The Receiving Home, Darwin, was opened by the Government in 1957 as a temporary institution to replace the Fannie Bay Receiving Home. Children of all ages taken into the care of the State were placed at the Receiving Home while waiting placement in other institutions or into foster care. It also operated at times as a refuge for expectant mothers and destitute women. In 1961 younger children were moved to Dundas House, older children were moved to the Adolescent Receiving Home and the Receiving Home, Darwin closed.
The Receiving Home, Darwin, was opened on 15 July 1957 at Mitchell Street, Darwin. It replaced the Fannie Bay Receiving Home which was destroyed in a fire in May 1957. Formerly a departmental residence, the Home was adapted to accommodate a larger number of children. It was initially established as a temporary Home while plans were being made to build a new Receiving Home.
Most children were received into the Home as soon as they were taken into care. After they were committed in court to the care of the Director of Child Welfare, many remained in the Home while awaiting placement in another institution or into foster care. The ages of children cared for in the Home ranged from babies to teenagers. The average number of children in the Home at one time was 14.
At times the Home also provided a refuge for expectant and nursing mothers who were without support or accommodation. Destitute women were also given temporary shelter at the Home.
The 1958-59 report of the Welfare Branch noted the following problems with the Home:
Physical facilities at the Home are most inadequate and the need for a new building is urgent. The present building is no longer considered to be of sufficient value to warrant expenditure on any major repairs and the fact that members of both sexes are sometimes accommodated in this one building gives rise to difficult problems in providing satisfactory sleeping quarters. It is recognised that it is undesirable to bring uncontrollable children into contact with destitute and neglected children, but this has been necessary up to date because no alternative accommodation exists.
In July 1961 younger children were moved into the first stage of the new Receiving Home, which later became known as Dundas House. Older children remained at the original Mitchell Street premises until they were moved to a temporary building nearby which was called the Adolescent Receiving Home. The Receiving Home, Darwin was then closed.
Sources used to compile this entry: Annual Report, Welfare Branch, Northern Territory Administration, Commonwealth of Australia, 1958-59, 125 pp, http://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/docs/digitised_collections/remove/89976.pdf; Commonwealth of Australia, The Northern Territory Annual Report for the period 1st JULY, 1957, to 30th JUNE, 1958, Canberra, 1960; Commonwealth of Australia, The Northern Territory Report for 1958-59, Canberra, 1961; 'State Children's Council Annual Reports (1955 - 1959)', NAA: F1, 1956/2168; 'State Children's Council Receiving Home for State Children', 1954-1957, NAA: F1, 1955/1178.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 4 April 2012, Last modified: 7 November 2018