Millen Street Hostel, Boulder, began around 1970 as the Boulder Boys' Employment Hostel with supported accommodation for teenage Aboriginal boys of working age. It was run by the Australian Aborigines Evangelical Mission (AAEM) on behalf of the Department of Native Welfare, and by the Department for Community Welfare from around 1974. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the hostel offered protection and juvenile justice placements. Millen Street Hostel closed around 1995.
Beginning as the Boulder Boys' Employment Hostel around 1970, Millen Street was established by the Department of Native Welfare as a hostel for Aboriginal teenagers to receive supported accommodation while they settled into work in the Kalgoorlie/Boulder area. Over time, its purpose changed to meet the needs of the population. In 1972, the responsibility for Millen Street was transferred from the Department of Native Welfare to the Department for Community Welfare (DCW). It is likely that Millen Street was managed by the Australian Aborigines Evangelical Mission from its inception until around 1974, when the DCW took over the management.
By 1979, the DCW reported that boys came to Millen Street from Warburton, Esperance, Mt Margaret, Cundeelee and Menzies areas.
In the 1980s, the hostel had a broad focus. The young residents included: those going to high school and technical colleges; young people who had been involved in the juvenile justice system, such as those who were completing after care programs; and those in need of support in times of family crises.
It seems from government reports (Signposts 2004, pp.116-119) that even in its earliest years young people didn't necessarily come to Millen Street to take up a particular job in town. Rather, Millen Street seems to have had a role in supporting its residents to gain work skills and to help them find and maintain jobs. As the focus changed to education as well as employment, this developmental role continued. Possibly, this was to some degree due to the background of the long-term manager of the hostel, Mr John Pedler (also referred to as Pedlar). Pedler had had previous experience at the Australian Aborigines Evangelical Mission (AAEM) Hostel in Esperance, which had a similar purpose. It is not clear when Pedler came to Millen Street, but it is likely to have been sometime in the mid-1970s. Pedler retired from Millen Street around 1981.
By the 1990s, Millen Street continued to be used for juvenile justice diversionary programs, and increasingly for general child protection placements, including non-Aboriginal children. In 1994, the Millen Street building had been criticised by child welfare authorities as being inadequate for effective delivery of social development programs. Millen Street closed around 1995.
In 2004, the Millen Street building was used for tourist accommodation.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.116-119', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, https://signposts.communities.wa.gov.au//pdf/pdf.aspx; Western Australia. Department for Community Welfare, Annual Report: Department for Community Welfare, Dept. For Community Welfare, [Perth], 1973-1984, http://catalogue.slwa.wa.gov.au/record=b1410539~S7; Western Australia. Department of Native Welfare, Annual Report: Department of Native Welfare, Dept. Of Native Welfare,, Perth [W.A.], 1955-1972; State Records Office of Western Australia, Wards - Director's Approval to Transfer from one Institution to Another and Amend Training, Reference Code AU WA S1099- cons2607 A0191 V4 (p.45, 52, 180, 187, 233, 364) - page numbers refer to PDF page number in digital file held by the Department of Communities (Child Protection and Family Support) in 2017. Telephone Directory Western Australia Country, (1974-75, p.54). Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 database on-line. Western Australia, Kalgoorlie, Kalgoorlie 1977, p.40; Kalgoorlie, Dundas 1972, p.23. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 4 October 2018