Gilead Boys' Home was established in Narrogin around 1973 to accommodate Aboriginal boys in a family atmosphere. In the mid-1970s Gilead was used as a single-family foster placement by the Department for Community Welfare, accommodating boys and girls. It was run by the Gilead Boys Home (Inc), with house parents living with the children. It may have closed around 1980.
Gilead Boys Home was established in Narrogin around 1973 to accommodate Aboriginal boys in a family atmosphere. It was also known as Gilead House and Gilead Hostel and was run by the Gilead Boys Home (Inc).
The Secretary of the Gilead Boys Home (Inc), in a letter received in July 1973 by the Department for Community Welfare (DCW), wrote that the Gilead Boys Home was run by the Gilead Council, which had bought the house and land. The letter described Gilead: 'The Gilead Boys Home is not a boarding place as such but a family home especially to give underprivileged Aboriginal boys a chance in life'.
In December 1974 the Social Worker, DCW Narrogin, wrote that 'Gilead Hostel' was 'not affiliated with Roelands Mission, but is administered by a council made up of Narrogin business men' who had envisaged Gilead as a working boys' hostel but 'for the past 18 months' it had been used by the DCW as a foster home for a 'complete family group' of children. The Secretary was local Narrogin pastor Donald S. Bone.
A letter from the (Commonwealth) Department of Aboriginal Affairs to the Director, DCW in December 1974 confirms that Gilead Boys' Home (Inc) had approached the Commonwealth for funding to cover loans taken out by the organisation to establish Gilead. A decision on this matter is not included in the file, but the tone of correspondence suggests the Commonwealth was not keen to provide financial relief.
In July 1973, the DCW District Officer, Narrogin, wrote that Gilead had facilities for 9 boys, with 'spacious rooms adequately furnished' and situated on two acres of land in the town with vegetable gardens established by the house parents. In the officer's opinion, the house parents had 'a very easy going nature and have created a good relationship with the children already in the home' and Gilead's location in town meant that it could be 'supervised constantly by the local [DCW] office'. According to the file, seven children from the same family, including two girls, had been resident at Gilead, but by June 1974 only '2 or 3 lads' from that family remained at Gilead.
Telephone books record 'Gilead Boys Home (Inc)' as located at 50 Herald Street, Narrogin. Gilead appears in telephone books from 1974 until 1979-80 but not beyond that year.
In 2021, the Western Australian government has agreed to be a funder of last resort for this institution. This means that although the institution is now defunct, it is participating in the National Redress Scheme, and the government has agreed to pay the institution's share of costs of providing redress to a person (as long as the government is found to be equally responsible for the abuse a person experienced).
Sources used to compile this entry: State Records Office of Western Australia, Wards - Director's Approval to Transfer from one Institution to Another and Amend Training, Reference Code AU WA S1099- cons2607 A0191 V4 (p.349, 350) - page numbers refer to PDF page number in digital file held by the Department of Communities (Child Protection and Family Support) in 2017. State Records Office of WA: Item A2531 - Property - Vailima/Gilead Hostel (p.11, 27). Telephone Directory Western Australia Country, (1974-75, p.126; 1975-76, p.119; 1977-78, p.270; 1979-80, p.223).
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 19 December 2018, Last modified: 7 December 2021