Sex abuse allegations made against Bunbury hostel

Sex abuse allegations made against Bunbury hostel

A BUNBURY hostel will come under scrutiny after being added to a special inquiry examining sexual abuse at a Katanning state-run school hostel.

Craig House, which was the boys’ hostel attached to Bunbury Senior High School in the 1960s and 70s, will now be included in the inquiry.

Former Supreme Court Justice Peter Blaxell is conducting the inquiry following suggestions there was a cover-up of abuse by Dennis John McKenna at St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning.

McKenna is serving his second jail term for sexually abusing 11 boys while he was warden at the hostel between 1975 and 1990.

The Bunbury Mail understands Craig House was originally called Kalgoorlie Fresh Air League, offering young people from Kalgoorlie a short-stay vacation near the Back Beach.

It then became known as Craig House and housed male boarders who attended the Bunbury school.

The hostel closed in 1963 and reopened at a new location in 1973 near Roberts Crescent, where the Golden West Network building now stands.

It closed permanently in 1978.

St Christopher's Hostel in Northam will also be included in the inquiry.

Both hostels were run by the Country High School Hostel Authority.

Counsel assisting the inquiry Phil Urquhart said the investigation would include any evidence of allegations of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago, by any person at other hostels that were the responsibility of the hostel authority.

He urged anyone with information to contact the inquiry.

“Without members of the public coming forward the inquiry's investigations may be incomplete,” Mr Urquhart said.

“Of particular interest to the inquiry is whether any persons in authority were made aware of the allegations.”

An education department spokeswoman said the department and the authority would make every effort to access information requested by the investigation.

Public hearings will run until May 11 with a report with findings due by July 18.

z The inquiry’s hotline number is 1800 227 792 and its email address is info@blaxell inquiry.wa.gov.au