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Western Australia - Organisation

St Joseph's Hostel (1959 - 1986)

Catholic, Home and Hostel

St Joseph's Hostel, in Derby, was a hostel for school-age Aboriginal children run by the Pallottines (Society of the Catholic Apostolates) from 1959 to 1986, when it closed. Admissions included children who were sent by the child and 'native' welfare authorities, and children who were placed by family. Children attended the local Junior High School, and the Derby Convent School. St Joseph's Hostel closed in 1986.


On 17 January 1958, the Pallottines were granted 25 acres of land at Lot No. 529, Derby for a hostel and by 1959 they had opened St Joseph's Hostel there. Admissions included children who were sent by the child and 'native' welfare authorities, and children who were placed by family. The hostel was run by the Pallottines with the assistance of lay missionaries.

The Hostel opened with capacity for 26-28 children between the ages of 12 & 17. However, by the end of 1959 it was already starting to get overcrowded. In 1962 there were 34 children staying at the Hostel, and by 1963 this had grown to 40. In response to this growth in numbers, and difficulties in keeping boys and girls quarters separate, the Hostel undertook several extension and renovation projects, first adding another wing to the main building, and subsequently adding an entirely new building as a dedicated Boys' block.

It seems that St Joseph's Hostel was one of the 'Aboriginal education and employment' hostels subsidised by the Native Welfare Department In 1972, responsibility for St Joseph's Hostel was transferred to the Department for Community Welfare (DCW) in accordance with government policy at that time.

St Joseph's Hostel, Derby, closed in 1986.


1958 - 1986
Location - St Joseph's Hostel was located in Derby. Location: Derby


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'Table 42: Young People at St Joseph's Hostel, Derby. Certain Years between 1959 and 1983', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004,; 'Western Australia Protectors Reports 1899-1959', in To Remove and Protect: Aboriginal Lives Under Control [website], Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, National Library of Australia, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Native Welfare 1959 p.21.; 'Hostels - Private - St Josephs Mission - Grants in Aid', State Records Office of Western Australia, Series: 1099, Cons: 2608, Item: A0990.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser & Constance Thurley-Hart