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Western Australia - Organisation

Nabberu Hostel (1971? - 1988)

Children's Home, Government-run, Home and Hostel

Nabberu Hostel at Leonora was a government-run residential facility for primary-school aged children. It was operating by 1971, when it housed 66 boys and girls attending the local primary school, some of whom had parents were working on remote stations. In 1988, Nabberu was transferred from the Department of Community Services to the Aboriginal Lands Trust.


Nabberu Hostel was located in Leonora as a government-run residential facility for primary-school aged children. It is unclear exactly when Nabberu opened, but it was definitely operating by 1971 and there were 66 boys and girls living there, attending the local primary school. At that time, it was run by the Department of Native Welfare (DNW).

In 1972, the child welfare responsibilities of the DNW were transferred to the Department for Community Welfare (DCW). The annual report of the DCW in 1976 says that Nabberu housed children whose parents were working on isolated stations and the 1977 report says that Nabberu could accommodate 20 children, and had been full all year. The DCW reported there had been 45 children at Nabberu during the 1979 year. The children had come from Yakabindi, Darlow and Nambi Stations, and the Agnew, Yundamindra and Tamoola areas.

The DCW's annual report in 1980 gave an insight into attempts to improve family involvement in the life of the hostel:

The function of the Department hostel in caring for aboriginal children so that they may have regular schooling, is expanding to provide a back-up service for families who may wish to use the facility to provide an occasional meal, a laundry service and provide homework supervision. This is the need that some families have in making the transition into homes of their own in the local township. Greater efforts are also being made to provide children and parents with opportunities to spend more time together by providing camping facilities when the parents come to town. Signposts, 2004, p.365.

In 1982, responsibility for Nabberu was transferred to the Field Services Division of the DCW. It continued as a departmental residential unit until the 1987/1988 year, when it was transferred from the Department for Community Services to the Aboriginal Lands Trust.


1971? - 1988?
Location - Nabberu Hostel provided accommodation at Leonora. Location: Leonora



  • Wilson, Katrin and Michael V. Robinson., Aboriginal Hostels in Perth : A Comparative Survey, Department of Native Welfare, [Perth, W.A.], 1971. Details

Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.365-366', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004,

Prepared by: Debra Rosser