Dundas House was opened in Darwin by the government in 1961 as a Receiving Home for girls up to the age of 12 and school aged boys who required temporary accommodation. Children accommodated at the Home for more than one week were enrolled in schools in the Darwin area. It accommodated up to 12 children with two staff members. In 1966 a new dormitory enabled 28 children to be accommodated at one time. Dundas House is thought to have closed around 1979.
Dundas House opened on 5 July 1961 as a Receiving Home for girls up to the age of 12 and school aged boys who required temporary accommodation. Most children remained at the Home for less than one month, although some could remain there for several months. Children accommodated at the Home for more than one week were enrolled in schools in the Darwin area.
Dundas House was described in the 1961 Northern Territory Report as 'a modern brick building with accommodation for twelve children and two staff members'.
In March 1964 a social worker reported problems with finding accommodation at Dundas House. In seeking placement for two boys aged 6 and 7, it was noted that it was 'again almost full'. This meant that the boys had to be placed instead in a separate room at Palmerston House, which was meant for adolescent girls. The social workers's report noted that:
This incident shows that accommodation at Dundas House is already becoming inadequate and in the event of even one large family being admitted all our resources of emergency foster homes may be insufficient.
In 1966 a new dormitory was added to the Home which increased the number of children that could be accommodated to 28. A superintendent and matron were appointed, the latter being a trained nurse. The Annual Report for 1965-66 noted:
Many of the the children admitted were infants from outlying areas brought to Darwin for medical treatment. A large group of residents were children whose parents were unable to care for them during periods of illness or other emergencies.
Dundas House is thought to have closed around 1979.
Sources used to compile this entry: Annual Report, Welfare Branch, 1965-66, Northern Territory Administration, Commonwealth of Australia, Darwin, 1966; Commonwealth of Australia, The Northern Territory Report for 1961-62, Canberra, 1964; Commonwealth of Australia, Northern Territory Report for 1963-1964, Canberra, 1965; Department of Territories, Northern Territory Report for 1962-1963, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 1964; NTAS: F1411 File SD 1705 Foster Homes (Special) Proposed establisment - Policy.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 4 April 2012, Last modified: 7 November 2018