Item 1909/0031

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0031
Title: Swan Native & Half Caste Mission

Keywords: Thomas Newell, Phoebe Newell, Swan Native and Half-Caste Mission, Alfred Burton, education, missions

[Letter]
Guildford
Dec 14th, 1908
Mr Gale, Dear Sir,
In answer to yours of the 9th inst I am sorrie to inform you that I am not able to pay anything not just now has I have not any payable work just now but if they will take Phoeby I will pay what I can later on when I get good work but at present I have nothing and three other children to keep and my wife if Mr Burton will not take her then I must manage the best way I can for that is all I can at present tho she ought to be at school now. Hoping you will do your best for me in this matter and hoping to hear from you again.
I remain your, Obediently,
T Newell

[Letter]
Guildford
Jan 10 1909
Mr Gale, Dear Sir,
About my little girl Phoeby. I received your letter and I answer it telling you that could not pay now but would pay when I was able that is when I got payable work. Sir, please will let me know what they will do she ought to be at school now and hoping you will try your best for me.
I remain your obedient servant,
T Newell

[Letter]
To: Revd A Burton, Manager, Swan Native & Half-Caste Mission, Midland Junction
Dear Sir,
I have several times tried to communicate with you on the telephone, but without success. I wished to inform you that the man Newell states that he is at present unable to pay anything towards the maintenance of his children at your mission but will do so when he is able to get payable work. He finds it all that he can do to support his wife and the children who are with him now. What he wishes to know is, whether you will take in his youngest girl “Phoebe” who I spoke to you about a little time ago. The Government will pay the usual rate for the child, until the father is able to contribute towards her support.
I am, dear Sir, yours obediently,
C F Gale

[Letter]
To: Mr T Newell, Ab. Nat., Guildford, WA
17th Jan 1909
Sir,
Mr Barton consents to take your girl “Phoebe” as an inmate of the Swan Native and Halfcaste Mission. When you take her there, please give the Manager this letter.
I am Sir, yours obediently,
C F Gale

[Letter]
To: Acting Manager, Swan Native and Halfcaste Mission, Midland Junction, WA
18th Jan 1909
Sir,
I saw Mr Burton on Saturday in Perth and he has verbally consented to take as inmates of the Mission, the girl “Phoebe Newell” from Guildford, also the by Tommy from Menzies. I have instructed Mr Newell to take his daughter to you and I will communicate with you again, when to expect “Tommy.”
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
C F Gale

[Letter]
Swan Boys Orphanage
Middle Swan
To: The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Dear Sir,
In reply to your 13/285 of 11th inst I have to inform you that I have arranged with Mr Pechell for the admission of the halfcaste.
Yours truly
A Burton

[Letter]
Swan Boys Orphanage
Middle Swan
To: The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Dear Sir,
In reply to your 13/286 of 11th inst I have to inform you that I have arranged with Mr Pechell for the admission of the girl Phoebe.
Yours truly
A Burton

Katitjin Notes:

Swan Native and Half-caste Mission
It is worth noting here that Thomas Newell saw the mission as an opportunity for his daughter Phoebe to attend school. Although all children were permitted to attend State Schools, this became increasingly difficult for Aboriginal families as the White parents pressured these schools not to allow Aboriginal children to attend. The Education Dept then excluded them because Aboriginal children were supposedly under the care of the Chief Protector. Unlike the often portrayed myth of families “abandoning” their children to mission institutions, it is clear from his letters that Thomas Newell’s primary concern was the welfare and education of his children. A full description of this mission can be found at Find & Connect.

Burton, Alfred
Rev Alfred Burton was the superintendent of the Swan Native and Half-Caste Mission. He was criticised heavily in the media, as this 1907 article from the Sunday Times attests with headlines “Another Burton Bomb – The Orphanage Autocrat Reaches the Limit – The Acme of Arrogance and Heartlessness.”

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