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Western Australia - Organisation

Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Homes, Gosnells (1920 - 1955)

  • BA953/3: Boys in the grounds of Seaforth Boys' Home, Gosnells, 1926-1932

    BA953/3: Boys in the grounds of Seaforth Boys' Home, Gosnells, 1926-1932, 1926 - 1932, courtesy of State Library of Western Australia.
    Details

From
1920
To
1955
Categories
Children's Home, Disability Institution, Home, Orphanage, Receiving Agency and Salvation Army
Alternative Names
  • Gosnells Boys' Home (also known as, 1920s)
  • No 2 Section, Seaforth (also known as)
  • Seaforth Backward Section (also known as, 1922 - 1950)
  • Seaforth Boys' Colony (also known as, 1927)
  • Seaforth General Section (also known as, 1920 - 1955)

The Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Home, Gosnells (Kelmscott) was established in 1920. Boys from the Salvation Army Homes at Collie were transferred to Seaforth, and lived in different 'sections', including a separate facility for boys and young men with intellectual disabilities (1922-1950). Seaforth Boys' Home closed in 1955 and remaining boys were transferred to the Salvation Army Boys' Home, Nedlands. Those adults who had been in the 'backward' section remained on the Seaforth property which continued to be used by the Salvation Army as a residential care centre for adults.

Details

The Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Home was established around 1921, on a parcel of land held by the Salvation Army and shared with the Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Reformatory and Seaforth Salvation Army Girls' Home. The Boys' Home had two sections: a general section for children who were described in 1925 as 'orphans or semi-orphans' and a 'backward' section for boys with intellectual disabilities. The general section was also called the 'probationary' section. All Children's Home sections at Seaforth had ceased operation by 30 August 1955.

Seaforth continued to be used by the Salvation Army as a residential facility for adults. Known as the Harry Hunter Rehabilitation Centre in 2014, the site remained active.

A brief overview of the 'general' and 'backward' sections follows:

General section

In 1925, the 'general' section at Seaforth accommodated 50 boys aged from 5 to 14 years. A large brick building in the centre of the property held the boys' dormitories. The Seaforth Boys' Band, which had been established in 1923, drew its members from this section of the Home. The band not only played at functions in the Home, but was also gave public performances and in 1926 went on a tour of the south-west. The boys' band seems to have been an important part of the Salvation Army's fundraising campaigns.

In 1942, boys from the Salvation Army Boys' Home, Nedlands were evacuated to Seaforth so the army could make use of the Nedlands site. They returned after the army no longer needed Nedlands.

In 1953, the Premier of Western Australia commissioned RH Hicks, Director of Child Welfare and Social Services in New South Wales, to review Western Australian child welfare facilities, including the Seaforth Boys' Home. Hicks' report was never released by the government but certain elements were published in the press, including information that condemned the conditions at Seaforth.

On 30 August 1955, the Seaforth Boys' Home, general section, closed. All remaining boys were transferred to the Salvation Army Boys' Home, Nedlands.

'Backward' section

The Salvation Army opened a section for boys with intellectual disabilities at Seaforth in 1922. At the time this section opened, there were a range of terms used to describe children with disabilities - and boys with physical disabilities may also have been sent to this Home. Previously, these children would have been sent to the Claremont Hospital for the Insane. By 1925 there were 50 boys in this section of the Home, and they went to a school run by the Education Department on the Seaforth site. The dormitories, playgrounds, gardens and dining-room of the 'backward' section were separate from the other sections of Seaforth, and, apart from the Manager, had its own staff. Young men as old as 25 years were reportedly resident in the Home in 1929. Boys and young men were trained and worked in raffia and basket-making, embroidery, rug-making, toy-making and cabinetry. Not all boys stayed in the 'backward' section. Those who were deemed suitable for work in the general community were placed with employers.

The 'backward' section closed on 29 July 1950. Some residents, who were no longer children, remained on the Seaforth property which, after August 1955, continued to be used by the Salvation Army as a residential care centre for adults.

The Seaforth Home was mentioned in the Lost Innocents Report (2001) as an institution involved in the migration of children to Australia.

Events

1921 - 1957
Location - Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Homes were located on the Albany Highway, Gosnells. Location: Gosnells

Related Archival Items

  • Mens Home Social Work Closed (1968 - 1990s)

    Mens Home social work closed [File, Salvation Army] contains a document, 'Seaforth Senior Citizens Centre' which notes that the men who were in the intellectually disabled section of the Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Home had all died by the mid-1960s.

Related Archival Series

Related Events

Related Organisations

  • Redhill Reformatory School (1903 - 1922)

    When Redhill Reformatory School closed, the boys were transferred to Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Homes, Gosnells.

    Date: 1922

  • Salvation Army Boys' Home (1918 - 1965)

    Boys were transferred between the Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Homes, Gosnells and the Salvation Army Boys' Home in Nedlands (West Subiaco). During World War II, the Nedlands boys all moved to Seaforth temporarily. When Seaforth closed, boys were transferred permanently to Nedlands.

    Date: 1920 - 1955

  • Seaforth Salvation Army Girls' Home (1920 - 1942)

    Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Homes, Gosnells was co-located with the Seaforth Salvation Army Girls' Home on the Salvation Army's property at Gosnells.

Publications

Books

  • Coldrey, Barry M., The Scheme: the Christian Brothers and Childcare in Western Australia, Argyle-Pacific Pub., O'Connor, W.A., 1993. p.54. Details
  • Kirkham, Lt-Col John C, Southern Soup-Soap-Salvation, a compendium of Salvation Army Social Services in the Australian Southern Territory, The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory Territorial Archives and Museum, 2003. pp.124-125. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • 'Remaking Young Australians', The War Cry, 26 March 1921. Details
  • 'West Australia', The Victory, 1 September 1921. Details
  • 'Seaforth Boys on Tour', The War Cry, 9 October 1926. Details
  • 'Happy lads at Seaforth WA', The War Cry, 9 October 1926. Details
  • 'Welcomed to West Australia', The War Cry, 25 September 1926. Details
  • 'The Army and Mental Deficients', The War Cry, 1 January 1927. Details
  • 'Treated with real affection and concern', All the World, October 1978. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Seaforth WA Children's Homes 1920's
Title
Seaforth WA Children's Homes 1920's
Type
Document
Date
1920s - 1950s
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Seaforth Boys closed social work file

Details

Seaforth History
Title
Seaforth History
Type
Document
Date
1920s - 1950s
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Seaforth Boys closed social work file

Details

Backward boys come to the front
Title
Backward boys come to the front
Type
Document
Date
19 December 1925
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Seaforth Boys closed social work file

Details

BA953/70: Unidentified group at Seaforth Boy's Home, Gosnells, 1926-1932
Title
BA953/70: Unidentified group at Seaforth Boy's Home, Gosnells, 1926-1932
Type
Image
Date
1926 - 1932
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

BA953/2: Dormitory at Seaforth Boys' Home, Gosnells, 1926-1932
Title
BA953/2: Dormitory at Seaforth Boys' Home, Gosnells, 1926-1932
Type
Image
Date
1926 - 1932
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

BA953/3: Boys in the grounds of Seaforth Boys' Home, Gosnells, 1926-1932
Title
BA953/3: Boys in the grounds of Seaforth Boys' Home, Gosnells, 1926-1932
Type
Image
Date
1926 - 1932
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Salvation Army Homes - Seaforth, Gosnells, 1928
Title
Salvation Army Homes - Seaforth, Gosnells, 1928
Type
Image
Date
1928
Source
Department for Child Protection and Family Support, Annual Report of the Child Welfare Department, 1928, after p.6

Details

BA953/52: Display of cane furniture made by the boys at Seaforth Boys' Home, Gosnells, 1930
Title
BA953/52: Display of cane furniture made by the boys at Seaforth Boys' Home, Gosnells, 1930
Type
Image
Date
1930
Publisher
State Library of Western Australia

Details

Seaforth Boy's Home circa 1948
Title
Seaforth Boy's Home circa 1948
Type
Image
Date
1948?
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Seaforth photos file

Details

Seaforth MacKenzie Home at Seaforth Boy's Home, 1951
Title
Seaforth MacKenzie Home at Seaforth Boy's Home, 1951
Type
Document
Date
1951
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Seaforth photos file

Details

Seaforth School and Reformatory Boys
Title
Seaforth School and Reformatory Boys
Type
Document
Date
1954?
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Seaforth photos file

Details

Seaforth House, 1958
Title
Seaforth House, 1958
Type
Image
Date
1958
Source
Salvation Army Heritage Museum WA, Seaforth photos file

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: 'State Children [Annual Report, November 1922]', The Daily News, 14 November 1922, p. 5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83155880; ; 'Happy lads at Seaforth WA', The War Cry, 9 October 1926; 'The Army and Mental Deficients', The War Cry, 1 January 1927; 'Report Criticises Seaforth Boys' Home', The West Australian, 7 August 1954, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52959735; 'State's Treatment Of Juvenile Offenders Is Condemned', The West Australian, 13 July 1954, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52954491; 'Submission No. 438 Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care: Submissions', in Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care - Submissions received by the committee as at 17/3/05, Senate Community Affairs Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, 17 August 2004, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/submissions/sublist; Backward boys come to the front [Document], Date: 19 December 1925; Coldrey, Barry M., The Scheme: the Christian Brothers and Childcare in Western Australia, Argyle-Pacific Pub., O'Connor, W.A., 1993. p.54.; Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.491-493, Table 47: Young People at the Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Home (General Section), Certain Years between 1920 and 1954, Table 48: Young People at the Seaforth Salvation Army Boys' Home ('Backward' Section), 1922 - 1951', 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; Kirkham, Lt-Col John C, Southern Soup-Soap-Salvation, a compendium of Salvation Army Social Services in the Australian Southern Territory, The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory Territorial Archives and Museum, 2003. pp.124-125.; Seaforth History [Document], Date: 1920s - 1950s; Mens Home Social Work Closed (1968 - 1990s) file, document 'Seaforth Senior Citizens Centre'. Seaforth Boys Home Closed Social Work file, document 'Seaforth'.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser