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  • BAG History Group

Karinya to Colebrook


From Karinya Inebriates Retreat to Colebrook Reconciliation Park. An historical overview.


Karinya was opened on October 26, 1912 as an inebriates retreat and named 'Karinya' an aboriginal word meaning ‘peaceful home’. The property consisted of a homestead and area of garden. ‘It is in a beautiful setting. Just a plain, homely looking bungalow structure, white-coated and clean, nestling back slightly from the roadside amid garlands of flowers in the front and bush at the sides and rear’. (The Mail 4 December 1920)


“A good deal of work has been done by patients at Karinya — clearing, grubbing, planting a vegetable garden and an orchard, making a tennis court, erection of carpenter's shop, woodshed, and other buildings, the erection of pumping plau. for the dams, arbor and trellis for creeper, quarrying stone for tank bases, end raising, breaking, and carting stone and gravel for garden borders and paths. The men work remarkably well....."

(Chronicle 31 January 1914 p45)


After 1930 it was used to house returned soldiers, Chinese immigrants and unemployed women. (Eden Hills Chronology, City of Mitcham)


“DINNER FOR WOMEN Miss Cocks At Karinya. One of the many activities of the retiring principal of the women police (Miss Kate Cocks) on behalf of needy people, was brought into prominence today by a dinner held at Karinya, Eden Hills, a home for middle-aged unemployed women. Unemployed women, who receive sustenance from the Government but have no homes, are given accommodation there. Miss Cocks saw the need for the institution, and it was her initiative which set the scheme in motion”

(News 25 July 1934)


From 1944 the United Aborigines Mission (UAM) home, 'Colebrook', at Quorn first leased Karinya as a holiday house and then as a home for 'half caste' Aboriginal children. Between 1944 and 1952 the Eden Hills Colebrook was run by Sisters Hyde and Rutter from Quorn.


Former resident Doris Kartinyeri states 'The atmosphere these sisters created is a pleasurable memory.' After 1953, both the standard of care and the physical condition of the home appear to have deteriorated, in part because of inadequate resources and the frequent staff changes which unsettled the children. The succession of superintendents who followed at Colebrook enforced a strict discipline. Many children were to suffer from this harsh regime. Having been removed from their families and land ties, because of the government's policy on assimilation, some were never to see their parents again. In 1972 the Department of Community Welfare took on the responsibility of caring for the children until Colebrook Home was closed.


The home closed in 1972/73 and Karinya was demolished the following year… Between 1943 and 1972 some 350 children lived at Colebrook. (‘Kick the Tin' Doris Kartinyeri)


Colebrook Reconciliation Park in Eden Hills was established from 1998 as a memorial to the children who were removed from their families and housed at Colebrook Home. The Reconciliation Park was born out of meetings in the 1990s between a local reconciliation study group and the Tji Tji Tjuta (former residents) of Colebrook Home.

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