Beating the Boredom of Detention

December 3, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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Philip Feinstein is bringing music into the lives of would be Australians for whom home is currently a detention centre.


Philip Feinstein

Initially, the 64-yr-old life coach from Sydney’s Rose Bay, collected instruments and gave tuition on how to play them at the city’s Villawood detention centre. He has extended his operation and is now calling for instruments to be donated to be given to detainees Australia-wide.

He told J-Wire: “I cannot read a note of music but I can play and I teach the detainees chord structure. We start jamming and one thing leads to another.”

Feinstein said that his main interest is in pianos and guitars explaining that most of the countries from which the detainees come do not play wind instruments.

He added: “For me, it’s all about people helping people. I work with human beings.” Feinstein teaches both adults and children.

Feinstein has called on people in different parts of the world in which asylum seekers are detained that they emulate his program and has asked music teachers to assist him at Australian detention centres.

The following is a list of drop off points for small instruments only.

Feinstein can be contacted at   for those with larger instruments to be donated.


St John’s Uniting Church

Corner Mt Alexander Road and Buckley Street

Essendon, Melbourne

Office drop off hours: 8am – 1pm  Mon – Fri


Glen Waverley Uniting Church

Corner Bogong Avenue and Kingsway

Glen Waverley, Melbourne

Office drop-off hours: 9am – 5pm  Mon – Fri

Contact person: Neil Skilton


Geelong : Although there are no immigration detention centres in Geelong, there is an instrument drop-off point for local refugees:

The Pulse (Diversitat) Centre (

68-70 Little Ryrie Street


Office drop-off hours: 9am – 4pm  Mon – Fri



Albury: Although there are no immigration detention centres in Albury/Wodonga, there is an instrument drop-off point for local refugees:

Albury Wodonga Volunteer Resource Bureau Inc  ( )

596 Hume Street

Albury NSW

Office drop-off hours: 9am – 5pm  Mon – Fri



Pilgrim Uniting Church

12 Flinders Street (rear)

Adelaide City

Office open until 3.30pm daily


Mount Barker Uniting Church

13 Mann Street

Mount Barker, Adelaide

Monday mornings only. Other days by arrangement on 8391-2513



Catholic Church

51 Flinders Terrace

Port Augusta

TEL: (08) 8642-2847



Mount Pleasant Uniting Church

1 Coomoora Road

Mt Pleasant, Perth

Office hours: 9am – 12 noon   Mon – Fri


SERCO Offices

15 Kalgoorlie Street

Ascot, Perth   WA  6104

Friday mornings only from 9am – 12 noon

NOTE: Only instruments donated to this location will be transported to Christmas Island



Uniting Church

c/o 74 Chidlow Street


6pm – 8pm only

Call first: TEL: 0407-579-349


Uniting Church

Kimberley Patrol / Kununurra Congregation

131 Coolibah Drive


TEL: (08) 9168-1208 and 0400-174-949


Bishops House

7 Maitland Street


TEL: (08) 9921-3221


St Mary’s Presbytery House

15 Porter Street


TEL: (08) 9021-2100



Chermside Kedron Community Uniting Church

Cnr. Gympie Road & Rode Road

Chermside, Brisbane

Office hours: 9am – 2pm  Mon – Fri

TEL: (07) 3350-4302



Catholic Church

c/o 9 Pinaroo Court


TEL: (07) 4069-9346 (call first)


Townsville: Although there are no immigration detention centres in Townsville, there is an instrument drop-off point for local refugees:

Townsville Multicural Support Group  ( )

63 Ross River Road

Mundingburra, Townsville

Office hours: 9am – 5pm   Tues – Fri

Call first: (07) 4775-1588



St Vincent de Paul

107 Dick Ward Drive  (northern entrance)

Coconut Grove, Darwin

Warehouse Manager: Ralf Wegner  TEL: (08) 8948-0887

St Vincent de Paul

3 Rolyat Street

Palmerston, Darwin

Centre Manager: Nicole Coble  TEL: (08) 8932-3691



Although there are no immigration detention centres currently operating in Hobart, there is an instrument drop-off point for local refugees:

Migrant Resource Centre   (

49 Molle Street

Hobart City

9am – 5pm   Mon – Fri




Although there are no immigration detention centres in Canberra, there is an instrument drop-off point for local refugees:

Companion House   (

41 Templeton Street

Cook, Canberra

9am – 5pm   Mon – Fri



Villawood Immigration Detention Centre is now full of instruments and only require a few more acoustic guitars (nylon strings only) and small percussion instruments. Guitars must be in cases if possible.


Drop-off points for these instruments are:


Emanuel Synagogue

7 Ocean Street

Woollahra, Sydney

9am – 5pm Mon or Wed, or 9am – 2pm Tues or Thur

TEL: (02) 9328-7833

Acoustic guitars with nylon strings only


Balmain Uniting Church Café

344 Darling Street

Balmain, Sydney

9am – 2pm   Mon – Sat

Acoustic guitars with nylon strings only


Maroubra Junction Uniting Church

829 Anzac Parade

Maroubra, Sydney

9am – 5pm   Wed – Fri


Acoustic guitars with nylon strings only



Also in Sydney are two organisations caring for former detainees. They also require instruments. Contacts are:

STARTTS  –  –  Jiva Parthipan/Richard Walker  TEL:  (02) 9794-1900

SydWest Multicultural  –  –  Susan Vogels   TEL:  (02) 9621-6633

Hunter: Although there are no immigration detention centres in the Newcastle area, Mr Biko Syong’oh is involved in helping former refugees obtain instruments.

Contact details are:

Biko Syong’oh  –  Hunter African Communities Council


Mobile: 0432-940-427  Email:

Also assisting is the Charlestown Uniting Church Centre

Contact in advance: (02) 4943-4019  Jenny Cummings

Tues, Wed and Fri:  9:30am – 1pm


The Salvation Army have agreed to accept and ship music instruments for the refugees at Nauru.

Because of shipping and other constraints, the following are the only items required:

Sanzas, horns, tanboors, sarodes, sitars, harmoniums, tablas, small drums, dhols, gongs, shakers, rubabs, dairas (tambourine), violins, acoustic guitars with nylon strings only (in cases), plus sets of nylon guitar strings and compact keyboards.

The only drop-off point for instruments for Nauru is:

The Salvation Army

140 Elizabeth Street (near Liverpool Street)

Sydney City

Office hours only: 9am – 5pm  Mon – Fri

Contacts: Ben Litchfield / Luke Richmond  (02) 9266-9573


For musicians (or people with other talents) who wish to assist at immigration detention centres, the contact details are below.


Darwin Airport Lodge        Natalie Mendez

Wickham Point                   Rebecca Bryen

Northern IDC Berrimah     Steven Eardley


Maribynong                 Sue Nevin            

Broadmeadows          Gabrielle Tortorella


Adelaide ITA          Narelle Maric     

Inverbrackie          Veronica Boulton


Port Augusta         Brenton Hobart



Perth IRH               Adam Swan   



Curtain                  Luke Denham

Scott McDonald


Leonora                 Clare Camilleri


Yongah Hill           Anne Craine  


Christmas Island    Sofia Abubakar



Pinkenba               Chad Raines 


Scherger               Sally Shore



Villawood             Muarina Konrote






One Response to “Beating the Boredom of Detention”
  1. michael says:

    Of Gee those ‘United Church’ Guys must be so busy, what with organizing those anti- Israel Boycotts with their Muslim partners and helping out Iraqi, Afghani and Palestinian illegal Asylum seekers in our detention centers, busy , Busy…


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