Boulder (Millen Street ) Boys’ Employment Hostel, Boulder
Years of OperationAt least 1971, possibly earlier, to 1995.
Role Of FacilityOriginally intended as a hostel for boys in employment. By 1982, it was reported that the hostel accommodated youths attending High School and Technical Colleges, those completing after care programmes and those in need of support in times of family crises.
Sponsoring AgencyDepartment of Native Welfare / Department for Community Welfare
Address(es)82 Millen Street, Boulder
AliasesWorking Youths’ Hostel; Millen Street Hostel, Working Boys’ 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.

The Working Youths Hostel had accommodation for “working youths in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region” when surveyed in 1971. At that time, the Working Youths Hostel was owned and managed by the Department of Native Welfare. (Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey).

“The Department has three hostels in Kalgoorlie for high school children (Nindeebai – see entry), working girls (Kalgoorlie Working Girls’ Hostel,- see entry) and working boys. During the past year the lack of employment opportunities for young people in this town has been noticed because of the difficulty in finding employment for the youths staying in the hostels.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1976). Facility operated under a formal agreement with the Department of Community Welfare, providing for boys in employment.

In 1977, the hostel had eight residents at the end of the reporting year, but also provided “temporary accommodation for an increasing number of young people passing through Kalgoorlie en route to Perth or the Eastern States” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1977).

“The close liaison between the field [officers from the Kalgoorlie Departmental office] and the three Hostels in Kalgoorlie has resulted in a professional use of facilities with advantages to all parties. A number of children have benefited from the liaison between the Hostels, field staff and the Project School. Those children unable to meet the normal academic standards are given the opportunity to learn and experience manual trade skills.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1979).

In 1979, the hostel catered for boys from the Warburton, Esperance, Mt Margaret, Cundeelee and Menzies areas. (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1979).

“Goldfields Hostels have moved forward to provide fuller programmes for students and working aged young persons who come from fragmented families in fringe dwelling communities. The emphasis is on the provision of as many options as possible for young people to become part of the wider community. Mr John Pedler [Pedlar] retires this year from the Boulder Working Boys Hostel…His contribution to the welfare of Aboriginal people in the Goldfields region was most appropriately rewarded this year with a Queen’s Birthday Honours Award.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1981).

“The Working Boys Hostel ended an impressive era when the former management ceased during the year. New and similarly effective management commenced in November.” Importance is placed on motivation of the boys towards full time work and despite limited employment opportunities an impressive employment record prevails.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1982).

“The Department continues to utilize the Working Boys Hostel and Working Girls Hostel in Kalgoorlie for accommodating teenage youth. Those accommodated range from offenders on After-Care programmes or remand to non-offenders experiencing family breakdown.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, 1984).

In 1986, the population often included “adolescents experiencing family crises.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Services, 1986).

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, 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).

“A variation of the…alternative custody programme was trialed in Kalgoorlie where several juveniles serving detention in Nyandi were able to complete their sentences in the Department’s Millen Street Hostel in Kalgoorlie. All completed the programme successfully, undertaking community work under the supervision of hostel staff.” (Annual Report of the Department for Community Services, 1990).

Two Yamaha 80cc motorcycles and two dimplex oil heaters were purchased by Millen Street hostel in 1991. (Annual Report of the Department for Community Services, 1991).

By 1995, it was reported that the Millen Street 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. In the Goldfields area, hostels have also been used to address the special needs of petrol sniffers and offenders on remand with specific welfare needs.” 60% of placements were for bail-related accommodation at this time. On review, it was reported that “Millen St Hostel is a large brick building. It has a living/dining kitchen area in the front part of the building, and a rear courtyard with bedrooms running off a quadrangle.” The design of the building was not considered to be “conducive to social interaction or any form of programme development.” There were 53 admissions during the 1993/94 year (ranging in age from 7-12 to 18+ years, with 16 admissions involving non-Aboriginal young people) and the facility had one 15 seater bus. (OHAC Cost Project, Department for Community Services, June 1995).

The Millen Street Hostel is now (2004) a privately-leased Backpackers’ Hostel.
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 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 DetailsFreedom of Information
Department of Communities
Locked Bag 5000, Fremantle WA 6959
Telephone: (08) 6217 6888
Country free call: 1800 176 888