The Salvation Army Girls' Home, Kalgoorlie ran from 1904 to at least 1924 and possibly to 1930. Non-aboriginal girls were also admitted in later years. Newspaper accounts suggest that the purpose of the Home was to train the girls for domestic service. When the Home closed, the girls were transferred to the Salvation Army Girls' Home, Cottesloe.
The Salvation Army ran a Home for Aboriginal girls at Kalgoorlie from around 1904 to at least 1924 and possibly to 1930. In the goldfields, Aboriginal women were 'easy prey to unscrupulous men' and there were many girls of 'mixed descent' whose fathers took no responsibility for them and who were taken into the Home. Newspaper accounts suggest that the purpose of the Home was to train the girls for domestic service.
From 1905, the head of the government department responsible for Aboriginal welfare was the guardian of Aboriginal children at the Home.
In his 1911 history of Western Australia (the 'Cyclopedia'), JS Battye stated that the Salvation Army ran a home for 17 'aboriginal girls' in Kalgoorlie (p.62) and also mentioned (p.102) a home at Lamington Heights (Kalgoorlie) for 'little children'. The latter was known as 'The Fold'. Possibly, this source has been relied upon in later histories. Apparently, some girls were sent there from the Salvation Army Girls' Home at Collie in 1905. Tilbrook gives 1907 as the start date.
According to Salvation Army historical records, the Home was originally established for Aboriginal girls but eventually 'also became a Home for white girls' (The Victory, 1 September 1921, p.280).
A letter of appreciation for the donation from The Daily News Orphans' Christmas Cheer Fund in 1915 gives an insight into life at the Girls' Home and shows how unusual it was for the children to have 'extras':
Your donations gave our children a good picnic, and also assisted us to purchase fowls and fruit for their Chirstmas dinner and tea. Letter, 4 January 1916 published in The Daily News 2 December 1916
The girls were in great demand as entertainers in the area and newspaper reports from the 1920s describe them as 'truly musical' and a 'trained company of 21 girls', with 'one or two of the young soloists' having 'voices of more than average quality'. The items they presented included 'action songs, musical drill, tableaux, and exercises'.
When the Home closed, the girls were transferred to the Salvation Army Girls' Home, Cottesloe.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'A Lady's Letter [Salvation Army Girls' Home, Kalgoorlie]', Kalgoorlie Miner, 23 December 1910, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91102156; 'Items of news [Salvation Army Homes, Kalgoorlie and Boulder]', Kalgoorlie Miner, 8 September 1911, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91320405; 'Lamington Home Girls', Kalgoorlie Miner, 21 September 1920, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93892663; 'Salvation Army Girls', Kalgoorlie Miner, 11 September 1920, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93900825; 'Entertainments', Kalgoorlie Miner, 20 August 1921, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93254416; 'West Australia', The Victory, 1 September 1921; 'Salvation Army', Kalgoorlie Miner, 20 October 1923, p. 5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93294394; 'General Bramwell Booth', Western Argus, 18 March 1924, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article34286559; Battye, JS, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia (1912), Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, 1985. Vol 1, pp.62, 102.; 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. p.78.; Longworth, Alison, Was it worthwhile?, An historical analysis of five women missionaries and their encounters with the Nyungar people of south-west Australia, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, 2005, http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/163/2/02Whole.pdf. pp.298-299.; Our Children's Home at Kalgoorlie, W.A. [Image], Date: 26 March 1921; Quarterly Newsletter, Historical Society WA Chapter [Document], Date: 2002; Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory and The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory, 'Submission No. 46, The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territorial Headquarters (VIC), Attchments, Appendix A, The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory Childrens Homes, A list of openings, closings and function', in Submissions received by the committee as at 17/3/05, Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care, Parliament of Australia website, Senate Community Affairs Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, July 2003, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/submissions/sublist; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'pp.30, 65', Guide to Institutions Attended by Aboriginal People in Western Australia, Government of Western Australia, 2005, http://web.archive.org/web/20140126131607/http://www.dpc.wa.gov.au/lantu/MediaPublications/Documents/Guide-to-Institutions-attended-by-Aboriginal-people-in-WA-2005.pdf; Tilbrook, Lois, Nyungar Tradition : glimpses of Aborigines of south-western Australia 1829-1914, Online version published by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in 2007, University of Western Australia Press, 1983, http://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/catalogue_resources/m0022954.pdf. p.208.; Visit to Kalgoorlie [Image], Date: 15 October 1921.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 17 February 2013, Last modified: 27 August 2018