali Child Sexual Assault Allegation [Questions without notice, Forsythe The Hon Patricia; Dyer The Hon Ron]', in Hansard, NSW Parliament, 29 May 1996, https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-9309/HANSARD-1820781676-9308; 'Ormond And Minali Youth Centre Closures [Questions without notice, Ryan The Hon John; Dyer The Hon Ron]', in Hansard, NSW Parliament, 18 November 1997, https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-13781; Association of Children's Welfare Agencies, A Short History of Out of Home Care in New South Wales, Prepared for the Coalition for Children in Care, 2010. Also available at http://www.acwa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/short_history_OOHC.pdf; Howlett, Christine, Deaths in Custody Australia: No. 3 Deaths in Juvenile Detention, 1980-1992, Australian Institute of Criminology, May 1993, https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/dic/dic3; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, https://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.pdf.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 23 March 2011, Last modified: 19 March 2015