The Pirra Girls’ Residence received its first three girls in 1961 april. By June 1962, it absolutely was very nearly at capability, with 27 girls in residence.


The Pirra Girls’ Residence received its first three girls in 1961 april. By June 1962, it absolutely was very nearly at capability, with 27 girls in residence.

Pirra had been positioned in certainly one of Victoria’s oldest mansions at Lara, near Geelong. The Fairbairn category of pastoralists owned it until 1907 if they sold it into the continuing local government. It operated due to the fact Lara Inebriates organization from 1907 until 1930. This is government sanitorium for the treatment of those struggling with alcoholism.

Girls and women that are young Pirra went to 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 for the previous mode of living of those girls’.

Nonetheless, girls who have been unable to get back house or be positioned in foster care had been transferred to 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 very early 1960s by Mr Dick Austin, which organised yard parties to improve funds.

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

‘Albert Booth Director of personal Welfare … asked me personally, ‘If you’d a kid whom refused to leave of sleep each morning, just how could you cope with it?’ I responded, ‘How numerous kids are here?’ as he stated, ‘Twenty-four’, we reacted, ‘Then you will find twenty-four various ways.’ At me, ‘You’ve got the job that he told. It really is yours if you like it’. ‘

In accordance with the personal Welfare Department’s yearly report from 1962, girls at Pirra had ‘a pony, sheep, dogs, guinea pigs, and various other animals’.

The Department’s yearly report for 1966 described Pirra being 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 centres 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 records of Pirra through the viewpoint for the girls on their own. One submission into the Forgotten Australians enquiry described exactly just how she ended up being provided for Pirra at age 12, simply to try to escape a couple weeks later|weeks that are few (which resulted in her positioning at Winlaton, a youth training centre). This female’s testimony painted a picture that is grim of’s state-run organizations and women.

Another previous resident had written about Pirra: ‘the just freedom we’d had been likely to college, we had been never ever permitted to visit friend’s houses or excursions. Whenever casual time came we constantly wagged because we never really had decent sufficient garments to put on.’ This girl recalls being ‘locked within the dormitory when it comes to weekend that is whole after being caught making Pirra to try and go to her sibling in another Residence.

A family of four children aged from 3 to 7 lived at Pirra, while their mother re-established their family home in 1968, during mail order brides catalogue a period when there was a ‘temporary shortage of older girls. The yearly report stated it was a ‘most worthwhile test … it created an interest for the older girls and did actually lead to an improvement inside their behavior assisted to enhance the image of Pirra when you look at the neighborhood’.

In 1968, intends to enhance the standard of therapy at Pirra, by giving a ‘more therapeutic environment’ for the girls. This will include workers composing regular reports about the 4 or 5 girls inside her immediate care. The report ranked each woman in accordance with four character and six behaviour facets. The yearly report reported, ‘It is hoped that will encourage staff to imagine more info on girls and provide the Superintendent a basis for conversation with both staff and girls’.

In 1969, the rate of absconding at Pirra was ‘unusually high’. The Department attributed this towards the large number of brand new admissions that year (28) in addition to high staff return – in that year, only 1 member of the little one care staff was there more than one year. This report additionally talked about the nagging dilemmas numerous Pirra girls experienced at the schools they went to within the Geelong and Corio area – because of gaps with in their education, not enough inspiration and behavioural dilemmas.

Some previous ‘Pirra girls’ associated with a research study about the training experiences of individuals who was indeed in kids’s houses indicated their view that some instructors in the schools that are local prejudiced against ‘home youngsters’. (one woman that is young ended up being unsuccessful by a teacher were able to effectively allure towards the Education Department.)

By 1970, Pirra had been accommodating girls and women aged between 11 and 18. The annual report mentioned that five ladies had finished college that year, and gone on to get work. In addition it reported that ‘nine very girls that are severely disturbed could not be contained in an “open” organization had been transported to “shut” institutions during the year’.

In 1971, the yearly report once again referred into the Department’s problems with ‘very disrupted older girls’ at Pirra: ‘It is becoming obvious that device because of this form of woman is an incredibly great need’.

In 1979, the Department reported that the Illoura and Pirra Homes were ‘in an activity of review and change’, aided by the wide range of kids accommodated in both houses decreasing dramatically.

Pirra had been closed by the Department in around 1980.