Bidyadanga (La Grange Mission),
Years of Operation1956 - 1981
Role Of FacilityResidential child care for primary school age girls and boys of Indigenous backgrounds..
Sponsoring AgencyCatholic Diocese of Broome

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSI) website shows La Grange Mission’s governing agencies as the Roman Catholic Church, specifically the Pious Society of Missions and the Pallottines. The Catholic Encyclopaedia website ( ) indicates that the Pallottines and the Pious Society of Missions are one and the same Order. For information about Pallotine governance see entry for Pallottine Training Centre Rossmoyne in Signposts.

“A Piece of the Story”, the National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families, records La Grange as being a government depot until 1956. There is thus a discrepancy between the two sources as to the date of commencement, which AIATSI records as being from 1924.
Other facilities in
Signposts that are
related to the
Sponsoring Agency
See the entries “Catholic Diocese of Broome” and “Pallottines” in the earlier section of Signposts, “Non-Government Agencies and their Subsidiary Institutions”
Address(es)Approximately 200 kilometres south of Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
AliasesLa Grange Mission
Brief History“A Piece of the Story”, the National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families reports that “In 1956 La Grange Mission, which had been a government rations depot, was transferred to the Catholic Church. Situated approximately two hundred kilometres south of Broome, it was operated by the Diocese of Broome and staffed by the Priests and Brothers of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines) with additional assistance provided by the Lay Missionaries.”
For more information about the Pallottines, see entry for Pallottine Centre, Riverton in this document.

Annual Reports of the Department note Mission Grant in Aid 1974 for a single boys hostel; in 1975 for additional costs to the recreational centre funded in 1973/74; in 1977 for the water supply; in 1981 for a mortuary refrigerator. Manager 1988: Fr Kevin McKelson. Now an Aboriginal Community.

Bidyadanga is not used by the Department as a placement service, but children may be placed with foster parents who live in that community. For example, when the Welstat (national welfare statistical collection) definitions were applied in 1979, there were a range of other facilities, operated either by the Department or non-Government agencies, which were defined as “Other Placements” and La Grange was one of these.

In the Annual Report of 1981, Departmental staff at Broome were noted as providing “welfare services to the communities at One Arm Point, Beagle Bay, Lombardina and La Grange, which are visited regularly. The extension of the Aboriginal Communities Act to One Arm Point and the La Grange community, has enabled these communities to play a role in controlling misbehaviour and participating in the Children’s Courts which have been established.”
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.
The Pallottines may be a good source of information about records.
Church related documents and correspondence are held by the catholic Diocese of Broome.
According to the The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies website , the State Records Office in Western Australia “holds extensive records relating to missions”, including Bidyadanga, at its site , the earliest of which is dated 1899 (search under La Grange).
AccessWhile access to records is restricted to protect the privacy of individuals, people are encouraged to enquire.
Contact DetailsFor information about personal records:
Freedom of Information
Department of Communities
Locked Bag 5000, Fremantle WA 6959
Telephone: (08) 6217 6888
Country free call: 1800 176 888

The Archivist, Pallottines Centre
60 Fifth Ave, Rossmoyne WA 6148
Telephone: (08) 9354 0208
Facsimile: (08) 9457 0344

For information about church related documents and correspondence:
The Archivist, Diocesan Office,
PO Box 76, Broome WA 6725
Telephone: (08) 9192 1060
Facsimilie: (08) 9192 2136

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