The Pirra Girls’ Residence received its very very very first three girls in 1961 april. By 1962, it was almost at capacity, with 27 girls in residence june.


The Pirra Girls’ Residence received its very very very first three girls in 1961 april. By 1962, it was almost at capacity, with 27 girls in residence june.

Pirra had been positioned in certainly one of Victoria’s earliest mansions at Lara, near Geelong. The Fairbairn category of pastoralists owned it until 1907 once they offered it to your continuing state. It operated given that Lara Inebriates organization from 1907 until 1930. It was federal government sanitorium to treat those experiencing alcoholism.

Girls and women that are young Pirra attended community concentrated programs and several were later put in foster care or gone back to their loved ones. In 1962, the report that is annual the effective keeping of Pirra girls in personal houses as ‘really amazing … in view of this previous mode of living of the girls’.

But, girls who have been unable to get back house or perhaps put in foster care had been utilized in Youth Training Centres.

Pirra’s first superintendent ended up being skip C. Ross Morrison (later on Mrs H. Rudduck). In March 1965, skip L.M. Dodgshun (a previous matron at Bethany Babies’ house) took over as superintendent. Pirra had an Auxiliary, led within the 1960s that are early Mr Dick Austin, which organised yard parties to boost funds.

Nancy McDonald became Superintendent in 1968, and stayed when you look at the place until her your retirement in 1979. In her own memoirs, McDonald described her meeting for the career at Pirra:

‘Albert Booth Director of personal Welfare … asked me personally, ‘with it? in the event that you had a young child whom declined to leave of bed each day, exactly how could you deal’ I responded, ‘how children that are many there?’ as he stated, ‘Twenty-four’, we reacted, ‘Then you can find twenty-four different ways.’ At which he explained, ‘You’ve got the task. It’s yours if you need it’. ‘

Based on the Social Welfare Department’s annual report from 1962, girls at Pirra had ‘a pony, sheep, dogs, guinea pigs, and many other animals’.

The Department’s yearly report for 1966 described Pirra as an ‘open’ organization, where girls utilized the ordinary community resources. It proceeded, ‘Generally, they settle in well, but you will find periodic break-downs necessitating transfers to youth training centers where they could be more effortlessly managed.’ ( This exact same statement additionally starred in the yearly reports for 1967 and 1968.)

It is hard to locate reports of Pirra through the viewpoint of this girls themselves. One distribution to your Forgotten Australians enquiry described exactly just how she had been provided for Pirra at age 12, and then try to escape a couple of weeks later on|weeks that are few (which resulted in her positioning at Winlaton, a youth training centre). This female’s testimony painted a grim image of Victoria’s state-run organizations for females and young women.

Another previous resident composed about Pirra: ‘the just freedom we’d ended up being likely to college, we had been never ever permitted to visit buddy’s homes or excursions. Whenever casual time arrived I constantly wagged because we decent sufficient clothing .’ This girl recalls being ‘locked within the dormitory when it comes to weekend that is whole after being caught making Pirra in an attempt to see her sibling in another Residence.

In 1968, during an interval whenever there clearly was a ‘temporary shortage of older girls’, a household of four kids ru brides aged from 3 to 7 resided at Pirra, while their mom re-established their loved ones house. The yearly report claimed it was a ‘most worthwhile experiment … it created a pastime when it comes to older girls and did actually lead to an improvement inside their behavior aided to boost the image of Pirra into the district’.

In 1968, there have been plans to improve the standard of therapy at Pirra, a ‘more healing environment’ when it comes to girls. This might include staff writing regular reports about the four or five girls inside her instant care. The report ranked each woman based on four character and six behaviour facets. The yearly report reported, ‘It is hoped that this plan of action will encourage staff more info on girls the Superintendent a foundation for conversation with both staff and girls’.

In 1969, the rate of absconding at Pirra had been ‘unusually high’. The Department attributed this into the number that is high of admissions that year (28) along with high staff return – for the reason that 12 months, just 1 person in care staff was in fact here more than one year. This report additionally talked about the issues numerous Pirra girls experienced in the schools they went to into the Geelong and Corio area – as a result of gaps inside their education, not enough inspiration and behavioural dilemmas.

Some former ‘Pirra girls’ tangled up in a research study concerning the training experiences of people that have been in kids’s domiciles indicated their view that some instructors when you look at the schools that are local prejudiced against ‘home youngsters’. (One young girl whom had been unsuccessful by a teacher were able to successfully charm towards the Education Department.)

By 1970, Pirra had been girls that are accommodating women aged between 11 and 18. The report that is annual that five women had finished college that year, and gone on to get work. In addition it reported that ‘nine very girls that are severely disturbed could never be found in an “open” organization were moved to “shut” institutions during the year’.

In 1971, the yearly report again referred to the Department’s problems with ‘very disrupted older girls’ at Pirra: ‘It became obvious that a particular product because of this sort of woman is a really great need’.

In 1979, the Department stated that the Illoura and Pirra Homes were ‘in an ongoing process of review and change’, using the quantity of kiddies accommodated in both houses decreasing notably.

Pirra had been closed because of the Department in around 1980.


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