Signposts
Marribank, Katanning
Years of Operation1915 to 1922 as a government settlement known as Carrolup; 1940 to 1952 as a farm training school for Aboriginal boys.
From 1952 to December 1988 as Marribank.
Role Of FacilityResidential / training school
Sponsoring AgencyBaptist Union [see separate entry, and see also entries for Katukutu and Kyewong, as children and staff from Marribank were sometimes resident there]. In 1982, Departmental administrative files show the Administrative Body for Marribank as the Baptist Union of WA Inc.
Other facilities in
Signposts that are
related to the
Sponsoring Agency
See the entry “Baptist Union” in the earlier section of Signposts, “Non-Government Agencies and their Subsidiary Institutions”
Address(es)30 kilometres north-west of Katanning. Marribank also had a scatter cottage (or group home) at Oxley Road in Katanning.
AliasesCarrolup / Marribank Family Services
Brief HistoryMarribank is the successor to the Government “native settlement”, Carrolup, as reported by the Bringing Them Home report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (at www.humanrights.gov.au/bth/ ). Carrolup was reclassified from a mission to a native settlement in 1915.
The Department for Child Protection’s guide to Aboriginal Records, Looking West states that “Carrolup was closed in 1922 and all residents were transferred to Moore River Native Settlement [see entry for Mogumber]. Carrolup was reopened in 1940 as a farm training school for Aboriginal boys. In 1952 it was handed over to the Baptist Church and became known as Marribank.”

For information about Baptist Union governance see entry for Baptist Union elsewhere in Signposts.

In a contemporary overview recorded in 1971, Marribank was described as having “a capacity of 55 children (mostly State Wards) attending Katanning Primary and Katanning Senior High Schools.” Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey.

Marribank commenced operations as an “aboriginal mission which came to be mainly involved in residential child care” and gradually evolved into a “community development model of service.” (Consultative Committee on Residential Child Care, 1982).

The WELSTAT (welfare statistics) Collection of 1979 notes “Marribank Cottage 1-2” 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, “Marribank Cottage 1-6” were identified as Clustered Group Homes (ie those which adjoin others). These would refer, respectively, to Marribank’s group home in the Katanning township and the Marribank campus, out of town.

Demonstrating the change in focus that had evolved at Marribank by the early 1980’s, the Department reported in 1983 that “Marribank Mission offers a most valuable Family Support Programme to homeless and disadvantaged Aboriginal families. With the close support of the Department, Marribank provides housing where Aboriginal families may be re-united and supported, and in due course move on to accommodation in the community.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1983).

In 1984, the Annual Report noted that Marribank “continued to develop its Family Support Programme. Not only providing housing for disadvantaged and homeless Aboriginal families, but more changing their emphasis of working with the family as a unit rather than the child alone. The Department in supporting Marribank’s initiative has provided a part-time salary for a Marribank Homemaker. Katanning Officers also support and work with the Marribank staff as requested. Marribank has also, in keeping with its emphasis of Family Support, changed the function of their Group Home located in Katanning, to short term emergency care. This Group Home can now provide care for children at a time when parents are temporarily unable to do so.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1984).

The Group Home set up “at DCS request” was not “used extensively” in 1984/85, so the need for emergency care in the area was being questioned.

In 1985, the CCRCC outlined the admission criteria and process under which Marribank operated: People seeking admission to Marribank “have to be homeless or evicted, consequently this is a very vulnerable group. People who can cope on the outside are not accepted. Most of the people are self-referred, but Marribank has a Board of Aboriginals…who screen and interview people before they are accepted. The Board limits the number of people in the houses, including visitors. Visitors must report to Mr Nunn and they are allowed to stay for a maximum of two days. Unemployed children are not permitted to live at Marribank, unless they do some courses to keep them occupied.” (Report on the Activities of the Consultative Committee in 1984/85, Consultative Committee on Residential Child Care November 1985).

In 1986, Marribank continued to consolidate its move towards being a family support-community development facility. “The core focus continues to be on seriously dislocated families who are experiencing multiple difficulties, in areas such as housing, employment, alcoholism, child caring, school adjustment and physical violence. Membership of the Marribank community with participation in a range of programmes is one branch of the service. Outreach to nearby towns to provide supports and services to Aboriginal families is the other. Linking both aspects is a strong cultural and community development theme. Art work – including pottery, painting and screen printing is a flourishing activity, which has an income producing side-benefit.” (Report on the Activities of the Consultative Committee in 1985/86, Consultative Committee on Residential Child Care October 1986).
An education officer was appointed in 1986.

In 1987 the CCRCC mapped the developments in residential services at the type of programs that were provided for children in the care ofthe agency:
1. Major Developments in the Residential Models of Care
- Professional staff development
- In-service training for Cottage Parents
2. Range of Programs Provided
- Education centre program
- Work therapy
- Role model relationships
- Museum/tourist centre
(Report on the Activities of the Consultative Committee in 1986/87, Consultative Committee on Residential Child Care November 1987).

Funding ceased on 30.12.1988 and Marribank closed as a residential facility in January 1989.
A more detailed chronology of major events, admissions and discharges is included in Table 25.
The Baptist Union has its own entry in Signposts, and this should be consulted as it gives more information about the approach taken.
RecordsThe Department for Child Protection should be contacted for assistance in locating client files and other information.
According to the The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies website www.aiatsis.gov.au , 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 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

Baptist Union Records:
PO Box 57, Burswood WA 6100
Telephone: (08) 6313 6300
Email: admin@baptistwa.asn.au
Web: www.baptistwa.asn.au

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
email: sro@sro.wa.gov.au
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