Gnowangerup Mission was established in 1926 by Hope and Hedley Wright on behalf of the Australian Aborigines' Mission, on a 6.5 acre Government Reserve just outside Gnowangerup. In 1929 the Australian Aborigines' Mission became the United Aborigines Mission and the Wright's continued to run the Mission on their behalf. The Mission moved two miles out of Gnowangerup to a 190 acre plot in 1935. The mission closed in 1973.
Gnowangerup Mission was originally established on land provided by Gnowerangup Shire Council one mile southwest of Gnowangerup on Tambellup Road by Hope and Hedley Wright. The Mission was run under the auspices of the Australian Aboriginal Mission, and later the United Aborigines' Mission. The Mission included a school.
During the early 1930s there was much concern about the location of the Mission and in 1935 a new Mission Station was opened two miles north-east of Gnowangerup. The official opening happened in November 1935. The buildings were transferred to the new location and the school continued.
Gnowangerup Mission was gazetted as a Native Institution on 29/03/1940 and its status as a Native Institution under s.4 Native Welfare Act 1963 was cancelled on 04/02/1970.
Gnowangerup Mission is mentioned in multiple sources as an institution that housed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families. The December 1948 issue of the United Aborigines messenger mentions a changed policy for the work at Gnowangerup with eight children under the care of the missionaries.
In the 1960s Gnowangerup Agriculture School was opened on the Mission's land.
The Mission closed in 1973.
In November 2017 seventeen members of the Stolen Generations returned to Gnowangerup Mission to undertake healing activities.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Records of the Gnowangerup Mission', in State Library of Western Australia website, State Library of Western Australia, 2004, http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au/pdf/mn/mn2001_2500/mn2398.pdf; United Aborigines Mission (ed.), The United Aborigines messenger, 1929-1987. December 1948, p.5.; Government Gazette of Western Australia, February 1970, No.16, p.427.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 27 October 2013, Last modified: 19 September 2019