Ellensbrook Farm Home, near Busselton, was a government-run 'farm home' established in 1899 by the Aborigines Department. Up to 11 Aboriginal women and children were admitted for education and training. It closed in 1917.
Ellensbrook Farm Home, on the south-west coast, was a 'domestic-scale' farm home for Aboriginal children and women. There is some doubt about when it was established. In his 1900 report, the Protector of Aborigines, Henry Prinsep, says that he established the instutition. Tilbrook, however, says it was established in 1879 by the Church of England.
As Prinsep's report (p.4) says that the 'lady in charge' was 'well experienced in the treatment of natives' it is possible that Ellensbrook was operating with support from the Church of England from 1879, as Tilbrook suggests. However, it is likely that Ellensbrook started to operate 'officially' only from 1899. The lady in charge was Prinsep's niece, Edith Bussell.
Prinsep said in his report in 1900 that the children in Ellensbrook could not be taken into the other 'native' institutions. A heritage assessment of Ellensbrook (2012, p.3) explains that the children were of mixed descent, mostly from the northwest and included children with Chinese and Malay parents. Three of the children who had grown to adulthood at Ellensbrook were beneficiaries of Edith Bussell's estate in 1939.
Ellensbrook closed in 1917.
Sources used to compile this entry: Heritage Council of Western Australia, 'Ellensbrook', in inHerit, Western Australia State Heritage Office, Government of Western Australia, 8 February 2015, http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/public/p/115. pp.3, 5, 9.; 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. pp.46-47 (photographs included).; 'Western Australia Protectors Reports 1899-1959', in To Remove and Protect: Aboriginal Lives Under Control [website], Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, National Library of Australia, http://aiatsis.gov.au/collections/collections-online/digitised-collections/remove-and-protect/western-australia. Aborigines Department. Report for financial year ending 30th June, 1900, p.4..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 27 November 2013, Last modified: 12 November 2018