Fairhaven Hostel in Esperance, was established by the Churches of Christ Federal Aborigines Mission Board Inc. (now known as Global Mission Partners) in 1965. Its purpose was to provide accommodation for Aboriginal girls aged 14-17 years while they undertook education, training and employment in Esperance.
The Fairhaven Hostel was run by the Churches of Christ Federal Aborigines Mission Board (Inc). It provided accommodation and a practical skills curriculum for Aboriginal girls aged 14 to 17 years who came from the Goldfields and Western Desert communities, Norseman Mission and Cundeelee Mission. The young people came to Fairhaven at the request of the Commonwealth Department of Education, their parents, or through the Western Australian child welfare system.
As time went by, Fairhaven was expanded to accommodate more young women. The upstairs verandahs were enclosed, and an extension was built to the rear of the property. This had a laundry and bathroom, a large activity room for film nights (every Saturday night), and living quarters for older girls. The extension was separated from the main house by a covered breezeway with a big fireplace, table tennis table and lounges. Missionaries remember the girls spending a lot of time in the breezewary, and that Fairhaven acted as a social hub for young Aboriginal people who came to Esperance from Churches of Christ and other Missions, and from outback communities with ties to the church. Young men from the AAEM Hostel and the Condingup Hostel were regular visitors.
Some of the girls who came in from outback communities had never lived in a house and missionaries remember having to coax them upstairs at first. Girls were taken to and picked up from their place of employment while they were living at Fairhaven and there was a school bus for the high school girls.
The girls and young women living at Fairhaven participated in local sports teams, musical festivals and the Esperance Eisteddfod. They made artworks which they could sell in the local community, keeping the money from their sales.
Fairhaven closed in December 1987. The building was sold in 1988, and was subsequently restored by the new owner.
Sources used to compile this entry: To Remove and Protect: Aboriginal Lives Under Control [website], 2010, https://aiatsis.gov.au/collection/featured-collections/remove-and-protect; Churches of Christ 'Fairhaven' Hostel, Esperance' [Document], Date: 17 April 2014; Condingup Hostel for Working Young Men, Esperance [Document], Date: 17 April 2014; Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'Fairhaven Hostel', 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; Interview conducted by Debra Rosser with Avon and Deslee Moyle, Duncraig, on 15 April 2014 regarding Fairhaven.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 21 October 2014