Oolanyah Hostel, in Marble Bar, was established before 1971 as a government-run education hostel for Aboriginal school-age children who came from outstations and communities to Marble Bar to go to school. At first, Oolanyah was for primary school students, but by 1987 only high school students were admitted. Oolanyah closed around 1993.
Government reports (Signposts 2004, pp.398-399) show that Oolanyah was a Department of Native Welfare hostel that in 1971 had 36 primary-school age children living there. In 1972, responsibility for Oolanyah was transferred to the Department for Community Welfare (DCW) in accordance with government policy at that time.
In 1979 the DCW (Signposts p.399) gave some information about the children living at Oolanyah: There were '30 children from Boodarie, Pippingarra and Indee Stations; the Spare Hill Tin Mine; and the Roebourne, Port Hedland, Nullagine and Pilgangara areas'.
By 1987, Oolanyah, along with other country hostels, reportedly (Signposts p.399) admitted only 'senior students' and it was a policy to ensure that Aboriginal staff were employed to work in the hostel.
Oolanyah had closed by 1994, possibly in 1993.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.399-400', 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; 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.107) - 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: 22 November 2018