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South Australia - Organisation

Mentally Retarded Children's Association (1950 - 1980)

Care Provider and Non Government Organisation
Alternative Names
  • Mentally Retarded Childrens' Education and Welfare Society (Also known as)
  • Mentally Retarded Children's Society of South Australia (Also known as)
  • MRCA (Acronym)

The Mentally Retarded Children's Association (MRCA) was founded in 1950 by a group of parents of children with intellectual disabilities. The group established training centres and hostels for people with intellectual disabilities in Adelaide and regional areas during the 1950s to 1970s. The MRCA changed its name to Orana in 1980.


The Mentally Retarded Children's Association, MRCA, was established in 1950 by a group of parents of children with intellectual disabilities who were seeking educational and training opportunities for their children. Prior to the establishment of the group, the only specific services for children with intellectual disabilities were provided by Minda Home.

The MRCA established the first educational and training service in South Australia in 1953, known as the Kent Town Occupation Centre. The group continued to lobby for, and develop training centres, referred to at the time as 'sheltered workshops' through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1964 the Association established its first hostel accommodation for people with intellectual disabilities, Amaroo at Clarence Park. Amaroo was the first community-based accommodation service for people with intellectual disabilities in South Australia. During the 1960s-1970s the Association established a number of other hostels in regional areas.

In 1980, the MRCA changed its name to Orana.


 1950 - 1980 Mentally Retarded Children's Association
       1980 - Orana

Provided 'Care' At

Related Glossary Terms


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Lewis, Ian, Making a difference: sixty years of service to the people of South Australia, 1950-2010, Orana, 2010,

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George