St Andrew's Hostel Inquiry

Status report on WA Government implementation of the inquiry recommendations

Download the final status report (December 2013)    on Western Australia Government implementation of St Andrew’s Hostel special inquiry recommendations. The first (December 2012) and second (June 2013) status reports are also available.

From December 2011 to August 2012, former Supreme Court Judge, the Hon. Peter Blaxell, conducted a special inquiry under section 24H of the Public Sector Management Act 1994. The inquiry examined the conduct and response of relevant public officials and government agencies in relation to allegations of sexual abuse at St Andrew's Hostel in Katanning, and related organisations.

St Andrew’s Hostel Katanning: How the system and society failed our children

The Special Inquirer, the Hon. Peter Blaxell, provided a copy of his report titled St Andrew’s Hostel Katanning: How the system and society failed our children to the Public Sector Commissioner on Friday 3 August 2012.

On Wednesday 19 September 2012, the Premier tabled the report in parliament.

The report addressed the following terms of reference:

In examining this matter the special inquiry is to:

  1. examine when any allegations were made, who they were made to, what action was taken in response to those allegations, and the appropriateness of any action taken
  2. consider any evidence of allegations of sexual abuse by any person at or connected with the hostel or related organisations
  3. report with:
  • findings about why the behaviour of staff the subject of allegations at St Andrews Hostel was able to continue for an extended period.
  • recommendations on:
    • any disciplinary action that should be taken against any public official as a consequence of the findings; and
    • any changes that should be made to the policies, procedures or operations of relevant government agencies as a consequence of the findings.

Any issues which go to criminal behaviour that arise in the course of the inquiry are to be referred to the WA Police.

Download the report

St Andrew’s Hostel Katanning: How the system and society failed our children - Full report

Download Part 1 which contains chapters 1–10:

  1. Introduction
  2. The ambit of the inquiry
  3. Conducting the inquiry
  4. Information received and the importance of government records
  5. Background matters
  6. The convictions relating to St Andrew’s Hostel
  7. The extent of alleged offending
  8. Fear and favour – how the Hostel operated
  9. Grooming the community
  10. The credibility of witnesses generally.

Download Part 2 which contains chapter 11: Missed opportunities in regards to St Andrew’s Hostel.

Download Part 3 which contains chapters 12–17:

  1. St Christopher’s Hostel, Northam
  2. The handling of other episodes of sexual misconduct
  3. General findings concerning St Andrew’s Hostel
  4. General findings in respect of the Country High School Hostels Authority, its Chairman and its staff
  5. Systemic factors which allowed Dennis McKenna’s offending to continue
  6. The impact of the abuse.

Download Part 4 which contains chapters 18–21:

  1. The legal environment prior to 1990
  2. What has changed since 1990
  3. Further improvement – Recommendations
  4. Conclusion.

Download Part 5 which contains the appendices.

Printed copies

Printed copies of the report will also be available at the National Library of Australia, State Library of Western Australia, and the Katanning, Albany, Bunbury, Northam and Merredin public libraries for public access.

Contact information

The Commission will continue to operate the hotline 1800 227 792, until Thursday 31 January 2013. This freecall telephone number provides access to counseling services and the WA police.

For queries relating to the final report, please email


Page last updated 11 February 2016