Signposts
Charles Perkins Hostel (Yurag-Man-Gu), Halls Creek
Years of OperationAt least 1971, possibly earlier. Remains open in 2010 as Yurag-man-taam-purru Hostel.
Role Of FacilityPreviously a residential child care in a hostel setting for school children, Yurag is currently a Departmental Placement and Support Centre.
Sponsoring AgencyDepartmental - predessors to the current Department for Child Protection
Address(es)(Halls Creek is situated approximately 2,850 kilometres north of Perth.)
AliasesYurag-Man-Gu, Yurag-man-taam-purru Hostel
Brief HistoryEducation and employment hostels were operated by or in association with the Native Welfare Department mostly from the mid to late 1960s and early 1970s but came under the administration of the Community Welfare Department from 1972. For notes on a general history of these facilities, see the section on Hostels at the beginning of Signposts.

When surveyed in 1971, it was noted that the Charles Perkins Hostel was owned and managed by the Department of Native Welfare and catered for “90 boys and girls receiving primary level education in the town. It has a staff complement of seven”. (Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey).

Facility operated by the Department for Community Welfare. Provides for primary school children. (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1976).

In 1979, the hostel catered for 48 children from Dunham River, Limbunya, Nicholson, Mable Downs, Alice Downs, Flora Valley, Lamboo and Moola Bulla Stations; from Turkey Creek and Louisa Downs; and from Rosewood Station in the Northern Territory. (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1979).

By 1980, the role of these facilities was becoming more open to community and family involvement: “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.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, June 30th 1980).

In 1982, the Charles Perkins Hostel “provided accommodation for up to 55 school children. The Hostel is a valuable resource for the Department in that children from outlying areas are able to attend the Halls Creek Junior High School without the need to travel to the larger urban centres.” Administered by the Department’s Kimberley Division. (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, June 30th 1982).

In 1983, continuing “the move towards smaller facilities, and a less institutional type of hostel care”, a new cottage was located at the Charles Perkins Hostel. Approximately 30 children lived at the Hostel during 1983. In that year, the Department also reported that they took a “community development” approach to the organisation and management of the hostels and group homes in the Kimberley. “Parents are consulted about their children going to hostels away from home and the advantages and disadvantages are discussed. The parents are becoming more reluctant to send their children away and appropriate education in the community is now becoming an important issue in Fitzroy Crossing, Christmas Creek and One Arm Point. The group homes are only used when there are no relatives able or capable of looking after the children of a mother who may have to go to hospital or Perth. Once again, the responsibility is placed on the community and extended family to deal with their problems.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, June 30th 1983).

“The Charles Perkins Hostel, a Departmental facility, continues to provide a valuable accommodation resource for some 24 children from outlying areas who attend the Halls Creek School.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1984).

In 1987, the Charles Perkins hostel was seen as “being more successful in attracting and maintaining older Aboriginal children – not always an easy feat, due to adolescents becoming unsettled through having to cope with much larger schools than they are accustomed to.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Services, June 30th 1987).

During 1987, the “practices of accepting only senior students, and staffing hostels with Aboriginal staff were introduced” and “eight of the twelve country hostels [were] now managed by Aboriginal personnel.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Services, June 30th 1987).

“Aboriginal students from remote country areas may have the opportunity to obtain primary or secondary education at metropolitan or regional schools. This enables them to obtain a level of education not otherwise available. Some of these students board out at aboriginal educational hostels. They live as close to their own communities as practical, and return to their community at the end of term. Care in aboriginal educational hostels is provided by couples who live-in fulltime. Country facilities have live-in wages staff.” (Submission of the Department for Community Services to the Residential Planning Review Taskforce, March 31st 1987).

By 1995, it was reported that the Charles Perkins Hostel was no longer an education and employment hostel and had “become more closely aligned with the care and protection programme area. These hostels provide short to medium term accommodation primarily for children for whom fostering is not an immediate option.” The Charles Perkins Hostel was described as “an extensive campus in the centre of Halls Creek”, consisting of “two transportable, ten bed cottages and older style dormitory accommodation which is not used for residential purposes.” Various community groups sublet ancillary buildings on the Hostel grounds, and the rear portion of the land was being purchased by Homeswest for a Safe House. Admissions, of which there were 60 during 1994 (representing 15 children admitted for each school term from primary to high school age), related mainly “to family support and protection and care needs” and were “frequently crisis related”, reflecting “the entrenched alcohol and violence problems in communities around Halls Creek.” The hostel had two vehicles available for use – a 4WD Personnel Carrier and a Magna Sedan. (OHAC Cost Project, Department for Community Services, June 1995).

Yurag is currently (2010) a Placement and Support Centre run by the Department.
RecordsDepartmental records for children placed by the Department of Community Welfare or the Department of Native Welfare may exist.
Additionally, the Department's Aboriginal Index and the guide, “Looking West”, should be consulted for information.
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
Email: foi@cpfs.wa.gov.au
Website: www.childprotection.wa.gov.au
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