Kalgoorlie Hostel was established in 1976 as a government-run employment hostel for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal female teenagers of working age. Over the years, it also accommodated young people passing through Kalgoorlie and young Aboriginal women who came in from outback communities, or from camps near goldfields towns. Young women in family crisis were also accommodated, as were those who had been referred through the youth justice system. The hostel had closed by around 1993 and the building was then used as the Kalgoorlie Group Home, Graeme Street.
The Kalgoorlie Hostel, which was purpose-built in 1976, has had a number of different names over the years, but government reports (Signposts, 2004, pp253-.255) indicate that its basic function was constant - to provide accommodation for young women of working age. Many of the hostel residents would have been Aboriginal teenagers, and the annual reports of child welfare authorities over the years show that they came from all over the goldfields and beyond. In 1979, for example, the hostel accommodated fourteen 'girls in employment who came from the Mount Margaret Mission, and the Esperance, Laverton, Leonora and Norseman areas.' The Mount Margaret Mission had closed by the time this report was written, but it remained a township.
Kalgoorlie Hostel, which was also known as the Kalgoorlie Education and Employment Hostel, the Working Girls' Hostel and the Graeme Street Hostel, was one of three facilities run by the Department for Community Welfare (DCW) in 1976. The others were: Nindeebai, for high school children; and the Millen Street Hostel, for working-age boys. The DCW reported (Signposts, p.254) in 1979 that there was close cooperation between staff at the three hostels, which they said benefited the residents.
In 1981, the DCW (Signposts, p.254) wrote that it wanted to provide 'as many options as possible' for the young women who came in from what authorities deemed 'fragmented families in fringe dwelling communities'. Staff at the hostels were reportedly trying to provide 'fuller programmes' to assist this goal.
By 1984, the hostel also admitted young women who were on remand or in 'after-care' programs following their release from a detention centre. Young people experiencing 'family breakdowns' or 'crises' were also admitted through the 1980s.
By 1993, the Kalgoorlie Hostel (which by that time seems to have been known as the Graeme Street Hostel), had closed. The Kalgoorlie Group Home, Graeme Street opened in the 1993-1994 year.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.254-256', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, https://signposts.communities.wa.gov.au//pdf/pdf.aspx; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'p.94', Guide to Institutions Attended by Aboriginal People in Western Australia, Government of Western Australia, 2005, http://web.archive.org/web/20140126131607/http://www.dpc.wa.gov.au/lantu/MediaPublications/Documents/Guide-to-Institutions-attended-by-Aboriginal-people-in-WA-2005.pdf.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 22 July 2014