Weeriana Hostel, in Roebourne, was established by 1971 as a government-run education hostel for Aboriginal children going to primary and high school in Roebourne. There were 66 children in 1971, and 45 children in 1979. By 1995, its function had changed to provide short to medium term and emergency accommodation for children aged from 0-15 years. Around 2010 the Weeriana Hostel also became known as the Weeriana Group Home.
Government reports (Signposts 2004, pp.564-565) show that Weeriana was a Department of Native Welfare hostel that in 1971 had 66 primary and high school age children living there. In 1972, responsibility for Weeriana was transferred to the Department for Community Welfare (DCW) in accordance with government policy at that time.
In 1979 (Signposts p.564) the DCW gave some information about the children living Weeriana: There were '45 children from Pipingarah, Mardie, Yarraloola and Chirratta Stations; and from the Port Hedland and Wickham areas'.
A ten-bed cottage was built for staff quarters in 1980, and the youngest children were housed there in what authorities hoped (p.564) would provide more of a 'family atmosphere' than the main building.
From 1984, children whose families lived in Roebourne were also admitted to Weeriana. The department's viewpoint was explained when Weeriana was surveyed in June 1995 (OHAC Cost Project, Department for Community Services, June 1995, quoted in Signposts p.565): Weeriana's role in providing 'short to medium accommodation for both family support and protection needs' was 'primarily associated with alcohol abuse and violence within the Roebourne Community.' The reviewing officer reported that 'Consultation within the community indicated the service is both valued and respected' and recommended that Weeriana be retained as a ten bed cottage because, 'although overall admissions are relatively low Roebourne is a volatile community in which there are few alternative resources. Placement of children with extended family is difficult either through suitability or a consequence of feuding.'
During 1994, 18 children were admitted to Weeriana. Most were 0-6 years old but children but teenagers up to 15 years were also admitted.
Weeriana remained open in 2014 as the Weeriana Group Home.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.565-566', 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; Department for Child Protection and Family Support, internal document 'Country Residential Group Homes - All Items' received by email 7 March 2014. "Application of a Token Economy at Weerianna Hostel and its Expansion to the Community of Roebourne" by Pentz, M. and Hornby, R. (1978). Department for Community Welfare, WA - [Department document ID number A7520599). 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.101) - 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: 4 October 2018