Warramia Group Home, in Badgingarra, was a government-run Home established in 1972 on a farming property. It provided short-term accommodation for up to eight primary-school age children, with a cottage mother. From 1972, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal boys from the Hillston detention centre were sent to work on the farm at Warramia and from 1974 to 1982, Warramia was an 'annexe' of Hillston. In 1993, Warramia was transferred to the Ministry of Justice as a training farm for young people in the juvenile justice system. Warramia Group Home closed around 2004.
Government reports (Signposts 2004, pp.557-558) show that Warramia Group Home was established on a 1,500 hectare farm property that had been donated to child welfare authorities. In 1972, the Department for Community Welfare (DCW) intended that Warramia would house up to eight primary-school children in a family-type environment with a cottage mother. The children who would be placed at Warramia were described in the DCW's annual report in 1974 (Signposts p.557) as children 'who need a relaxed, stabilising experience prior to longer-term placement'.
During this period Warramia was also used by the DCW as a place where boys at the Hillston detention centre could be sent to learn farm skills. By 1974, the DCW saw greater value in Warramia being an 'annexe' of Hillston that being a group home for younger children.
In 1980 (Signposts p.557), the DCW outlined the relationships between Warramia and Hillston: 'Prior to discharge to farm employment selected boys at Hillston gain experience on the Department's 1500 hectare property at Badgingarra. Hillston services the property and benefits with supplies of meat and fodder'.
By 1981, authorities were becoming concerned about the number of boys running away from Warramia. Referrals from Hillston either stopped or slowed by 1982. It is unclear what purpose Warramia served between 1982 and 1989, when it was reported by the Department for Community Services (Signposts p.558), that Warramia offered a five-week program 'during the normal farming cycles and during the summer holidays. Children, drawn mainly from country areas, were taught farm and personal development skills'.
In 1993, Warramia was transferred to the Ministry of Justice. It continued as a farm school for young people involved in the youth justice system and was closed around 2004.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.558-559', 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 Records Office of Western Australia, Wards - Director's Approval to Transfer from one Institution to Another and Amend Training, Reference Code AU WA S1099- cons2607 A0191 V4 (p.180) - page numbers refer to PDF page number in digital file held by the Department of Communities (Child Protection and Family Support) in 2017.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 22 November 2018