Wandalgu - Tardun, WA

Tardun Farming 86 200In the beginning of 1926, the Pallottines were working only in the Kimberley. Fr William Droste was in charge of the Beagle Bay Mission with 2 other priests, 5 Brothers and 11 Sisters caring for 230 Aborigines of full and part descent. Government subsidies were provided for new arrivals but most income came from the mission herd of cattle, which a two-year draught and infestations with ticks and cattle fly had reduced in numbers. Fr Droste went to Adelaide to appeal for funds.

Tardun2 Aboriginal-Man Face 200Fr Albert Scherzinger, as Pastor of the Tardun Parish from 1930 to 1937, travelled the surrounding district intensely and, of course, saw with his own eyes the plight of the Aboriginal people who lived in abject poverty and could not obtain an education for their children. However, Fr Raible rejected the idea of opening a Mission outside the Kimberley.

Already in 1929, Fr Raible, then visiting Tardun, had purchased a new farm from the Edmund Brothers, known as the Estate, which some considered suitable for establishing a Catholic School. But it would not have included a boarding facility for Aboriginal children.

Tardun3 Wcps-Logo 200sFr Edmund Wehrmaker (Fr Eddy) knew the hardships of living in the primitive barracks of Pallottine Mission. Since October 1960, when he came to Tardun from Victoria, he had lived close to the children and the people who looked after them. They laboured hard to keep up a high standard in hygiene and child care. Their living conditions had to be improved.

Plans for re-building the Mission in brick and tile took shape in 1963. Perth architect Frank Bradley drew up a master plan for the whole establishment, to be built between the old Mission compound and the Monastery, and detailed plans for the first buildings.

Tardun4 BrWim 200sFor 12 years, Pallottine Mission carried out a joint project with the Government of Western Australia to give boys, who had completed Primary school but perhaps would not do so well in High school, the opportunity to learn some skills that would be useful in later life. From 1968 to 1980 the Government ran an Agricultural School on the Pallottine property whilst the Mission accommodated and looked after the students in out-of-school time and the Brothers on the Farm provided work experience for them.

Tardun3 Wcps-Logo 200sOver the years, hundreds of underprivileged Aboriginal children attended the Wandalgu Catholic Primary Catholic Primary School. Aboriginal children, who otherwise would not have had a chance of making a success of their lives, have flourished and developed their full potential, empowering them to make a contribution in the wider community.