Kinchela Training Home, near Kempsey, was built in 1923 by the Aborigines' Protection Board. It was intended to offer training in farm labouring to older boys who had been removed from their families under the Protection Board's policies of apprenticing Aboriginal youths. Later it became a home for school-aged boys who had been removed from their families by the Aborigines Protection Board, the Aborigines Welfare Board or the Child Welfare Department. There were between 30 and 50 boys at the home at any given time. It was transferred to the Child Welfare Department in 1969 and closed in 1970.
Kinchela Boys' Home was modelled on Cootamundra Girls' Home and was intended to offer 'training'. The property included a dairy and farm and boys did all the labouring. There was a school, but farm training was the main focus of activities.
There were many investigations into Kinchela Home during the 1920s and 1930s. At least one manager during this period was a violent alcoholic who physically abused the boys and it is clear that 'training' was severely limited, and consisted of hiring the boys out as labourers to local farmers. However a later manager, JT Danvers, was notably kind and also praised the schoolteacher's work with the boys (Parry, 2007). He was soon moved to another position by the Aborigines Protection Board.
From the 1940s, when the Aborigines Welfare Board was interested in assimilating Aboriginal children into the wider community, boys were sent out to Kempsey Public School. In the 1950s and 1960s some boys were admitted to Kempsey High School. According to Dawn, the publicity magazine of the Board, conditions at the Home were improved over the 1950s and the 1960s, and boys were allowed to engage in recreational activities. Dawn contains many images from Kinchela at this period.
The home was transferred to the Child Welfare Department when the Aborigines Welfare Board was shut down in 1969. The 1970 Annual Report of the Child Welfare Department expressed strong views about Kinchela when it took over the administration of Kinchela in 1969:
Together with various other responsibilities of the former Aborigines Welfare Board, the Department assumed control of Kinchela Boys Home and the Cootamundra Girls Training Home (now known as Bimbadeen) during 1969. Kinchela was closed as an establishment in May, 1970, and the 7 wards then in residence were transferred elsewhere. This property was poorly situated, uneconomical, and generally unsuitable for the Department's purposes, and is to be disposed of. The proceeds will be used to help finance a new hostel development for young Aboriginal people.
The Kinchela site was returned to the Kempsey Local Aboriginal Land Council and in 2012 it was used as Bennelong's Haven Aboriginal Rehabilitation Services. Since 2012 the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, based in Darlington in Sydney, has provided support for former residents of the Home. They also organise reunions.
Kinchela Boys' Home was mentioned in the Bringing Them Home Report (1997) as an institution that housed Indigenous children removed from their families.
Sources used to compile this entry: State archives relating to Aboriginal people, State Records NSW, 1998, http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/guides-and-finding-aids/archives-relating-to-aboriginal-people/state-archives-relating-to-aboriginal-people; Dawn and New Dawn 1952-1975: A magazine for the Aboriginal people of New South Wales, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, 2004, http://aiatsis.gov.au/collections/collections-online/digitised-collections/dawn-and-new-dawn; A history of Aboriginal Sydney, University of Sydney, 2010-2013, http://www.historyofaboriginalsydney.edu.au/index.php?p=about; Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Home Gate, National Museum of Australia, 2012c, https://www.nma.gov.au/explore/collection/highlights/kinchela-boys-home-gate; 'Kinchela Aboriginal Boys' Training Home', in State Heritage Register, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 17 February 2012, https://www.hms.heritage.nsw.gov.au/App/Item/ViewItem?itemId=5054659; Stolen Generations' Testimonies, Stolen Generations' Testimonies Foundation, 2012, http://www.stolengenerationstestimonies.com/; Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, 2014, http://www.kinchelaboyshome.org.au/; Child Welfare Department, Annual Report: Child Welfare Department of New South Wales, New South Wales government, 1923-1970. Also available at https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/main; Goodall, Heather, Invasion to Embassy: land in Aboriginal politics in New South Wales, 1770-1972, 2nd edn, Sydney University Press (originally published Allen & Unwin, 1996), Sydney, 2008, 505 pp; Lauder, Joanna, Bomaderry Aboriginal Children's Home listed on heritage register, 15 February 2013, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-14/bomaderry-aboriginal-children27s-home/3829812; Mellor, Doreen and Haebich, Anna, Many Voices: reflections on Indigenous child separation, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2002, 324 pp; New South Wales. Aborigines Protection Board (ed.), Report of the Board, Government Printer, 1881-1941. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.aus-vn1447508; New South Wales. Aborigines Welfare Board, Annual report of the Aborigines Welfare Board for the year ended 1940, Government Printer, 1941; New South Wales. Aborigines Welfare Board (ed.), Annual report of the Aborigines Welfare Board for the year ended …, Government Printer, 1949-1968; Parry, Naomi, 'Such a longing': black and white children in welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880-1940, Department of History, University of New South Wales, 2007, 361 pp, http://hdl.handle.net/1959.4/40786; Read, Peter, The stolen generations: the removal of Aboriginal children in New South Wales 1883-1969, Foreword by Andrew Refshauge, 6th reprint edn, 1981 , https://www.aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au/media/website_pages/research-and-publications/completed-research-and-evaluation/Stolen_Generations.pdf; Shepley, Christine Anne Taylor, 'To be seen and not heard: the story of the Kinchela Training Home for Aboriginal Boys 1923-1970', PhD thesis, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, 306 pp.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 25 October 2011, Last modified: 2 January 2019