South West Native Mission
Director’s Report – – – September 1965
Following the last meeting of the Board, I requested information from all teams regarding numbers on Reserves and the toilet, bedroom and laundry facilities provided for them. This information is tabulated below:-
|Mission Centre||Living on Reserve||Living off Reserve||Total||Toilets
Practically all the bathroom facilities on the reserves are cold showers. Most of those living off the reserves are in Type 5 houses which have their own toilet, laundry and bathroom facilities. There are 21 of these houses in our areas.
At various times in the year these numbers are swollen by visitors who stay for varying periods of time, and are usually the cause of most of the disturbances on the reserves. But for the people actually living on the reserves there seems to be an average of one toilet for 16 people and one bath or cold shower for every 28 ½. To complete the picture, the staff of the Mission consists of four married couples :- the Reverend Bertram & Mrs. Wrightson; Col. & Mrs. E. Cartmel; Mr. & Mrs. B. Chapman; and Mr. & Mrs. J. Flanigan; two single units; Miss Dorothy Brown and Mr. Harold Abraham; the East Perth team: Miss Mary Elliott, Miss May Street and sister Connie MacDonald: and the Hostel staff: Mr & Mrs Neil Warren and their daughter Mrs. Nancy Evans. With rising wages and costs our present income is inadequate for any more staff.
On the reserves and in East Perth the work is concerned largely with the younger people. At Merredin, for instance, Mr. Abraham has something every night in the hall on the reserve, or a mixed group in the town. At Pinjarra and East Perth the activities are only two or three evenings a week, by the youngsters are most appreciative of what is done. Except at Merredin and Pinjarra the Kindergartens occupy most of the mornings of the ladies, and, although an essential and worthwhile part of the work, it is most time consuming. At East Perth Sister MacDonald takes a dozen or more children to the Little Citizen’s Kindergarten three afternoons a week, and stays to assist.
It must be realised that social welfare work goes on all the time – in fact the teams seem not to have enough time to do it all. Sister MacDonald, for instance, visits in the hospitals and Fremantle prison. Miss Elliott coped with funeral arrangements for the brother of one of the East Perth people, which entailed bringing two other brothers from Fremantle prison to the cemetery at Karrakatta. I would say that most of the welfare work done in the area where our teams are working is done by them.
On the spiritual side the teams continue to take the people to the local Churches, but, in addition, a Sunday School flourishes on the Mt. Barker reserve, and Mr. Wrightson has a Saturday session of simple Bible instruction and discussion. Mr. Wrightson also assists in the schools with religious instruction, and on Sundays by taking services in the parish.
In all my talks to different Churches and organisations I am endeavouring to make people think of the work not as ‘The Native Problem’ but ‘The Coloured People and their problems’. I am quite convinced that we must convince the white population that the mixed-blood fringe-dwellers are a PEOPLE and not a PROBLEM. In fact, until we do, we shall continue to meet indifference and prejudice even among good Church-people.
The Reverend C. Hodgson’s Scheme for s. Michael’s Farm Training School, Newdegate.
This document is from the personal papers of Mary Elliott – the language is that of the author