Carnarvon Mission (Ingada Village)
Years of Operation1945 – 1986
The Australian Churches of Christ Indigenous Ministries (ACCIM) advises that State Government subsidised care ceased in 1984 and the only children remaining until the centre closed in 1986 were those in receipt of Commonwealth grants.
Role Of FacilityThe Australian Churches of Christ Indigenous Ministries (ACCIM) reports that Carnarvon Mission was established to provide care for a growing number of Aboriginal children in emergency situations, or by request from parents or Government agencies.
Sponsoring AgencyThe Australian Churches of Christ Indigenous Ministries (ACCIM) [see entry], which was formerly called the Churches of Christ Federal Aborigines Mission Board Inc (CCFAMBI).
Other facilities in
Signposts that are
related to the
Sponsoring Agency
See the entry “Australian Churches of Christ Indigenour Ministries” in the earlier section of Signposts, “Non-Government Agencies and their Subsidiary Institutions”
Address(es)Bibbawarra Bore Road, Carnarvon.
611 miles from Perth.
AliasesThe name changed to Ingada Village, the Aboriginal name for the area, around 1975.
Brief HistoryThe Australian Churches of Christ Indigenous Ministries (ACCIM) has provided the following historical information:

The childcare function started as short term emergency care by a mssionary family living in the Carnarvon township, for children whose mothers were hospitalised and other emergency situations. From the beginning the children were given school lessons. As the demand to care for children increased, there was need for a more permanent site. Land was purchased freehold by the CCFAMBI (now ACCIM) and the facility was developed to meet the increasing requests from many parents working on surrounding stations, wanting their children to be cared for at Carnarvon Mission to enable them to get an education, as well as requests from Government Agencies. Requests from parents for this purpose continued until the childcare was closed in 1984.

In 1947 the Mission children attended the local primary school but were excluded from 1948, so a school was built at the Mission with teachers supplied by the Education Department. After 8 years, sixteen of the older children in grades 5 to 7 were able to go to school in the town. By 1962 all the children went into town for schooling.

In 1968, a hostel for teenagers was built in the town; it was established to provide them with an opportunity to live in a town environment while undertaking secondary education or because of work. This hostel [the Carnarvon Hostel, see entry] was part of the Carnarvon Mission facility.
1973 saw the beginnings of establishing hostels in the town to enable children to live in the town environment. Four such hostels operated in Carnarvon as part of the Carnarvon Mission facility. This period also saw the beginnings of renovations to the homes at the Mission to develop Cottage Homes for the children.
1974/75 saw the completion of the transition to Cottage Homes at the Mission and the community dining room was closed.
In later years teenagers were placed at Carnarvon Mission by the Commonwealth Department of Education.

[The facility has also had a significant role in the care of elderly Indigenous people which also provided extended family connections to most of the children in care.] In the 1960s Carnarvon Mission established buildings near the original school building where older Aboriginal people were to live as part of the Mission population. In 1972 Pensioner flats were built on the site. In 1984 a purpose built, 15-bed Aged Care Hostel was built for the ongoing care of the elderly, the first of its type in Australia. In 2000 and 2003 it received Accreditation from the Commonwealth Government Aged Care Standards Agency.

When surveyed in 1971, it was noted that Carnarvon Mission was “controlled by the Church of Christ Mission Board…catering for 102 students attending centres at Carnarvon”. (Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey).

The Annual Reports of the Department for Community Welfare record that Ingada received Mission Grants in Aid 1973 for a basketball court with lighting; in 1974 to convert the senior boys' section; in 1977 for a scatter cottage, renovations/alterations to existing facility and furnishings; in 1978 for renovations; in 1980 for a maintenance release at 35 Hubble Street and electrical rewiring; in 1981 for a lock-up shed.

As at 1/10/1976: 83 resident Aboriginal boys and girls aged 5-16 years. 13 homes in Ingada Village and another three in Carnarvon, with a possible bed capacity overall of 124.

The WELSTAT (welfare statistics) Collection of 1979 notes “Ingad[a] Village 1-5” as ‘scattered group homes’ (ie. “a family group home whose grounds do not adjoin those of another family group home, or other residential child care establishment, operated by the same enterprise.”) that was operated by an agency other than the Department. At the same time, Welstat applied to “Ingad[a] Village Cottage 1-12” the definition of Clustered Group Home, or group homes which adjoin others, to other facilities managed by the organisation.

In 1980: Purpose of facility was to provide accommodation where children could attend school. 12 cottages for children at Ingada Village and 4 scatter cottages in Carnarvon.
From 1984, the older people who had been living on the property were housed in an aged care hostel on the site.

An account of the Carnarvon Mission, “Carnarvon: Interaction of Two Cultures” by Betty Sewell, has been published by the author. Another source of information was provided by Dr David Hammer, pioneer missionary at Carnarvon, from his PhD thesis.

In addition to the entries mentioned above, the Australian Churches of Christ Indigenous Ministries has its own entry in Signposts, and this should be consulted as it gives more information about the extent of involvement in residential child care.

A limited chronology of major events, admissions and discharges is included in Table 6.
RecordsDepartmental records for children placed by the Department of Community Welfare or the Department of Native Welfare may exist.
Additionally, the Department for Child Protection’s Aboriginal Index should be consulted for information.

Thousands of photos taken at the Churches of Christ Mission centres have been preserved, and identified where possible. In time, these will be available from ACCIM.

According to the The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies website , the State Records Office in Western Australia “holds extensive records relating to missions.” Contact details are below.
AccessWhile access to records is restricted to protect the privacy of individuals, people are encouraged to enquire.
Contact DetailsFor Photographs:
Australian Churches of Christ Indigenous Ministries
Box 1199, Wangara WA 6947.
Telephone: (08) 9309 3922

For Personal Record Cards:
Freedom of Information
Department for Child Protection
PO Box 6334, East Perth WA 6892
Telephone: (08) 9222 2555
Facsimile: (08) 9222 2776
Country free call: 1800 000 277

For general information relating to missions:
State Records Office, Alexander Library Building
James St West Entrance
Perth WA 6000.
Search Centre: GroundFloor Mon-Fri:9.30am-4.30pm
Telephone: (08) 9427 3360
Facsimile: (08) 9427 3368