The Djurain Mission Children's Home opened in 1950 on the grounds of the Djurain Mission (also known as Jureen Mission, Kellerberrin Mission, and North Wollundra Mission), near Kellerberrin. The mission was run by the United Aborigines Mission (UAM), who established it in 1939. The Children's Home was established in order to keep children separate from the rest of the mission camp population. It closed in 1954.
When the home opened it had capacity for 12 children, with the intention to take in girls only until a separate dormitory could be constructed for the boys. However, within a few months the Home was providing accommodation for 4 boys and 4 girls, with the boys taking the dormitory and the girls sleeping in the dining room, which had been temporarily converted into a dormitory.
The children at the Djurain Mission Children's Home attended the Mission school, which was located across the road from the Mission camp. Parents of children in the Home (who typically lived on the Mission) were required to pay 14/- per week per child for their board.
In November 1952, the Secretary of the United Aborigines Mission wrote to the Commissioner of Native Affairs (SROWA, Series S2030, Item 1946/0774) reporting that there were no children living in the Djurain Misison Children's Home. He stated that the children had all been removed by their parents, who were concerned that their children would be removed from them permanently if they remained in the Home. Despite this, a second dormitory had been constructed, and the home was being re-opened with capacity for 33 children. The Secretary requested assistance from the Department in placing children in the Home, as the local parents were "hesitant" to return their children to it.
At least one child was placed in the Home by the Department of Native Affairs in 1953. However, by 1954 the UAM had decided to abandon the Home as it was no longer practical to keep it running. The Children's Home buildings were dismantled, and moved to the UAM mission at Gnowangerup. The Mission school was also closed around this time, and the scale of the Mission was greatly reduced, eventually closing by the mid-1960s.
Sources used to compile this entry: Jureen Mission, Golden Pipeline website, 2018, https://www.goldenpipeline.com.au/see-do/jureen-mission/; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 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; Kellerberrin - Establishment of a mission, State Records Office of Western Australia - Series 2030, Cons 993, Item 1946/0774.
Prepared by: Constance Thurley-Hart
Created: 14 September 2022