Farr House, Mitcham, in the 1960s
AnglicareSA: More than 150 years of helping people in South Australia
Before there was AnglicareSA there were caring Anglicans who were determined to help people in need. Their work paved the way for the AnglicareSA of today.
The earliest Anglican charitable organisation in SA was set up in 1860 and it was The Orphan Home for the care of girls aged five to 12. The Orphan Home was first located in Carrington St, city, then at Mitcham from 1908. (pictured)
The Orphan Home was established under the leadership of Mrs Julia Farr, who later participated in the creation of the Home for Incurables in 1878.
The House of Mercy and Retreat for Women was set up in Walkerville in 1880 as a place in Adelaide where pregnant unmarried women could give birth. A home for boys was opened at Walkerville in 1887. (pictured)
St Mary's Mission of Hope was established in Halifax Street in 1923. It was designed to be a place where unmarried mothers could surrender their babies for care and adoption, but later became a home for young children. As they grew older, girls went to Farr House and boys went to Walkerville.
These were all independent incorporated bodies, though they sent reports of their affairs to Synod and had the bishop as president or patron. In the 1940s, Bishop Robin pressed Synod to authorise the creation of a Social Welfare Committee and Bureau. He wanted Synod to take a direct role in the delivery of what was coming to be called social welfare. He also had families in poverty in mind, especially where there was no male breadwinner. The Committee began in 1942 with a group of senior clergy and laypeople, with the bishop as chairman.
It was not till 1947 that the Committee had enough funds and a satisfactory constitution to proceed with the creation of the Welfare Bureau. Joy MacLennan (pictured) was organising secretary and social worker. She served till 1975. The kinds of help applied for included people wanting help in placing children, needing clothing, funds, or specialised support. Many were referred to hospitals or other agencies. It was a struggle to raise enough funds to pay the salaries and travel costs of the staff. Much good work was done for many years by op shops and jumble marts, especially in O'Connell St North Adelaide.
The Committee cooperated with the Sisters of the Community of the Holy Name (CHN) to open a hostel for homeless people in Wellington Square in 1945. It only lasted a few months, then the Sisters switched to running the house as a hostel for students and young working girls. When the CHN withdrew from this work the GFS operated the hostel for the committee for a few years before it was sold.
The Committee quickly discovered, as did many other social welfare organisations, that there was a desperate need for accommodation for the aged, the result in part of poor economic opportunities in the 1930s. It struggled to raise funds, to press state and federal governments for support and to locate suitable properties. The first was at Grange (1949).
Commonwealth funding in 1955 made it possible for a number of agencies to build better facilities. Gradually they realised that many old people needed nursing home care not dissimilar from that available in hospitals. Alongside this by the 1960s was a rising demand for hostel facilities which would house people in private rooms, supported by a rising number of other facilities including a chapel, meeting rooms and small shops if possible.
Further aged care facilities were established (at Westbourne Park in the 1970s, at Elizabeth in the 1980s and 1990s) using both Commonwealth funding as available and some generous bequests.
Meanwhile, the attitudes to the care of families and children were being challenged. By the 1970s few unwed mothers were ready to surrender their children. The House of Mercy closed in the 1960s, St Mary's moved to Prospect, then in the mid-1970s the three child care agencies coalesced into the Anglican Child Care services. As the Diocesan Social Welfare Committee now managed both the Aged Care services and the expanding Child Care Services, the total organisation was renamed Anglican
It became known as AnglicareSA in 1997. While it retained local control, the new name made it part of a recognisable national network of Anglican caring agencies. Some 40 agencies around the country are members of Anglicare Australia, with a range of services for people of every age.
Until 2000, AnglicareSA continued as a department responsible to Synod, but that year, the need for independent financial and legal identity, driven largely by the many contracts undertaken on behalf of state and federal governments, saw its incorporation.
It retains close links with the Anglican Church - AnglicareSA members are the members of the synod of the diocese and the Archbishop of Adelaide remains president of the governing Council. The Archbishop's Appeal is the major capital fundraising appeal for Anglicare. Many parishes are involved in both Anglicare activities supporting their own communities, and Anglicare offers support and expertise to local initiatives.
The early years of the 21st century have seen significant growth of Anglicare's services.
In Aged Care, AnglicareSA has pioneered the creation of homes for vulnerable frail elderly people, who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness. Ian George Court, in Brompton, has been home to 40 people since 2004. Neal Court in Elizabeth, opened in 2008 and houses 60 people.
Canterbury Close at Elizabeth and St Laurence's Court, Grange, underwent significant renovation and improvements to meet Commonwealth Government standards by 2008. Similar redevelopment has taken place at All Hallows Court in Westbourne Park.
Equivalent growth has been in the area of community aged care: AnglicareSA now brings care and support to nearly 500 elderly people in their own homes throughout the metropolitan area.
AnglicareSA's Family and Community Services continue to care for children and families, people with a disability, and vulnerable people. AnglicareSA has a significant portfolio of housing services. Enterprise services include recycling, catering and child care services. The people we serve are central to the organisation's structure.
Anglicare has more than 1200 staff members and over 900 volunteers. Alternative care is supported by a fantastic team of 400 foster carers.
AnglicareSA's services, as always, are open to all.
Source: Dickey, Brian; Giving a Hand: A History of Anglicare SA Since 1860 (Adelaide: Anglicare SA 2003)
If you have questions about the history of AnglicareSA or its antecedents, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 08 8305 9200.