The Native Workers' Training College was established as a Protestant ministry training school for Aboriginal people by the Aborigines Inland Mission (AIM) at Pindimar, near Port Stephens, in 1938. The College was evacuated during World War II and operated in rented premises in Dalwood. In 1946 it moved to Minimbah House, Whittingham. It took Aboriginal teens and young adults from all over Australia. It was renamed the Aborigines Inland Mission Bible Training College in 1953.
The Native Workers' Training College was established by Retta Long, the founder of the Aborigines Inland Mission, to train Aboriginal workers for ministry.
At the time of the official opening, by Leonard and Retta Long in April 1939, the college had two students. The Durham and Gloucester Advertiser reported:
Mrs Long, in her address, said that Pindimar meant "vessels for carrying water", and this would apply to the students going back to their own people, carrying the "living water."
The Durham and Gloucester Advertiser described the Native Workers' Training College in May 1940:
The college is a new venture in the work amongst Australian aborigines, and is the only one of its kind in Australia. It has been established recently at Pindimar, Port Stephens, and at present there are five aboriginal full-bloods in residence at the college.
These students are being taught building, construction, agricultural work, in addition to being given a missionary training and such general knowledge as will be helpful amongst their own people. After they complete the college course, they will return to outback stations to work amongst their own people.
Heather Radi says that the college began as 'little more than a training centre for Sunday School teachers, but by the 1950s a trickle of applicants for the ministry began.'
Later photographs, in the State Library's Collection, show a number of girls, many of them very young, engaged in domestic chores. One can only hope they also received training in ministry.
1938 - 1953 Native Workers' Training College
1953 - 1973 Aborigines Inland Mission Bible Training College
Sources used to compile this entry: 119B Minimbah Road Whittingham NSW 2330, realestate.com.au, 21 March 2013, http://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-nsw-whittingham-111418687; 'Opening New Training College at Pindimar', Durham and Gloucester Advertiser, 14 April 1939, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/140923281; 'Aborigines' Inland Mission: Native Workers' Training College at Pindimar', Durham and Gloucester Advertiser, 31 May 1940, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/141047416; 'Minimbah House and Outbuildings', in State Heritage Register, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 2000-2010, http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=14293; A history of Aboriginal Sydney, University of Sydney, 2010-2013, http://www.historyofaboriginalsydney.edu.au/index.php?p=about; Radi, Heather, 'Long, Margaret Jane (Retta) (1878-1956)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/long-margaret-jane-retta-10857.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 15 May 2014, Last modified: 19 March 2015