Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
Western Australia - Organisation

Pallottine Mission, Tardun (1948 - 2004)

  • Girls' Dormitory, Pallottine Mission

    Girls' Dormitory, Pallottine Mission, 1948

Catholic, Home, Mission and School
Alternative Names
  • Pallottine Mission Geraldton (also known as)
  • Pallottine Mission School, Tardun (also known as)
  • Tardun Geraldton (also known as)
  • Tardun Hostel (also known as)
  • Wandalgu Hostel (also known as, 1995 - 2004)

The Pallottine Mission, Tardun, run by The Pallottines, opened a boarding school in 1948, before establishing a hostel in 1960 to accommodate boys and girls in dormitories who went to school at the mission. In the 1960s the hostel was completely rebuilt to provide cottage-style care with house parents. In 1995, the Pallottine Mission, Tardun changed its name to Wandalgu Hostel.


The Pallottine Mission, Tardun first opened as a boarding school in 1948 with separate dormitories for boys and girls. Pallottine Fathers and Brothers looked after the boys' dormitory, while the girls' dormitory was run by the Presentation Sisters from 1948 to February 1949, Dominican Sisters from 1949 to 1951 and then the Schoenstatt Sisters from 1951 to 1960.

The Mission's boarding school changed to a hostel when the Government took over the running of the Mission's Primary School in 1960. From 1960, the girls' dormitory was staffed by 'lay missionaries' and the Pallottine Fathers and Brothers continued to run the boys' dormitory. The head of the Department, the Commissioner of Native Welfare, was the legal guardian of children at the Mission until 1963.

During the mid-to-late 1960s the hostel was completely rebuilt, moving away from dormitory-style accommodation to separate buildings for different groups of children. There were 'houses' for junior boys, senior boys, agriculture school boys, junior girls and senior girls. Each building had its own house parents. The senior children travelled to the Morawa Junior High School by the hostel bus.

The Pallottine website states: "From 1968 to 1980 the Government ran an Agricultural School on the Pallottine property whilst the Mission accommodated and looked after the students in out-of-school time and the Brothers on the Farm provided work experience for them." There was room for 24 boys to be enrolled at one time, many children placed at the Agricultural School were wards of the State.

When it was surveyed by Wilson and Robinson in 1971, (Signposts 2004, p.409) there were 79 primary school children, 8 high school children and 20 agricultural school students living at Tardun. Some of the children were transferred to the Pallottine Centre at Rossmoyne for further education. Reports from child welfare authorities in 1979 indicate that children were referred to Tardun until it closed. These may be the children referred to in the State Solicitor's Office in Western Australia (Guide to Institutions Attended by Aboriginal People in Western Australia 2005, p.132) which says that children who were deemed to be 'neglected' or 'deprived' were also admitted to the Mission, along with children who were boarding students.

By 1978, the Mission at Tardun had a swimming pool, church and recreation hall. In 1982, the Senior Girls' House was extended to include single bedrooms, new toilets and showers, a lounge room and small kitchen and the Agriculture School Boys' House was converted to accommodate high school boys. In 1984, the Junior High School Girls' House was also renovated, with a large bedroom being converted into smaller rooms and a small kitchen installed.

An Aboriginal Parents' Council was appointed, and Aboriginal staff were sought to help run the hostel from 1984, with school instruction given in Wajarri language.

In 1995 The Pallottine Mission, Tardun was renamed Wandalgu Hostel.

Wandalgu Hostel closed in December 2004.


1948 - 2004
Location - Pallottine Mission was located at Tardun. Location: Tardun

Related Concepts

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations



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


Online Resources


Girls' Dormitory, Pallottine Mission
Girls' Dormitory, Pallottine Mission


Sources used to compile this entry: 'p.409.', To Remove and Protect: Aboriginal Lives Under Control [website], 2010,; Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.409-410', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004,; Longworth, Alison, Was it worthwhile?, An historical analysis of five women missionaries and their encounters with the Nyungar people of south-west Australia, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, 2005, pp.298-299.; Pallottine History - Pallottine Mission School,; Pallottine History - The making of Wandalgu Hostel,; Society of the Catholic Apostolates (Pallottines), Wandalgu. Also available at; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'p.132', Guide to Institutions Attended by Aboriginal People in Western Australia, Government of Western Australia, 2005,; Correspondence with Pallottine Archivist, December 2018, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser