Moora – 1920s

During the early 1920s, the emphasis of Moore River Native Settlement changed from farming to one of internment for Aboriginal people from all over the state. Children of ‘mixed decent’ or what was termed ‘half-caste’ Aboriginal people, were brought there to be trained as domestic servants for white society.  They were often taken away without their parents consent and were part of what we now call ‘The Stolen Generations.

The Moore River settlement expanded its role into an orphanage, rations depot and home for old persons, unmarried mothers, and the ill. Many older Aboriginal people who were considered too dark to be absorbed into white society were expected to live out their days there.  Neville’s view was that as the older people died off the settlements could be closed.[xiv]

In 1922, as a result of complaints by local Moora residents, police ordered Noongars to move to Carramarra, eight kilometres west of Moora but they refused to leave.[xv] Many Noongars moved to Walebing instead, which was preferred because it was a traditional camp. It lay halfway between Moora and New Norcia, where seasonal work could be found nearby. Like most other reserves, it lacked basic amenities.  By this time conditions had declined considerably at Moore River Native Settlement.  With poor sanitation and increased overcrowding, many health problems were reported.[xvi]Noongar people complained to the Department that they were refused entry to Moora hospital and medical treatment by the local doctor.[xvii]

In 1924, Moore River Native Settlement had an average population of 300 and its buildings were becoming dilapidated.[xviii]

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