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Northern Territory - Organisation

Trower Road Cottage (1969 - 1976)

Somerville Homes Inc

Cottage Home, Home and Methodist
Alternative Names
  • Illawarra Cottage (Also known as)

Trower Road Cottage opened in Rapid Creek in 1969. Run by Somerville Homes Incorporated it was one of six cottages which made up Somerville Cottage Homes. It accommodated up to eight children aged between 4 and 16 years under the supervision of cottage parents. Children from Croker Island were the first residents of the cottage. Trower Road Cottage closed in 1976.


Trower Road Cottage opened in 1969 in the Darwin suburb of Rapid Creek. It was one of six family group homes known as Somerville Cottage Homes. The Homes were run by Somerville Homes Incorporated, an association established by the United Church in Northern Australian and the Methodist Overseas Mission. The other Somerville Cottage Homes were located in Chapman Road, Clarke Crescent and Fox Crescent in Rapid Creek and Henry Street and Luxton Street in Stuart Park.

Trower Road Cottage provided care for up to eight children, both Aboriginal and non Aboriginal, aged between 4 and 16 years under the supervision of cottage parents. A statistical summary dated 30 June 1971 shows that on that day the cottage was only accommodating 1 girl aged 11 and 3 boys aged between 6 and 13. Two children belonging to the cottage parents also resided at the Home.

In an early pamphlet, Trower Road cottage was also referred to as Illawarra Cottage, carrying on the name of one of the cottages on Croker Island, from where many of the first children in Somerville Cottage Homes came. This name appears to have been used rarely as all of the Cottages were generally referred to by their street addresses.

Trower Road Cottage was damaged by Cyclone Tracy in December 1974 and closed as a cottage for children. No children were present at the time of the cyclone as all were on holiday placements interstate. The Cottage reopened with new cottage parents in April 1975. It continued to operate as a family group home until 1976.

The Trower Road premises was leased to the government from 1977 and used as an institution for young female offenders. In 1981 Somerville Homes opened a new Home for children with disabilities known as Bunyip House.


1969 - 1976
Address - Trower Road Cottage was situated at 37 Trower Road, Rapid Creek. Location: Rapid Creek

Sources used to compile this entry: NTRS 50 Uniting Church of Australia, Northern Synod: Records relating to child care, Somerville Homes, Darwin, 1964-1979; NTRS 630/P2 N82/1202 Somerville Homes general; F941 - SD 22, Staff Matters Part I & SD 359 Cottage parents seminar Darwin.

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George