Catherine House, Broome
Years of Operation1975 – remains open in 2010 as a Placement and Support Centre
Sponsoring AgencyCatherine House Incorporated (Independent Management Committee) / Departmental - predessors to the current Department for Child Protection
Brief HistoryGroup Homes could be developed relatively inexpensively, so they were able to be located within country towns close to the child’s home of origin, which was seen to be particularly advantageous. “The involvement and access to parents by these placements is often a major step in the rehabilitation of a family group.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, June 30th 1979). For notes on a general history of these facilities, see the section on Group Homes at the beginning of Signposts.

An unreferenced Departmental file relating to Reserve No. 33223, which was provided by the Department for Community Development for Signposts research project indicates that in “1974, Sister Michael of The Aboriginal Girls Hostel, Broome [possibly the Holy Child Orphanage, see entry]. Sought a ‘Grant-in-Aid’ to assist in the establishment of a cottage type home. The Department decided to fully finance the land and building which are to remain the property of the Minister. Managed under contract.”

Catherine House was formally opened on December 19, 1975 by Minister for Community Welfare. “The need for a short term child care facility was stressed mainly through the efforts of Sister Michael.

A committee was formed to represent the citizens of Broome to manage a child care facility. Negotiations between the Department and the committee led to the establishment of Catherine House as a contract Group Home. There is a formal agreement between both parties setting out the Department's financial and social support for the child care aspect and the responsibilities of the committee, which includes promoting community involvement.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1976).

Mission Grant in Aid 1975 for the acquisition of land and construction; in 1982 for a shed, equipment and furnishings.

The WELSTAT (welfare statistics) Collection of 1979 notes Catherine House as a ‘scattered group home’ (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.”) operated by the Department.

Departmental files from 1984 indicate that Catherine House provided short term accommodation (plus one emergency bed) for up to eight pre-primary to lower primary school age Aboriginal children, generally with medical problems. Six children, mainly non-Wards, were resident at reporting date in 1984.

Received a capital grant of $89,930 from the Department in 1991.

It is now (2010) run by the Department as a Placement and Support Centre.
RecordsCase records for young people placed by the Department may reside with the Department for Child Protection.
AccessWhile access to records is restricted to protect the privacy of individuals, people are encouraged to enquire.
Contact DetailsFreedom of Information
Department for Child Protection and Family Support
PO Box 6334, East Perth WA 6892
Telephone: (08) 9222 2555
Facsimile: (08) 9222 2776
Country free call: 1800 000 277