Kalumburu Mission (also known as Drysdale River Mission until around 1950) provided dormitory style residential care for Aboriginal boys and girls aged from infancy to around 16 years of age. Kalumburu began as an 'outstation' of the Drysdale River Mission in 1932 and became the main 'Mission Station' in 1937. Kalumburu Mission was managed by the Benedictine Community of New Norcia until it was handed over to the Catholic Diocese of Broome in 1981, and ceased to house children in 1982.
Kalumburu Mission (1931-1982) and Drysdale River Mission (1908 - 1937) were both managed by the Benedictine Community on different, but nearby sites. By 1937, Kalumburu Mission took over from Drysdale River Mission as the main site, and was referred to as Drysdale River Mission in government reports until 1951.
Six people were killed during a Japanese air raid on the Kalumburu Mission during World War Two, including a mother and four children and the manager of the mission.
Kalumburu Mission ceased its role in out of home care in 1982 when it became a parish of the Catholic Diocese of Broome. In 2014 it continues as an historical and tourist site.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Kalumburu’s struggle for a better future - 'The 7:30 Report' TV program, April 2009 - Video and Transcript separate links; 'Bishop Responds' - Radio Interview, April 2009; ‘Kimberley community commemorates anniversary of WW2 deaths’, 27 September 2013', ABC Online, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.abc.net.au; Barry, David, 'New Norcia', in Gregory, Jenny and Jan Gothard [editors] (eds), Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia, University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, W.A., 2009; Choo, Christine, Mission girls : Aboriginal women on Catholic missions in the Kimberley, Western Australia, 1900-1950, University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, Western Australia, 2001. pp.64-66.; Kalumburu Mission, c1980 [Image], Date: c. 1980 Creator: Woldendorp, Richard; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'p.67', 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; 'Western Australia Protectors Reports 1899-1959', in To Remove and Protect: Aboriginal Lives Under Control [website], Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, National Library of Australia, http://aiatsis.gov.au/collections/collections-online/digitised-collections/remove-and-protect/western-australia. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Native Affairs 1945, p.16; Annual Report of the Commissioner of Native Affairs 1950, p.44; Annual Report of the Commissioner of Native Affairs 1951, p.45..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 8 January 2019