The Pallottine Mission Centre was established in 1955 on a 10-acre lot in Riverton with the first residents, boys from the Pallottine Mission in Tardun, in residence by 1956. The Boys' Hostel was named St Vincent Pallotti Hostel.
In 1959, the Centre expanded to 25 acres of land and from 1960 the land was considered part of the newly-named suburb of Rossmoyne. From 1961, both girls and boys of high school age were accommodated at the Pallottine Centre in separate hostels (the Girls' Hostel was called Villa Maria).
In May 1961, an officer from the Department of Native Welfare expressed some concern about Aboriginal children being sent from remote communities to Perth for schooling:
'At this stage, I would like to place on record the fact that all these children (i.e. those at Riverton) could have been adequately educated at the Derby Technical High School which was in fact established at great expense to provide educational opportunities for just such children.
Once this precedent has been established for these children there will be no end to the demands of the Church for other children to be sent to Perth rather than to the local High School.
Respectfully, too, I would like to point out that this exodus of children to Perth, probably ultimately at the Department's expense is contrary to policy laid down at the recent Commissioner's conference. (Letter Tilbrook to Commissioner of Native Welfare, 25.5.61, quoted in Signposts 2004, p.404)'
In 1967 a new accommodation block was opened, the Senior Girls' Building, for girls either in training or employment. Further extensions were made in 1971, with the building known as Edith Little Lodge. In 1974 the Junior Boys' Lodge was opening and in 1986 another new building for boys, Valentine Lodge, was opened.
In the 1970s there were 70 students living at the centre, along with a dozen adults, including live-in staff and missionaries on leave. Most of the students went to Catholic colleges in Perth.
The Pallottine Centre closed in 1991 and the land was sold. The money recouped from the land sale was placed in the Pallottine Aboriginal Scholarship Trust which provides scholarships to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who wish to undertake postgraduate training.
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21 October 2022
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00172
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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