Bentley House
Years of OperationOpened around 1971
Role Of FacilityResidential child care for school children in a hostel setting.
Sponsoring AgencyDepartmental - predessor to the current Department for Child Protection
AliasesBentley 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.

Some administrative information about Bentley House is given by Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey:

“It was decided [by the Department of Native Welfare] to purchase this property in December 1970, and the transfer was registered in January, 1971. In March 1971, well after the commencement of the school year, the children who would have lived there had been billeted out in private board, and no work had been started on renovations to the hostel…The Anglican Church which had been ‘chosen’ to run this hostel expressed considerable dissatisfaction at the delays. They noted that due to a breakdown in communication, those boarding the proposed residents had been told they would receive a boarding allowance, but had not been told that this would be paid retrospectively each quarter.” [This suggests that the first residents of Bentley House may possibly have records with the Anglican Church – see entry for Anglicare. At this time, it is possible that the Anglican agency involved was the South West Anglican Mission].

The WELSTAT (welfare statistics) Collection of 1979 notes Bentley Hostel 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.”).

At 1 October 1994, there were 8 girls aged 15-17 years resident at Bentley House; total admissions during that year had numbered 11; and the length of stay ranged from 1 week to more than 6 months. (OHAC Cost Project, Department for Community Services, June 1995).

The facility now (2010) forms part of the Aboriginal Student Accommodation Service program run by the Department.
RecordsDepartmental records for children placed by the Department of Community Welfare or the Department of Native Welfare may exist. Of particular interest, if able to be located, are the Department of Native Welfare “Resident Details Information Sheet (1) Hostel and Private Board Placement ” and “Resident Details Information Sheet (2) Hostel and Private Board Placement”.
Additionally, the Department for Community Development’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 of Communities
Locked Bag 5000, Fremantle WA 6959
Telephone: (08) 6217 6888
Country free call: 1800 176 888