The Salvation Army Girls' Home, Cottesloe was established in 1918. Girls aged 3 to 16 years and pre-school aged boys were accommodated in either 'Kia-Ora' or 'Byanda'. During World War II, the Home relocated to Kellerberrin in 1942, and returned to Cottesloe in 1944. In 1969 the girls were transferred to Withnell House, Mt Lawley, which they called 'Cottesloe House', but which was known by the Department of Child Welfare as 'Withnell House Girls Home'. The buildings at Cottesloe were demolished.
The Salvation Army Girls' Home was run by the Salvation Army from 1918 in the Perth suburb of Cottesloe. Fifty-six girls from the Salvation Army Industrial School for Girls at Collie were the first children to live there. According to Salvation Army historical records, Cottesloe was developed because the girls' Home at Collie was receiving more requests for admissions than it could accommodate. Younger 'probationary girls as distinct from those who are classified as reformatory' were sent from Collie to the new Home at Cottesloe towards the end of 1918. 'Probationary' seems to be a term used by the Salvation Army to classify children who were in need of care and protection.
Cottesloe admitted girls who were aged 3 to 16 years, including girls who were Wards and also private admissions. Pre-school aged boys were also admitted. There were two houses on a large plot of land near the Cottesloe beach. From 1920, older girls were accommodated in the Kia-Ora house, and the younger children lived in Byanda.
Various operating dates and names have been given for the Salvation Army Girls' Home, Cottesloe. Detailed archival research conducted for the Find & Connect web resource at the Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA confirms that the Home opened in 1918 and closed in 1969. Government and Salvation Army records also refer to 'Cottesloe Girls' Home' and the Salvation Army Girls' Home, Cottesloe. Either of these names refer to the same institution, which was also known as the 'Cottesloe Beach Girls' Home', the 'Mosman Park Orphanage' and the 'Salvation Army Children's Home' at different times. As there were two 'wings' at the Home, it was sometimes also referred to as either 'Kia-Ora' or 'Byanda'.
The first entry in its 'history record' book described the establishment of the Cottesloe Home:
The Cottesloe Home for Girls was started in December 1918. On Dec. 18. 56 girls were transferred from the Collie home. 45 were State Children and 11 were Private cases. 53 were under the age of 14 years. The three over 14 came to assist in the Home. Historical Record of The Children's Home, 15 Broome Street Cottesloe Beach 18 December 1918
The foundation stone, unveiled at the Home's official opening on 1 September 1919 read:
For the Glory of God. Opened by Commissioner T.H. Howard (Chief of the Staff), 1st September, 1919. 'She reacheth forth her hands to the needy.' Prov. Xxxi. 20. James Hay, Commissioner. W. Bramwell Booth, General.
At the opening ceremony, the girls were reported to be look 'very healthy and charming in their serviceable fawn-coloured dresses' and sat in the schoolroom, 'demure, but interested, while the visitors chatted to them' The War Cry 27 September 1919, p.5
From the 1920s, girls were sent out to work under service agreements.
Originally, everyone lived in the large building, Kia-Ora, but in June 1920 an adjoining property, Byanda, was purchased. It had room for 36 children and two officers. The younger children lived in Byanda.
Outbreaks of illness such as measles (1921, 1936) and influenza (1921), scarlet fever (1923), whooping cough (1924, 1937), mumps (1950), chicken pox (1951) and diphtheria (1951) were also recorded by the Matron.
Children at the Home were expected to participate in religious and fundraising activities, and notable events and efforts were recorded in the history record book. A new Matron in 1939 made favourable comments about the children's conduct as 'guards' and 'sunbeams'. Garden fundraising fetes, outings and entertainments, such as the children's 'annual birthday party' were also documented, along with notable donations from sponsors of the Home.
A mandolin and guitar band started in May 1923 and a Band of Hope was established in 1936. Children participated in community events such as Royal Show and other competitions, and prizes were recorded in the history record book.
Inspections of the Home were also recorded, and included comments by high-ranking Salvation Army officials and members of the Children's Court.
A school operated on the site from 1919 and was enlarged over the years, and the history record book describes most of the major renovations and refurbishments to the Home, including the construction of a 'great V for victory placed in cement on the back verandah' in 1941. The Home was situated along a major thoroughfare between Perth and the port of Fremantle, so there was a heightened awareness of troop movements and of wartime preparations:
The children all keyed up, waiting for they knew not what. Hopping under beds at different times to sleep, for fear, something might happen. Falling flat out on the ground when an aeroplane came along, in case it was the enemy. The night of the mock evacuation a night to be remembered. We tried to tell them it was fun. Fun at 2am. All dress when the siren blows and out and away down the street. The sirens everywhere wailing. Byanda children passed Kia-Ora in the street. No child spoke. Around they went and back to bed. Enough for children, their nerves were upset onward. Historical Record of The Children's Home, 15 Broome Street Cottesloe Beach Undated entry from Major A. Adams, Matron on her retirement from Cottesloe in 1949
In March 1942, the Home relocated to Kellerberrin when the army requisitioned the Cottesloe premises after Darwin was bombed. There, they operated from a former working men's hostel, the Prince of Wales Hostel, and the adjacent cooperative store. Some children of Salvation Army officers were also included with the evacuees and the government teachers from Cottesloe were also transferred to Kellerberrin.
Staff have recalled that the people of the Kellerberrin district were very generous to the Home during this period.
Children and staff returned to Cottesloe on 24 April 1944. The Home was repaired and renovated after the army's occupation and gradually life returned to 'normal'. By 1951, a new ablution block had been added, along with a sleepout for Byanda, and the old school, which had closed in 1948, was converted to a recreation hall and homework room. Lighting was installed in the yard and in the grounds between Kia-Ora and Byanda. In 2006, a former resident from this era recalled Kia Ora had 17 rooms; Byanda had six rooms; there were two laundry rooms and five rooms in the ablution block.
At this time, the uniform of the Home was maroon tunics, blazers and felt hats and in the following years a purchase of black shoes, grey coats and straw hats and sandals for summer completed the outfit. Girls marched 'crocodile style' to and from the Mosman Park Corps in these outfits on Sundays.
Children went to the Cottesloe Primary School and the Princess May High School in Fremantle.
Byanda was vacated in 1968 and all the staff and residents were lodged in Kia-Ora until that, too, closed.
When the Home closed in 1969, the residents and staff transferred to Withnell House, Mt Lawley, which had been a boys' hostel. They renamed the property 'Cottesloe House', although it was known to the Child Welfare Department from 1969 to 1972 as 'Withnell House Girls Home'.
1918 - 1969 Salvation Army Girls' Home, Cottesloe
1969 - 1973? Withnell House Girls' Home
Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Chief in the West', The Victory, 1 October 1919, pp. 293-294; 'The Cottesloe Beach Girls' Home', The War Cry, 27 September 1919, p. 3; 'Remaking Young Australians', The War Cry, 26 March 1921; 'West Australia', The Victory, 1 September 1921; 'To Compile History of Salvation Army', The Daily News, 1 December 1944, p. 5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78761324; ; Dawn Martell and Marlene Robinson in front of Byanda, 1962 [Image]; Ellement, Connie and Davidson, Ron, The divided kingdom, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Frremantle, Western Australia, 1987. p.36.; Kia Ora, Salvation Army Home for Girls [Image], Date: 1960s; 'Serving the community in Western Australia', 1966?-1969? (fundraising pamphlet held by the Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA) Cottesloe Girls Closed Social Work (1898-1998) file, documents titled: 'Cottesloe Girl's Home (Information)'; 'Wartime Evacuation from The Salvation Army Girls' Home Cottesloe Western Australia'; 'Brief History of Cottesloe Home for Girls, 1918-1970'; 'Historical Record [Salvation Army Girls' Home, Cottesloe]'; 'The Salvation Army - Nedlands'; Inspection Report - West Australia; The General's Representative Leaves Australia.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 7 October 2014