St Christopher's Hostel began as an Anglican boys' high school hostel in 1941 and in 1960 came under the control of the Country High Schools Hostel Authority. From 1987, it was co-educational. St Christopher's closed in 2002.
St Christopher's Hostel was established in Northam in 1941 by the Anglican Church to provide accommodation for boys going to Northam High School. Although the Hostel came under the control of the Country High Schools Hostel Authority in 1960, the Anglican Church continued to be responsible for its day to day operations. During the 1960s and 70s, around 150 boys lived at the Hostel. From 1983, management merged with the nearby girls' hostel, Adamson House. St Christopher's Hostel became co-educational in 1987, and junior students were accommodated there. When Adamson House closed in 1990, the senior students from there came to St Christopher's. It closed in 2002 and became part of Northam Residential College in 2003.
In 2012 allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse of Hostel students at St Christopher's in the 1970s were heard by the Special Inquiry into St Andrews Hostel at Katanning. A full account of these matters is included at pages 233 to 261 of the Inquiry's report: St Andrew's Hostel Katanning: How the system and society failed our children. The report acknowledged that 'some former students have very good memories of their time at St Christopher's Hostel'. The Inquiry also found that the Warden, Roy Wenlock, had abused some boys in his care. The failure of the Chairman of the Board to take appropriate action when allegations of abuse were brought to his attention in the 1970s 'increased the prospects' that the Warden would continue to 'sexually misconduct himself with young males' according to the Inquiry.
More details about the allegations of abuse by Roy Wenlock, and the response of authorities and others to those allegations, are included in some of the public transcripts of the Inquiry. Relevant transcripts are included as related documents for this web page.
Sources used to compile this entry: Northam Residential College - History, Northam Residential College, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20120320095727/http://www.northamresidential.com.au/; Public Sector Commission, Western Australia, 'Inquiry - St Andrew's Hostel - Public Hearing Transcript – 23 May 2012; 24 May 2012; 25 May 2012 pp. 3530-3531; 19 June 2012; 22 June 2012 pp.3951-3953', Transcripts [St Andrew's Hostel Inquiry], Government of Western Australia, 19 September 2012, http://www.publicsector.wa.gov.au/public-administration/sector-performance-and-oversight/reviews-investigations-and-special-inquiries/special-inquiries/st-andrews-hostel-inquiry/transcripts; Public Sector Commission, St Andrew's Hostel Inquiry, Government of Western Australia, 19 September 2012, http://www.publicsector.wa.gov.au/public-administration/sector-performance-and-oversight/reviews-investigations-and-special-inquiries/special-inquiries/st-andrews-hostel-inquiry. pp.233-234, 261, Chapter 12..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 16 January 2012, Last modified: 28 November 2014