The La Grange Bay Feeding Depot was the new name used from 1918 by the Chief Protector of Aborigines for what had been known as the La Grange Bay Relief Station. By 1929, Aboriginal people were given rations 'twice daily' at the Depot, including a total of about 60 Aborignal children over the year. By the 1940s the Depot had a more settled population that included children and families, and in 1949, 50 Aboriginal people were moved there from Udialla Station. From 1950, the Feeding Depot became known as the La Grange Bay Ration Depot.
In his 1918 annual report, the Chief Protector of Aborigines, AO Neville, reported (p.6) that on average around 50 Aboriginal people per month were given 'relief' at what was then called the La Grange Feeding Depot. These people were described (p.10) as 'indigent natives'.
In the Chief Protector's annual report in 1928 (p.10), the Officer-in-Charge of the La Grange Feeding Depot described the people receiving 'twice daily' rations at the depot as 'decrepit, old and orphan natives'. In the 1929 annual report (p.8) 57 children were identified as receiving 'sustenance' from the feeding depot during the 1928-1929 year, with an average of around 5 children daily.
The Chief Protector's annual report in 1935 (p.12) spoke of the need for a 'married couple' to supervise the 'La Grange Bay Feeding Depot' because of the 'fact that a large number of natives cared for' there were women and the current Officer-in-Charge, Mr Spurling, was an unmarried man. During the 1934-35 year, 60 children reportedly received sustenance. The depot is also referred to as the La Grange Bay Native Depot elsewhere (p.21) in the report.
On 1 January 1936, according to the Chief Protector's report (p.13), the married couple took up their duties as planned. Mrs Hodges was a 'trained nurse' and a 'brush surgery and inspection room where minor cases' could be treated was built. This gave more structure to the health care offered at the depot, but reports from earlier in the century record Mr Tuckett and Mr Spurling dispensing medicines and giving medical treatment. At this time, there were 9 children included 'on the ration lists' for the depot, which is referred to as the La Grange Aborigines Feeding Depot elsewhere (p.21) in the report.
By 1938, the annual report of the Commissioner for Native Affairs (p.20) showed that another married couple was in place and that an average of only three children attended the La Grange Feeding Depot on a weekly basis. Mrs Lockett 'attended to all cases of sickness' which were reported as mostly among the 'aged natives'.
There are references to the La Grange 'relief depot' in the 1944 annual report of the Commissioner for Native Affairs but no official report from the site. The statistics published in the report (p.22) show that the 'estimated population' included three 'full-blood' children in that year, The 'native population' recorded in the Commissioner's 1945 annual report included four 'full-blood' children.
In his 1949 annual report, the Commissioner for Native Affairs documented (pp. 11-12) the removal of 50 'indigent' Aboriginal people from Udialla Station to the 'La Grange Bay Depot' after September 1948. This transfer of people coincided with the arrival of a 'qualifed nurse' at La Grange, who was married to the departmental officer in charge of the depot, which was referred to as a 'relief depot' elsewhere (p.27) in the report.
Sources used to compile this entry: State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'p. 77', 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; '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.7; Aborigines Department. Report for financial year ending 30th June, 1901, pp.45-46; Aborigines Department. Report for financial year ending 30th June, 1906, p.7; Annual Reports of the Chief Protector of Aborigines 1918, pp.6, 10; 1928, p.10; 1929, p.8; 1935, pp.12, 21; and, 1936, pp.13, 21; Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Native Affairs: 1938, p.20; 1944, p.22; 1945 p.24; 1949, pp.11-12, 27..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser and Rebe Taylor
Created: 10 September 2014, Last modified: 21 April 2016