The Daly River Mission was established by the Catholic Church on the Daly River in 1955. It operated a Mission School with dormitories for Aboriginal children aged 5 to 17 from 1957. The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart were placed in charge of the girls and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart supervised the boys. The dormitories closed in 1977, however, the day school continued to operate.
The Daly River Mission was established by the Catholic Church on the Daly River in 1955. It was the second mission established on the Daly River, the first was the Queen of the Holy Rosary Mission, also known as Uniya, run by the Jesuits from 1886 to 1899.
After discussions with local Elders who wished for a health centre and school to be established at Daly River, Bishop O'Loughlin, the Bishop of Darwin arranged for the purchase by the Catholic Church of 4000 acres of land on the Daly River in 1955. The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart established a school and health clinic at the new Mission. The Mission School opened in 1957. It operated as a residential school for Aboriginal girls and boys aged 5 to 17 and provided accommodation, education, medical care and religious instruction. The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart supervised the girls at the school, while the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart were in charge of the boys. According to A Piece of the Story children generally remained in the dormitories during school terms and returned to family over holiday periods.
As the community at the Daly River Mission developed and people lived closer to the school, residential care was no longer required. The residential part of the school closed in 1977. The day school at the mission, however, continued to operate.
Sources used to compile this entry: "A Piece of the Story": National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families, December 2001, https://cssa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Piece-of-the-Story.pdf; 'Our Mission - Daly River', in The Diocese of Darwin, The Diocese of Darwin, The Catholic Church in the Northern Territory, https://web.archive.org/web/20160304042440/http://www.darwin.catholic.org.au/aboriginal-communities/sub-nauiyu.htm.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 12 January 2011, Last modified: 23 May 2017