A Native Institution was established by the colonial government in 1834. Its purpose was to teach English to local Aboriginal people and instruct them in living in a settled colony. The Superintendent was Francis Armstrong, who was the 'native interpreter' for the colony. The institution closed in 1838 and a steam mill was built in the site.
The original objects of the Mount Eliza Native Institution were: 'to afford protection to the natives from violence, whether from each other or from white people, medical aid in time of sickness, and a regular supply of food ensured by cautious guidance, and a provident superintendence.' The work of the superindendent and the roles and responsibilities of the colonial authorities and the Aboriginal people who were to use the institution were published in Perth in the local newspaper on 13 December 1834. It was stated that the Government, in establishing the institution, was motivated to 'do the natives a good'. As the Aboriginal people were free to come and go, it is quite likely that children lived there at times.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Western Australian Journal [Native Institution established]', The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 13 December 1834, p. 406, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article641142; 'The Western Australian Journal [Native Institution]', The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 28 May 1836, p. 700, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article640434; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'p.92', 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.20..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 16 March 2013, Last modified: 18 June 2014