Chapman 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. The first group of children in the cottage came from Croker Island. The Cottage closed in 1976 and was leased to the government. It became the Chapman Road Remand Home, an institution for young male offenders.
Chapman Road Cottage was the first of six family group homes which formed Somerville Cottage Homes in Darwin. It opened in Rapid Creek, a suburb of Darwin in 1969. Run by Somerville Homes Incorporated, an association established by the United Church in Northern Australian and the Methodist Overseas Mission, the Chapman Road Cottage first took in Aboriginal children moved from Croker Island to the mainland.
The other Somerville Cottage Homes were located in Clarke Crescent, Trower Road and Fox Crescent in Rapid Creek and Henry Street and Luxton Street in Stuart Park. Each took in up to eight children aged between 4 and 16 years under the care of cottage parents. The other Somerville Cottage Homes were located in Clarke Crescent, Trower Road and Fox Crescent in Rapid Creek and Henry Street and Luxton Street in Stuart Park. Each took in up to eight children, both Aboriginal and non Aboriginal aged between 4 and 16 years under the care of cottage parents. A statistical summary dated 30 June 1971 shows that on that day the cottage was accommodating 6 girls aged between 4 and 14 and two boys aged 11.
In an early pamphlet, Chapman Road Cottage was also referred to as Reynella Cottage, carrying on the name of one of the cottages on Croker Island. This name appears to have been used rarely as all of the Cottages were generally referred to by their street addresses.
When Cyclone Tracey hit Darwin in December 1974, all children from Chapman Road Cottage were on holiday with holiday hosts in South Australia. The cottage was damaged and closed from February 1974, but was renovated and ready to be occupied by March 1975. For a few months the Home was used as accommodation for United Church staff before it was re-opened as a family group home in mid 1975. During this period of time, children remained in care in southern states. Once re-occupied, the Chapman Road cottage continued to accommodate children until July 1976. The property was then leased to the government and became the government-run Chapman Road Remand Home, an institution for young male offenders..
Sources used to compile this entry: NTRS 50 Uniting Church of Australia, Northern Synod: Records relating to child care, Somerville Homes, Darwin, 1964-1979.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 30 August 2012, Last modified: 20 January 2014