Gilliamia Hostel, in Onslow, was established by 1971 as a government-run education and employment hostel for Aboriginal school-age children and young people of working age who came from outstations and communities to the township of Onslow for school or, occasionally, work. Gilliamia closed in 1990.
Government reports (Signposts 2004, pp.218-220) show that Gilliamia was a Department of Native Welfare hostel that in 1971 had 66 primary-school age children living there. In 1972, responsibility for Gilliamia was transferred to the Department for Community Welfare (DCW) in accordance with government policy at that time.
The hostel was 'upgraded' (Signposts p.219) during 1975 and 1976 and in 1979 and 1980 the DCW gave some information about the children living at Gilliamia: There were '48 children from Giralia, Bullara, Kooline, Wyloo, Mt Stewart, Redhill, Nanutarra, Range, Cane River,Peedamulla, Koordarrie, Urala and Minderoo Stations; and from the Rocklea and Ashburton Downs areas.
The 1980 DCW Annual Report stated that the function of the hostel was expanding from providing care for Aboriginal children so that they may have regular schooling to providing a broader, more community and family-focused service. The aim of this change was to assist families in making the transition to their own homes within the local township, and included services such as homework supervision, laundry services, and providing the occasional meal. 'Greater efforts are also being made to provide children and parents with opportunities to spend more time together by providing camping facilities when the parents come to town'.
In 1984, the DCW annual report listed (p.48) Gilliamia as a departmental hostel and recorded (p.64) a grant-in-aid for furniture for what was called the 'Working Boys' Hostel' in Onslow. This may indicate that older boys were resident at the hostel at that time.
By 1987, Gilliamia, along with other country hostels, reportedly (Signposts pp.218-219) admitted only 'senior students' and it was a policy to ensure that Aboriginal staff were employed to work in the hostel.
Gilliamia closed in 1990.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.219-220', 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. pp. 48, 64..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 31 July 2018