KIRINARI (A Place of Learning)


During the late fifties a group of young women, in suburban Gymea, New South Wales, answered a call by the Aborigines Welfare Board for home billeting of Aboriginal children aged from two to twelve years for periods up to six weeks at a time. Country children needed to stay in Sydney for dental and medical care.

A small group of women from the Congregational Church in Gymea responded and where possible they contacted the parents to assure them that their children were in safekeeping. Through these efforts it became evident that Aboriginal teenagers faced many problems. Communities were isolated, health and welfare were neglected by the authorities and there was little care for the education of the children.

Following advice from leading Aboriginal men and women Aboriginal Children’s Advancement Society was founded at a public meeting in February 1963.



The original intention was to build a hostel for Aboriginal boys to enable them to attend school in the city to further their education.

The first Kirinari was opened at Sylvania Heights, a southern Sydney suburb, close to schools and recreational facilities including surfing beaches and the Royal National Park.

One of the Aboriginal advisers was Herbert Stanley Groves JP who supported the establishment of the hostels and was a great stalwart and mentor of the many people who rallied to the cause of the Society. He worked tirelessly to see the achievement of its goals.



Many Aboriginal people now in private employment and government service have spent some time at Kirinari.

They are engaged in the public service, hospitality, sport, entertainment, police, telecommunication, engineering, and other trades and professions.

Two former students, Brian Wilson and Gayle Caldwell were Directors of Aboriginal Children’s Advancement Society. Others closely follow the progress of Kirinari students, passed and present.


ACAS Location and Legalities

Objects & DGR


Think of ACAS


The Cause

In Memory of a Great Man

What is a Donor Club