Methodist Church
Years of OperationThe Methodist Church was involved in residential child care services for most of the twentieth century, until it amalgamated with the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches to form the Uniting Church.
Role Of Facility“The Methodist Church (through the Methodist Overseas Mission and the Methodist Homes for Children)…[is] interested in Aboriginal welfare as an aspect only of general social problems within the community-at-large.” . Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey.
In terms of its approach to inculcating children in Methodist beliefs, Wilson and Robinson in 1971 found the Methodist Church relatively tolerant and “although they stress the need for religious training, they allow some flexibility.
1. ‘The girls should be actively encouraged to attend our Methodist Church services on a Sunday, but this should not be insisted upon and should not be a condition of entry into the hostel.
2. Where the girls are attending another Church then it is considered pressure should not be brought to bear to make them change…(extract from Methodist Homes for Children Board of Management Meeting Minutes 22/9/66).’”
Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey
Other facilities in
Signposts that are
related to the
Sponsoring Agency
See the entry “Uniting Church” in the earlier section of Signposts, “Non-Government Agencies and their Subsidiary Institutions”
Brief HistoryWilson and Robinson outlined the administration and governance structures of the Methodist Church in hostel management as practiced in 1971:
“…two branches of the Methodist Church are responsible for hostel management in Perth – the Methodist Homes for Children and the Methodist Overseas Mission…
The Council of the Methodist Homes for Children is answerable to the Methodist Conference, which in turn governs general policy and approves/disapproves particular proposals.

The Homes for Children operates as a child-care body and its Secretary, Mr. L. Smith, is the Western Australian Chairman of the Council of Social Services Standing Committee on Child Care. In addition to Cooinda and Warminda, they supervise general children’s homes at Mofflyn and Werribee [see entries for all facilities]. Each home, or hostel, is responsible to the Council, through a Board of Management, and there is some flexibility and cross-hatching of policy.

One of the outstanding features of the M.H.C. approach is its attitude towards innovation and cooperation. They welcome and encourage professional support, and attempt to foster a multi-denominational approach to the problems of child care in general and Aboriginal welfare in particular.
Like the M.H.C., the Methodist Overseas Mission is governed by a Council, in turn responsible to a State Conference. Members of the M.O.M. Council are, in some cases, also represented on the M.H.C. Council….

The Methodist Homes for Children, as controlling Authority for the working girls hostels at Mount Lawley (Cooinda) and Welshpool (Warminda) [see entries] would prefer all placements to be made by the Department of Native Welfare.” Wilson and Robinson (1971) Aboriginal Hostels in Perth: A Comparative Survey.

Wilson and Robinson’s survey also notes that there were two Methodist Hostels in the Southern Division of the Department of Native Welfare in 1971. Until 1962, the Methodist Homes for Children operated Werribee Farm School, which was in the Katanning area, so it is possible that the hostels were also in that regional centre. That would fit within the Department of Native Welfare divisional area. However, no further information has been found on these facilities.
RecordsIn relation to non-Indigenous placements, Departmental case records for young people placed in Methodist programs by the Child Welfare Department may reside with the Department for Child Protection.
Records for young people who were resident in Methodist facilities may be held by UnitingCare West.
Information may also be held in Uniting Church Archives.
While the Department of Native Welfare placed some children in Methodist facilities, some placements may have been arranged privately.
The Department for Child Protection should also be contacted for Department of Native Welfare records as they may be able to locate them or refer enquirers to other tracing services.
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

Methodist Records and records from Uniting Church agencies (Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist):

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