The Doomadgee Mission, at Doomadgee, was run by the Open Brethren. It opened in 1936 and closed in 1983. Children on the Mission were housed in girls' and boys' dormitories.
The Doomadgee Mission was established by the Open Brethren on the Nicholson River, in far North Queensland, in 1936. The dormitories from the Old Doomadgee Mission were transferred to the Mission's new site.
All children over the age of five were housed in the dormitories which were locked at night. A photograph album dated about 1940, held at the Queensland State Archives, includes a group portrait of approximately 80 dormitory children. Other records cite the existence of two dormitories on the Doomadgee Mission in 1949 which jointly housed about 100 children over the age of five years.
Government reports about the Doomadgee dormitory system, tabled in 1949 and 1950, state that the children were being housed in very poor conditions that were poorly equipped. It was also reported that the Mission was without a school building and that classes were held in the dormitories, with all 60 children seated on the floor.
Evidence shows that women up to the age of 24 were housed in the girls' dormitory in 1950. Approximately 115 children aged between 6 and 20 years were in the 'complete care' of the Mission according to a 1958 Open Brethren report. Renovations and extensions to the girls' dormitory were completed in November 1964. In 1965 there were 35 boys living in the boys' dormitory and 23 girls in the girls' dormitory.
Although it is not clear when the dormitories closed, one of the dormitories was still operational in 1968 when it was being used to house five children.
In 1983, the community was gazetted as a Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) community under the Community Services Act.
1933 - 1936 Old Doomadgee Mission
1936 - 1983 Doomadgee Mission
Sources used to compile this entry: Doomadgee Shire, 2014, http://www.gulf-savannah.com.au/information/our-shires; Swain, Tony and Rose, Deborah Bird, Aboriginal Australians and Christian missions: ethnographic and historical studies, Australian Association for the Study of Religions, South Australian College of Advanced Education, Sturt Campus, 1988; Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and Multicultural Affairs unpublished report on unlicensed Mission dormitories for the Queensland Redress Scheme (2009).
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 4 March 2014, Last modified: 4 June 2014