For more than a century, Ngala has promoted the right of every child to grow up in a healthy, nurturing, safe and caring environment. Established in the 1890s as the House of Mercy, it later became known as the Alexandra Home for Women in 1916. Other name changes have occurred over the course of Ngala's history and reflect the ever changing needs of the families and communities Ngala serves.
To see a timeline of Ngala's history click here.
Left: Mrs Shearer in 1890, one of the original Committee Members of the House of Mercy. Right: The Alexandra Home for Women as it was in Highgate in the 1950s.
In 1949, the Alexandra Home for Women became the state’s first mothercraft nurse training centre and was renamed Alexandra Mothers and Babies and Mothercraft Training School in 1950. Then in 1956 the name was changed to Ngala-a Mothercraft Home and Training Centre Inc. Ngal-a was chosen from Aboriginal Noongar language and means ‘we’ or ‘two’*.
Until the late 1980’s, Ngala’s focus was on nursing training - initially for child health nursing and later, mothercraft nursing, out of home care for children up to five years of age (including preparation for families adopting children from Ngala), residential care for mothers and children where there were parenting difficulties, and child care.
In the late 1980’s, with the threat of State Government funding being withdrawn, Ngala’s services were refocused to embrace a holistic approach to provide early parenting support to families. At the same time, the organisation was reshaped through a revamped constitution that replaced the Committee of Management with a Board of Management. Ngala’s organisational systems and processes were also revised in line with current business practices and at the same time, training of mothercraft nursing ceased. To reflect this change in focus Ngala was renamed the Ngala Family Resource Centre.
The Ngala building in Kensington as it looks today.
Ngala recognises that a child's family remains the primary means for meeting the needs of young children. Therefore Ngala strives to work in partnership with families to ensure that the rights of the child are central to any decisions taken and that the health and well-being of all family members are enhanced to their fullest potential. Today, services, programs and activities for families are provided through:
- Universal services – that is those services for the general
population such as the Ngala Helpline;
- Targeted Services such as Ngala’s Indigenous Parenting and Children’s service and Ngala’s Parenting and Play Time at Merriwa, Noranda, Mirrabooka, Kwinana and Rockingham and;
- Intensive/Specialised services where an intensive response for parents and young children is required from an interdisciplinary staff team. This includes Ngala’s Day Stay and Overnight Stay and the Parenting Advice and Support Service at Bandyup Women’s Prison.
Ngala’s outstanding commitment to early parenting and child development has brought recognition to the organisation as a leading resource for families with babies and young children in Western Australia. In 2005, Ngala was the recipient of the Western Australian Citizen of the Year, Gold Swan Award. This award recognised Ngala’s outstanding commitment to the community to effectively improve the lives of fellow Western Australians. The Ngala Northern Community Service has also been awarded the Community Service Industry Award for Community Development.
The innovative approaches and practices that have been developed at Ngala are shared with the community through the development of parenting and early learning and development resources, professional development forums and conference presentations.
*Bindon, P., & Chadwick, R. (Eds.) (1992). A Nyoongar Wordlist from the south west of Western Australia. Anthropology Dept., Western Australian Museum
When: 21 Feb, 9:30am
Birth to 4 months: A 5-week series of workshops for parents with a newborn baby. Each workshop covers a wide range of topics about you and your new baby and provides the opportunity to meet and connect with other new parents in your local area.