Warminda was established in 1968 as a hostel for Aboriginal girls of working age but by 1975 was admitting girls and boys aged from 5-16 years. It was run by Methodist and Uniting Church agencies. In 1984, the Uniting Church ceased their residential program at Warminda, and it became a government-run community support hostel, keeping the name, Warminda.
Warminda was the name given to a house purchased by the Department of Native Welfare (DNW) in 1968 to accommodate working-age female Aboriginal teenagers. From the outset, Warminda was run by the Methodist Homes for Children, under agreement with the DNW. As the need emerged, Aboriginal teenagers who needed student accommodation would also live at Warminda. In 1972, the ownership of Warminda was transferred from the DNW to the Department for Community Welfare (DCW). Warminda continued to be run by the Methodist Homes for Children until 1977, and after the creation of the Uniting Church, it was run by Uniting Church Child and Family Care Services (1977-1984).
In 1975, Warminda was providing long-term, cottage Home accommodation for primary and secondary school-age boys and girls, with the average length of stay being just over one year. Short-term placements were permitted if necessary. If possible, children were boarded out with host families during school holidays. A description of Warminda in 1975 noted there was a swimming pool and fish tank, a pet and a basketball court. The house had four bedrooms (one single, and three bedrooms that could be shared by more than three children). Children went to local schools by bus, and were allowed to buy their lunch one day per week.
There had been cottage parents living with the children at Warminda throughout the years that it was run by the Methodist and Uniting Church agencies. In 2018, Martin James Cooper, a former cottage parent who came to Warminda in 1978, was convicted of 30 offences against children living in the hostel, including physical and sexual abuse.
In 1984, the management of Warminda was handed back to the government and it became a community support hostel run by the Department for Community Welfare.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'The horrors of Warminda hostel and the children who were never heard. Until now.', in ABC News online, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2018, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-31/warminda-hostel-abused-children-told-no-one-would-believe-them/9807480; 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, https://signposts.communities.wa.gov.au//pdf/pdf.aspx; Mofflyn, 'Submission No. 160 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, August 2003, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/submissions/sublist; Parliament of Western Australia, Hansard Archive 1870 to 1995: Assembly - Debates, 4 April 1995, 'Juvenile Offenders - Convictions', [p.649]. 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.25, 90) - 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 & Cate O'Neill
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 4 October 2018