United Aborigines Mission Children`s MemorialPrint Page Print this page

30-May-2021 (Henry Moulds)
30-May-2021 (Henry Moulds)

Photographs supplied by Alan Botting / Henry Moulds

The plaque located on a rock cairn commemortes all the children who were placed in the United Aborigines Mission Children`s Home. It remembers the children who were unable to find their way home and the heartache of the mothers they left behind. The plaque was unveiled during Back to Oodnadatta celebrations in 2007. 

Oodnadatta was the first mission station established by the United Aborigines Mission (UAM) in South Australia. Missionary Miss Annie Lock, started the children’s home in 1924.

Initially housed in an iron shed, the children were soon moved to a small cottage purchased by the South Australian Council of the UAM in 1926. The following year the twelve children resident in the home were moved to Quorn along with Matron Ruby Hyde who had been caring for the children since 1925. In 1948 a measles epidemic in the area aroused the concern of Dr Charles Duguid.

He encouraged the establishment of a home to care for Aboriginal children who might be afflicted with the disease. That year the South Australian Council of the UAM, which in 1947 had legally separated from the Victorian-based Federal body, reopened the Oodnadatta Children’s Home. Mr Noel and Mrs Iris Wiley ran the home initially caring for twelve children. During 1949 and 1950 more children were admitted and the new superintendents, Mr and Mrs Turnbull, cared for fifteen residents with the assistance of two Aboriginal helpers. Reverend L. Reece and his wife took charge from 1951.

From the mid 1950s until the closure of the home, Ruth Bullpit (later Tuffin) was housemother. She cared for between thirteen and seventeen children, usually with the help of an assistant. Until 1956 Aboriginal children were prohibited from attending the Oodnadatta school. Children living in the home were educated by missionaries at the Mission School. The home at Oodnadatta closed in 1974.


Address:Kutaya Terrace, Oodnadatta, 5734
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.548694
Long: 135.446501
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Culture
Approx. Event Start Date:1924
Approx. Event End Date:1974


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 18th April, 2007
Front Inscription

Back to Oodnadatta 2007

This plaque stands in memory of all the children who were placed in the United Aborigines Mission Children`s Home.

We remember the children who were not able to find their way home and the tears and heartache of the mothers that were left behind.

This is my land

When the north wind blows, it calls me back in memory of carefree by-gone days with people of my beginning as I ran naked in the hot desert sun I felt the throbbing red desert sand when it cradled my body in its warm bed of gibber plains, that stretch as far as eyes can see.

Every tree and bush of a different hue, that grow in this harsh dry land.

Hills formed by our ancestral being stand guard with all their mystery.

This then is my land, harsh yet beautiful it kept my soul and spirit in perfect tranquillity.

© Ngitji Ngitji 1973

April 18th 2007


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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