The Receiving Home, Alice Springs, was opened by the Government in 1959. Children taken into the care of the government were placed at the Receiving Home before they appeared in court, or while they were awaiting transfer to other institutions or into foster care. The Receiving Home also provided care for unmarried mothers and destitute women. In 1966 the Receiving Home, Alice Springs, was renamed Bradshaw House.
The Receiving Home, Alice Springs, opened in Warburton Street in 1959. Initially it provided care for up to nine children at a time. Children taken into the care of the Director of Child Welfare were placed at the Receiving Home before they appeared in court. Most children were then transferred from the Home to another institution or into foster care. The Alice Springs Home also provided care for unmarried mothers and destitute women.
According to the Annual Report of the Welfare Branch in 1959, the Receiving Home was 'a small unit, an Arid "A" type house having been taken over for the purpose". This type of transportable building was a post-war design developed by the Northern Territory Administration to meet the accommodation needs of its employees. Although small, the Welfare Branch considered that this building 'met the immediate need' for accommodation for State Children in Alice Springs.
In her 1960-61 report the Welfare Officer for the Alice Springs area noted that there had been difficulty in finding a suitable Assistant to the Matron. Frequent changes to this position had meant that the Matron worked 'very long hours'. Even after two mothercraft trained nurses were appointed, there was only 3 days in the week when there was two staff members on board. The Welfare Officers noted that they often assisted by transporting and supervising the older children.
During that year the Home was inspected by the Chief Fire Officer who submitted an 'adverse report'. The report stressed that:
immediate steps were taken to instal fire extinguishers and remove other fire hazards. Beds which extended in part over doorways were removed which reduced the possible number of older children to be admitted. The wood copper in the laundry is not in use as this is considered a fire hazard.
The lack of facilities at the Home was regarded as a problem given that there were times when the Home cared for a number of very young children. The Welfare Officer noted that that there was a 'formidable' amount of nappies to be washed and suggested that the lack of handwashing and boiling facilities had led to 'several instances of diarrhoea and infections amongst the children'. In response to this situation, a nappy changing table was placed in one of the bedrooms near the bathroom. This bedroom was also used as a nursery. Arrangements were made with the Alice Springs gaol to wash the linen from the Home.
The Receiving Home was renamed Bradshaw House in 1966.
1959 - 1966 Receiving Home, Alice Springs
1966 - 1976 Bradshaw House
Sources used to compile this entry: Annual Report, Welfare Branch, Northern Territory Administration, Commonwealth of Australia, 1958-59, 125 pp, http://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/docs/digitised_collections/remove/89976.pdf; Commonwealth of Australia, The Northern Territory Report for 1958-59, Canberra, 1961; Commonwealth of Australia, 'Arid A Type Residence', in Australian Heritage Places Inventory, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2011, http://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/docs/digitised_collections/remove/89976.pdf; NAA: E739, O75/1Department of Aboriginal Affairs - Regional Office - Alice Springs - Monthly and Annual Reports - FWOs, 1960-61 and F1411 Social Development files, SD 287, Draft Estimates 1977/78, NTAS, Darwin.
Prepared by: Karen George, Megg Kelham and Gary George
Created: 4 April 2012, Last modified: 7 November 2018