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New South Wales - Organisation

Warangesda Dormitory (1893 - 1912)

  • Warangesda Aboriginal Mission and Station

    Warangesda Aboriginal Mission and Station, c. 1897, courtesy of NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

Children's Home, Home and Mission Boarding School
Alternative Names
  • Warangesda Aboriginal School for Girls

Warangesda Dormitory was established on an Aborigines Protection Association station at Warangesda, near Darlington Point, in 1893. It trained Aboriginal girls for domestic service and served as a welfare depot for younger children from other reserves and stations. In 1897 the Aborigines Protection Board took over managing Warangesda Mission and the Dormitory. Girls from Warangesda were sent into domestic service 'apprenticeship' by the Board. Warangesda Dormitory closed in 1912 and girls were transferred to Cootamundra Training Home. The Mission was sold in 1926. The site and surviving buildings were listed on the State Heritage Register in 2013. The Dormitory ruins were still visible in March 2014.


Warangesda Station was established at Darlington Point by the Reverend JB Gribble in 1880 as a refuge for Aboriginal people. Gribble's aims were to Christianise the Aboriginal people, as well as shield them from the influences of white people, such as tobacco, alcohol, prostitution and gambling.

The Aborigines Protection Association formed in 1881, incorporating Warangesda, Maloga (run by another missionary, David Matthews) and Cumeragunja Stations. In 1881 two representatives of the New South Wales Government visited Warangesda. From 1886 the Aborigines Protection Board sent Aboriginal children who were orphaned, destitute or homeless to Warangesda, along with adults in need of welfare support.

Warangesda Dormitory was developed in 1893 to isolate girls and young women from other members of their community and concentrate on 'training' them to work in domestic service. It was the base for the beginnings of the Aborigines' Protection Board's 'apprenticeship' policies. These policies were pioneered by George Edward Ardill, who was a member of the Association. He placed girls from Warangesda Dormitory in apprenticeships in Sydney.

In 1897, when the Protection Association's finances collapsed, the Aborigines Protection Board took over the management of Warangesda, along with Cumeragunja and Maloga. The Board continued to use the Dormitory to receive girls who were thought to be ready for employment, taking them from all over New South Wales. In 1909 the Aborigines Protection Act gave the Board the power to apprentice children, and girls who had reached the school-leaving age were then sent to domestic service.

In 1911 the Aborigines Protection Board opened the Cootamundra Home as a training home for girls and Warangesda Dormitory was closed. A number of girls were transferred to Cootamundra from there.

The whole of Warangesda Station was sold by the Aborigines Protection Board in 1926 and it has been in private ownership since then.


1893 - 1912
Location - Warangesda Dormitory was situated at Warangesda Station, on the Murrumbidgee River, Darlington Point. Location: Darlington Point

Related Archival Series

Related Concepts

  • Apprenticeship

    Girls from Warangesda Dormitory were apprenticed as domestic servants.

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations



  • Horton, David, The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, 1994. Details


Online Resources


Warangesda Aboriginal Mission and Station
Warangesda Aboriginal Mission and Station
c. 1897
NSW Office of Environment & Heritage


The northern side of the former girls' dormitory [former Warangesda Station]
The northern side of the former girls' dormitory [former Warangesda Station]
November 2013
Christison, Ray


Sources used to compile this entry: 'Warangesda Aboriginal Mission and Station', 2013,; New South Wales. Aborigines Protection Board (ed.), Report of the Board, Government Printer, 1881-1941. Also available at; Parry, Naomi, 'Such a longing': black and white children in welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880-1940, Department of History, University of New South Wales, 2007, 361 pp,; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998,; Personal communication, Naomi Parry and Ray Christison, High Ground Consulting, 7 March 2014.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry