Cooinda House, Mt Lawley
Years of Operation1966 - remains open in 2010
Role Of FacilityResidential child care for schoolgirls in a hostel type setting
Sponsoring AgencyOriginally controlled by the Methodist Homes for Children [see entry] on behalf of the Department of Native Welfare.
Mofflyn / Sister Kate’s Child and Family Services [subsequently, Manguri] until 31.12.1987, when it was handed over to the Department.
Other facilities in
Signposts that are
related to the
Sponsoring Agency
See the entry “Uniting Church” in the earlier section of Signposts, “List of Facilities”
Address(es)24 Queen’s Crescent, Mt Lawley
AliasesCooinda Education and Employment Hostel. It is also possible that this facility was once known as Rangeview, also an Education and Employment Hostel run by the Department in Queens Crescent, Mt Lawley (1973-74).
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 prior to 1972, see the section on Hostels at the beginning of Signposts.

By the late 1950’s, the Department of Native Welfare had decided that it was too costly to provide hostel accommodation for Indigenous schoolchildren, who could be boarded privately. “The Department’s main concern henceforth was with locating employment for young Aborigines migrating to the city and, wherever possible, placing them in private board, or independent institutions such as the Y.W.C.A. …Private accommodation facilities were rapidly exhausted, and consideration was once more given to the purchase of hostels by the Department itself, to be operated along the lines of [see entries] Katukutu and McDonald House (i.e. with an independent controlling authority). The first hostel to be acquired under this new trend was ‘Cooinda’, a hostel for working girls located a block away from Katukutu in Mount Lawley. The hostel was opened in 1966, and staffed by a houseparent couple appointed by the Methodist Homes for Children.” Cooinda was offered to the Methodist agency as part of a Government policy to equitably distribute subsidised residential care across the religious denominations. Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey.

“The Minister for Native Welfare met with a deputation from the Methodist Church…, and the notion of a metropolitan hostel to be controlled by the Church was discussed. The Methodist Homes for Children presented a formal proposal in June of 1965, and the present [1971] site at Cooinda was inspected and approved in October of the same year. Some delay was experienced in negotiating the final arrangement and in carrying out the necessary structural alternations to the building, which was not officially transferred until January, 1966. The hostel was specifically assigned to the Church as an accommodation centre for working girls. The Department [of Native Welfare] was to be responsible for placement and location of employment for residents.” Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey.

At June 30, 1975 there were 9 children in residence (5 Wards and 5 private admissions). At this time, Cooinda provided generally longer term care for girls aged 14-17 years, but did take girls for shorter periods if necessary. Sibling groups were accommodated. Cooinda had a garden, play area, one pet, a range of sporting equipment and a basketball court. There were 5 bedrooms – 3 doubles and 2 which could sleep three or more girls; a lounge room; kitchen/dining; dining room; 1 bathroom and 1 toilet; a verandah and 3 staff bedrooms and separate staff amenities; a pool or table tennis table; TV, piano; radio or radiogram, library, books and toys were available. Girls took their lunch to school, to which they walked or caught a bus. Homework was completed after tea. The average length of stay was 1.26 years. Holiday placements were actively sought for the children. Recreational activities included sporting clubs, modelling courses and other activities arranged by cottage parents. The building was 30 years old in 1975 and was described as an ‘old’ residence, of brick construction and fitting in well with surrounding premises. (Department of Child Welfare Submission to the Committee of Enquiry into Residential Child Care, July 1976).

Departmental administration files indicate that, at 24 December 1976, there were 9 young people resident at Cooinda – 5 of whom were Aboriginal Secondary Grant recipients; one of whom was an Aboriginal Study Grant recipient; 2 Wards; and one resident who was not a Ward, and whose board was paid privately.

The WELSTAT (welfare statistics) Collection of 1979 notes Cooinda 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.”) that was operated by an agency other than the Department.

It appears from Departmental records that Cooinda was not being funded through the Consultative Committee on Residential Child Care in 1982.

Facility operated by Mofflyn under a formal agreement with the Department of Community Welfare, providing for 10 secondary school children and girls in employment. In 1984, the supervision of Cooinda transferred from Mofflyn to Sister Kate’s Child and Family Services (subsequently known as Manguri, see entry) until 1987/88, when the Department took over the management.

“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. In the metropolitan areas numbers are limited to approximately ten to twelve secondary students per hostel, with no primary aged students. Care in aboriginal educational hostels is provided by couples who live-in fulltime. In the metropolitan area the married couple receive an honorarium and the hostel father maintains outside employment.” (Submission of the Department for Community Services to the Residential Planning Review Taskforce, March 31st 1987).

It was deemed necessary to continue to provide hostel services in Perth as there was “still a demand from country Aboriginal students at the senior secondary school level to find accommodation in Perth.” The emphasis in the Perth hostels was on “assisting students to reach their academic potential. They are helped to move on to tertiary courses and independent living situations. Six of these seven facilities are staff with Aboriginal house parents. Close contact with students’ parents enables them to be involved in decision making regarding choice of schools and hostels. A major issue is still that of student adjustment from country to urban school and living situations.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Services, June 30th 1988).

At 1 October 1994, there were 10 girls aged 15-18+ years resident at Cooinda; total admissions during that year had numbered 16; and the length of stay ranged from 1 week to more than 6 months. (OHAC Cost Project, Department for Community Services, June 1995).

In 2004, the facility formed part of the Department's Aboriginal Student Accommodation Services program.

In addition to the entries mentioned above, the Methodist Church and Mofflyn have their own entries in Signposts, and these should be consulted as they give more information about the approach taken.
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 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 DetailsFor information about the Methodist Homes involvement in Cooinda:
UnitingCare West
Central Office
16 Sunbury Road

Postal Address:
GPO Box B74

Telephone: 1300 663 298 (08) 9355 9116
Facsimile: 1300 663 528


Synod of Western Australia
UCA Archives Research Centre
1st Floor 10 Pier Street, Perth WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9221 6911
Facsimile: (08) 9221 6863

For Departmental records:
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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