Katakutu was established in 1958, as an independently-managed hostel in Mount Lawley to accommodate young Aboriginal men coming to Perth to work from rural Western Australia. In 1961, Katukutu moved nearby into premises that had been Alvan House and by 1966 was run by the Baptist Union. It became a government-run facility by 1974, possibly also accommodating students, and operated until at least 1982.
Katakutu was established in 1958 by Mr and Mrs Robert and Betty McKeich, to accommodate young Aboriginal men from the country who came to Perth for training, work or study. Its name means, 'To the top'. At that time, Katakutu was supported by a committee formed from members of the Dalkeith Baptist Church and some people from other denominations. Beginning in rented premises in Almondbury Street, Mount Lawley, Katakutu moved in 1961 to premises at 28 Alvan Street that had been acquired by the Baptist Union from the Department of Native Welfare.
In government records, Katukutu is named and spelled various ways including Kath Kutu, Katukuta Hostel and Katakuta Hostel.
By 1966, Katakutu was under the control of the Baptist Union of Western Australia, with management by the Baptist Aborigines Mission committee.
In a survey in 1971, Katukutu was described as being run along principles consistent with a 'fundamentalist Baptist' approach.
In 1975, Katakutu provided short-term hostel accommodation for up to fourteen male Aboriginal youth of working age, with an average length of stay being nine months. At that stage, facilities at Katukutu included: six bedrooms (four doubles and two sleeping three or more), three bathrooms and toilets; a lounge and dining room; separate staff toilet; table tennis/pool table; television, radiogram and library.
Katukutu operated under a funding agreement with the Department for Native Welfare until 1972 and then the Department for Community Welfare until 1973. By 1974, Katukutu was government-run for an unknown period, and possibly accommodated students as well as young Aboriginal workers. By 2004, the premises at Alvan Street were used as a Parent Help Centre.
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; Katukutu Aboriginal Young Men's Hostel, 17 Almondbury Road, Mt Lawley, 1960 [Image], Creator: McKeich, Robert; Moore, Richard K (ed) and Baptist Historical Society of Western Australia, Baptists of Western Australia : the first ninety years 1895-1985, Baptist Historical Society of Western Australia, 1991. p.215.; 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.44, 154, 218) - page numbers refer to PDF page number in digital file held by the Department of Communities (Child Protection and Family Support) in 2017.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 4 October 2018