Bennett House was the new name given to the East Perth Girls' Home in 1952. It was a government-run transit hostel providing short-term accommodation for Aboriginal children and women from the country. In 1981, full responsibility for Bennett House was transferred to Aboriginal Hostels Ltd.
Bennett House was the new name given to the East Perth Girls' Home in September 1952. Its purpose at that time was to accommodate what the Department of Native Affairs termed 'transient and outpatient native women and children'. In the State Solicitor's Guide to Institutions Attended by Aboriginal People in Western Australia (p.42) this is interpreted to refer to Aboriginal women from missions, reserves and townships who were pregnant to non-Aboriginal men. The women were sent to Perth to await the birth of their babies.
Over the years, Bennett House accommodated a range of children and young people, including a small number of students, brought to Perth to attend the East Perth state school which was alongside Bennett house. Until 1963, the Commissioners of Native Affairs and Native Welfare were the guardians of children and young people placed at Bennett House.
In 1972, the Department for Community Welfare took over the child welfare responsibilities of the Department of Native Welfare, and ran Bennett House.
In 1981, full responsibility for Bennett House was transferred to Aboriginal Hostels Ltd.
1931 - 1952 East Perth Girls' Home
1952 - 1981 Bennett House
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, http://signposts.cpfs.wa.gov.au/pdf/pdf.aspx; Longworth, Alison, Was it worthwhile?, An historical analysis of five women missionaries and their encounters with the Nyungar people of south-west Australia, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, 2005, http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/163/2/02Whole.pdf. pp.298-299.; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'p.42', Guide to Institutions Attended by Aboriginal People in Western Australia, Government of Western Australia, 2005, http://web.archive.org/web/20140126131607/http://www.dpc.wa.gov.au/lantu/MediaPublications/Documents/Guide-to-Institutions-attended-by-Aboriginal-people-in-WA-2005.pdf; 'Western Australia Protectors Reports 1899-1959', in To Remove and Protect: Aboriginal Lives Under Control [website], Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, National Library of Australia, http://aiatsis.gov.au/collections/collections-online/digitised-collections/remove-and-protect/western-australia. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Native Affairs 1953 p.24; Annual Report of the Commissioner of Native Welfare 1959 p.8..
Prepared by: Leanne Howard and Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 9 September 2014