The Cooyar Mission, in Cooyar, was established by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in conjunction with the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. The facility housed Torres Strait Islanders evacuated from the Hammond Island Mission Orphanage due to the outbreak of World War Two. It opened in 1942 and closed in 1944.
Due to the military take-over of the Torres Strait Islands during World War Two, all the residents of the Hammond Island Mission Orphanage were evacuated in January 1942. They were relocated to Cooyar, a small town north of Toowoomba.
Of the approximately 100 people moved to Cooyar, about 50 were children aged between 8 and 15 years. They were accommodated in an old, vacant and de-licensed hotel. It became known as the 'Cooyar Mission', however correspondence about the Hammond Island Orphanage during the war years referred to it as the 'Hammond Island Institution - Cooyar'.
The number of occupants began to decrease and the Mission at Cooyar closed in November 1944.
1889 - 1942 St Henry's Roman Catholic Asylum
1942 - 1944 Cooyar Mission
Sources used to compile this entry: 'A Piece of the Story': National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families, Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission & Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, 1999, https://cssa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Piece-of-the-Story.pdf; Deere, Tyrone C, Stone on Stone: Story of Hammond Island Mission, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Thursday Island, 1994, https://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/catalogue_resources//r000011099844.pdf.
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 12 March 2014, Last modified: 27 June 2014