Bindoon, Western Australia

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Western Australia
E37 Bindoon Town Hall.jpg
Bindoon Town Hall
Bindoon is located in Western Australia
Coordinates31°22′48″S 116°05′49″E / 31.38°S 116.097°E / -31.38; 116.097Coordinates: 31°22′48″S 116°05′49″E / 31.38°S 116.097°E / -31.38; 116.097
Population1,215 (SAL 2021)[1]
Elevation135 m (443 ft)
Area330 km2 (130 sq mi)
LGA(s)Shire of Chittering
State electorate(s)Moore
Federal division(s)Durack

Bindoon is a town 84 kilometres (52 mi) from Perth city on the Great Northern Highway within the Shire of Chittering.[2] The name Bindoon is thought to be Aboriginal in origin and to mean "place where the yams grow".[citation needed] The name has been in use in the area since 1843 when an early settler, William Brockman, named the property he had surveyed as Bindoon. The townsite was gazetted in 1953.[3]

Christian Brothers' school[edit]

The locality is most notable for the extensive campus of the Christian Brothers boarding school, known as Bindoon. The school is now called Edmund Rice College. It was previously Catholic Agricultural College at Bindoon. Before that it was called Keaney College, named in honour of its former principal Br. Paul Francis Keaney,[4][5] who used young child migrants as forced labour to construct the college's huge stone building. Historically, the school was called Bindoon Boys Town, which started in 1938.[6] The name was changed after revelations of institutionalised cruelty to Australian and migrant children.[7] A series of inquiries, as well as the research of Margaret Humphreys, found that systemic sexual, physical and emotional abuse was perpetrated at the school. In one instance, a priest used a bullet attached to a stick to penetrate students as a form of punishment.

In 1989, Senator Jean Jenkins, the Australian Democrats senator for Western Australia, raised the issue in the nation's Senate on behalf of the Child Migrant Friendship Society of Western Australia and a number of individual former child migrants who had asked for her support.[8] In 1994, the Parliament of Western Australia was presented a petition with 30,000 signatures which demanded an inquiry into the sexual and physical assaults that took place in Bindoon. Other institutions run by the Christian Brothers in Castledare, Clontarf and Tardun were also named in the petition.[9][10] The child abuse that took place at Bindoon is alluded to in the 2011 film Oranges and Sunshine,[11] which portrays the dedication of British social worker Margaret Humphreys in seeking justice for child migrants.

In December 2014, a royal commission found that "Christian Brothers leaders knew of allegations of sexual abuse of children at four WA orphanages, including Bindoon, and failed to manage the homes to prevent the systemic ill-treatment for decades."[12][13] It also found that the institution was concerned by the cost of legal proceedings, and "there was no sentiment of recognising the suffering of the survivors."[14]

SAS facility[edit]

The majority of training and selection for the Australian Special Air Service Regiment takes place at Bindoon. Some of the facilities include live-firing ranges and the Brigade Special Training Facilities (military operations in urban terrain).

Annual events[edit]

Bindoon annually hosts the Bindoon and Districts Agricultural Show. The districts covered are Bindoon, Chittering, Gingin, Bullsbrook among others. The show features cattle, poultry, fruit and vegetable exhibition and competition, horses in action, floriculture, cookery, art, general crafts, needlecrafts, photography, amateur wine making and home brewing, home produce, children's exhibition and pet parades.

An annual Bindoon Rock Festival was held in the 1980s and 1990s.[15]

2013 fire[edit]

A bushfire was started by lightning near the town in 2013 and burnt over 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of farmland and bushland. The fire threatened homes, and over 100 residents were evacuated to a centre in Muchea.[16]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Bindoon (Suburb and Locality)". Australian Census 2021 QuickStats. Retrieved 28 June 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Main Roads WA Distance from Perth". 2008. Retrieved 29 September 2008.
  3. ^ "History of country town names – B". Western Australian Land Information Authority. Retrieved 29 September 2008.
  4. ^ F. D. Shortill. "Keaney, Paul Francis (1888–1954)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  5. ^ "College History". Catholic Agricultural College Bindoon. Archived from the original on 24 November 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  6. ^ Symonds, Tom (26 February 2018) "The child abuse scandal of the British children sent abroad", BBC News.
  7. ^ Welsh, L. P. (1990) The Bindoon file edited by Bruce Blyth. P & B Press, Perth, W.A. ISBN 0-9596606-6-6 (pbk.)
  8. ^ Senate Adjournment debate, 17 August 1989 at Parliament of Australia
  9. ^ "ABC Lateline Transcript - Sins Of The Brothers". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1998. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 29 September 2008.
  10. ^ "Senator Andrew Murray speaks at the 1st International Congress on Child Migration". Australian Democrats. 2002. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  11. ^ Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 63. ISBN 978-1908215017.
  12. ^ Banks, Amanda, Legal Affairs Editor. "Christian Brothers cop blast", The Weekend West, 20–21 December 2014, p.11
  13. ^ Report of Case Study 11 Archived 2016-03-06 at the Wayback Machine Media release, at official website, 19 December 2014
  14. ^ Report of Case Study no. 11 - Congregation of Christian Brothers in Western Australia response to child sexual abuse at Castledare Junior Orphanage, St Vincent’s Orphanage Clontarf, St Mary’s Agricultural School Tardun and Bindoon Farm School PDF at official website, 19 December 2014, p. 13 (folio 8)
  15. ^ Full account of 1995 rock festival Gingin news, Mar 1995, p. 13.
  16. ^ "Bushfire threat eases in Bindoon". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013.