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    Adelaide - Housing, Architecture and Ancillary Matters

    Cottage Homes

    Also see Place Names - North Adelaide.


    Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning -- A Colonial Experience

    These homes exist for the benefit of old folk whose means of livelihood are very scanty; a class of community whose claims to sympathy are peculiarly pathetic and strong. The last, as well as the earliest of the seven stages of the life of the indigent, especially provokes commiseration, for even a child is hardly less self-helpful than the aged poor.

    When one reflects upon the advanced period of life attained on the average by the inmates of the Homes, one is impressed with the thought that immense substantial good is sometimes done by an utterly disproportionate and insignificant expenditure of money.

    Founded in 1872 the society did, in its first 25 years, help materially to illuminate the path which leads to the grave and many a quavering voice has uttered a benediction upon the names of the philanthropic men and women, whose liberality and kindly thoughtfulness have proved such a blessing to them. Indeed, few actions could be more graceful on the part of a wealthy person than the association of the name of a loved wife or child with a home devoted to the shelter of some poor, tottering, world-wearied grandfather and grandmother.

    The main object of the society is the provision of accommodation for a class of persons who, although they may still be able to earn something, would nevertheless be in danger of being compelled to seek refuge in the Destitute Asylum, where the system of care is not satisfactory in that it does not recognise the claim of husband and wife or mother and children. Indeed, the barrack system is inhumanitarian in that the housing of all classes of deserving and undeserving poor, educated and uneducated, the rough and the delicate, cause unnecessary pain and humiliation to many.

    History of Cottage Homes

    In 1872 Archdeacon Marryat interested a few friends in a cottage homes project and a fund was commenced. At first it was proposed to call the homes 'Almshouses' but, wisely, it was decided that they should be known as 'Cottage Homes'. Acre 1035 in Stanley Street, North Adelaide, was purchased for £130.

    The first meeting of subscribers was held in March 1873 when a committee was appointed comprised of Mesdames Arthur Blyth, Marryat, Alexander Hay, Hart, R. Stuckey, Mrs Gawler (who acted as honorary secretary until 1880) and Messrs A. Blyth, R. Stuckey and Archdeacon Marryat. That meeting instructed Mr Garlick to prepare plans and on 27 October 1873 the foundation stone was laid by Lady Musgrave; the builder was Mr George Newman.

    In 1874 Miss Fanny Woodcock made a special appeal for funds which, later, resulted in another home. Mr Garlick generously returned his fees, the amount being used as the first installment to 'The Garlick Endowment Fund', the interest from which was used for providing comforts for the inmates of the North Adelaide Homes at Christmas. By the close of 1875 nine homes had been erected in Stanley Street.

    In 1876 the first Patroness, Lady Musgrave, was appointed and she held office until 1878 when her place was taken by Lady Jervois. In 1877 Mrs E.W. Andrews built three homes in memory of her husband and her mother and in 1878 all the homes were incorporated under the title 'The Cottage Homes, Incorporated'. In 1879-80 four new homes completed the second wing, with the addition of a reading room. for which the institution was indebted to the efforts of Mesdames F. Doswell and J. Barker.

    In February 1882 Sir Henry Ayers offered to build cottages on the western side of the acre facing Kingston Terrace, consisting of four single and five double homes, with verandah front and back, the name being indicated by a marble slab, 'The Lady Ayers Homes, erected by her husband, AD. 1882.'

    In June of the same year, under the will of the late John Hart, a legacy of £250 was received with a request from Mrs Hart that the money should be spent on two single homes to be named 'The John Hart Homes'. Thus, with other cottages erected from general contributions, by the end of that year twelve new homes had been added to the complex, making a total of 36 built since the society's inception. To celebrate this event a memorial stone was laid by Sir William Robinson. In 1887 Mr P.B. Coglin offered a block of land in Coglin Street, Brompton, and in 1890 tenders were called for seven two-roomed cottages, the foundation stones of which were laid by the Countess of Kintore on 8 September 1890. In 1891 ten homes and a reading room were built at St Leonards with funds from a legacy left by Mr H.L. Vosz.

    In October 1895, William Finlayson donated a little less than two acres of land at Mitcham and this provided space seven homes and a reading room. In May 1896 Lady Victoria Buxton laid the foundation stone of 'The Andrews Homes' consisting of seven homes built with money left by Mrs E.W. Andrews of Glenelg.

    This philanthropic work continues today and helps, immeasurably, in reducing the amount of destitution in our society. The struggling widow who, by reason of being enabled to take up her abode in a cottage at a very small rent, is in a position to avoid being obliged to go out to service and perhaps place her children under the State's care and is, therefore, compensated to some small extent for the loss of her breadwinner.

    Indeed, public sentiment is such regarding such benefactions, a man of wealth can not find a more beneficent way of bestowing it after his death other than a bequest to the society.


    The problem of housing the working man and their families presents a subject of much wider import. In this great onward march of life this problem has a relation not only to the provision of hospitals, asylums and other institutions for the care of those who, either through weakness, and other untoward circumstances, have fallen out of the ranks of able-bodied workers, but to the accommodation of the great army itself.

    In the mid-1890s, Sir Thomas Elder, whilst visiting Largs, in Scotland, visited the immense blocks of buildings erected by municipal and private enterprise for the accommodation of the working people of Glasgow. The wretched and dirty tenements that filled the poorer parts of that great city in the days before Sir Thomas emigrated to Australia had, in the 1890s, been replaced by clean and orderly buildings, nearly all erected on the 'flat' system, which was found well suited to the cold and dull climate of England. The results were such as to surpass the most sanguine anticipations even of those who a generation ago were foremost in advocating the provision of better dwellings for the industrious poor.

    In his last will and testament Sir Thomas Elder left £25,000 for the purpose of founding the Adelaide Workmen's Homes and his executors were left free to determine the manner in which the money should be applied. They, therefore, invited and received suggestions as to the best means of carrying out the testator's wishes and after careful consideration they caused a deed of trust to be prepared, vesting the money in trustees and defining the objects of the trust 'to benefit workmen by providing them with suitable dwellings at a reasonable rental.'

    Later, the trustees, by advertisements in newspapers, invited offers of land in Adelaide and suburbs for the erection of the homes. Many properties were submitted and it was decided to purchase for £3,650 a block of land of a little over two acres in area, centrally and conveniently situated adjoining the Old Boys' Institute in Wakefield Street and running through to Angas Street. The Trustees then considered what type of dwelling should be erected and to this end they invited competitive designs and offered two prizes of £60 and £40. One of the conditions was that one half of the houses should contain four rooms, one fourth each three and five rooms and that every house have a bathroom, pantry, cellar and a washing copper. There was gratifying response of sixty sheets of drawings and at the invitation of the trustees, Mr E.J. Woods joined them as the expert judge.

    General Notes

    A letter re "Cottage Building" is in the Observer,
    14 December 1844, page 3a.

    The Duke of Edinburgh cottages in Gouger Street are discussed in the Observer,
    16 May 1868, page 3f.
    Also see South Australia - Miscellany - Royal Visits

    Information on the Adelaide Workmen's Homes, a bequest from Sir Thomas Elder, is in the Register,
    17 June 1898, pages 4f-4h-7a,
    25 June 1898, page 16c,
    17 June 1899, page 16c.

    A history of Cottage Homes is in the Register,
    31 October 1900, page 8b,
    23 June 1921, page 2h,
    7 July 1922, page 5f.

    Information on the cottage home movement in Adelaide is in the Register,
    13 June 1878, page 1g (supp.),
    19 March 1880, page 5e,
    30 April 1880, page 6g,
    13 and 14 May 1881, pages 5b and 6f,
    9 November 1881, pages 5a-b,
    7 February 1882, page 5a,
    18 April 1883, page 6c,
    22 May 1884, pages 5a-6b,
    12 May 1885, page 6h,
    19 May 1886, page 6h,
    15 December 1886, pages 5a-7c,
    26 and 28 April 1887, pages 5d and 7g,
    10 August 1889, page 6d,
    10 June 1890, page 6g,
    9 September 1890, page 6h,
    13 May 1892, page 6g,
    23 May 1893, page 7a,
    22 August 1893, page 5a-c,
    30 May 1894, page 7e,
    9 and 15 May 1896, pages 4i-6c and 6g,
    21 and 22 May 1897, pages 3g and 5b,
    28 May 1902, page 9d,
    18 September 1902, page 6g,
    25 August 1903, page 4g. Also see
    21 June 1879, page 20f,
    24 April 1880, page 689e,
    14 May 1881, page 860a,
    29 April 1882, page 35a,
    21 April 1883, page 34d,
    22 May 1886, page 35c,
    18 December 1886, page 36d,
    30 April 1887, pages 37d-38c,
    2 November 1895, page 41d,
    16 May 1896, page 44e,
    5 September 1896, page 28e,
    22 May 1897, page 27e,
    27 May 1899, page 30d,
    26 May 1900, page 29d,
    9 June 1900, page 31c.

    Also see Express,
    25 March 1874, page 2c,
    7 April 1876, page 3g,
    15 December 1886, page 7e,
    27 April 1887, page 5e,
    26 June 1889, page 6f,
    10 June 1890, page 3b,
    10 September 1890, page 7c,
    30 June 1891, page 4a,
    13 May 1892, page 3e,
    9 and 22 September 1892, pages 4a and 3d,
    5 April 1893, page 3g,
    27 June 1895, page 3f,
    3 September 1896, page 2b,
    11 March 1897, page 3f,
    3 November 1900, page 31a,
    26 May 1909, page 8e,
    25 May 1912, page 56a,
    27 May 1915, page 5d.

    "The Lady Kintore Cottages" is in the Register,
    27 November 1894, pages 5a-7f.

    "Cottage Homes" is in the Register,
    26 October 1895, page 7c,
    5 December 1895, page 5c.

    "Housing the People" is in the Register,
    11 March 1897, page 4h.

    "Help for the Cottage Homes" is in the Register,
    23 May 1899, pages 4h-7f.

    "Adelaide Workmen's Homes - Architectural Competition" is in the Register,
    14 June 1899, page 7d; also see
    17 March 1900, page 4g,
    26 May 1900, page 6g,
    15 April 1904, page 4i,
    24 February 1906, page 7b,
    5 May 1906, page 6e,
    22 December 1908, page 9d,
    8 June 1910, page 6g,
    10 November 1910, page 6f,
    23 November 1915, page 7a,
    14 February 1920, page 8h.

    "Cottage Homes for the Poor" is in the Register,
    4 June 1900, page 4d,
    "Municipal Cottage Homes - Care for the Poor" on
    26 July 1904, page 5i.

    A photograph is in The Critic,
    18 May 1901, page 23.
    "Municipal Cottage Homes" is in the Register,
    4 March 1905, page 10e; also see
    17 May 1905, page 7d,
    13 June 1906, page 7g.

    "New Cottage Homes [in Stanley Street, North Adelaide]" is in the Register,
    24 November 1906, page 11a.

    A meeting of the association is reported in the Register,
    22 May 1907, page 9c.

    Information on cottage homes is in the Register,
    21 May 1912, page 7d,
    22 May 1914, page 5g.

    "Rigby Cottage Homes" is in the Register,
    16 August 1913, page 15a.

    A jubilee is reported upon in the Express,
    5 July 1922, page 2c,
    7 July 1922, page 5f,
    "Work of the Cottage Homes" is in The Mail,
    29 July 1922, page 18d.

    Information on Lady Thomas's town house at 337 Angas Street is in the Register,
    12 June 1924, page 7f,
    on Jubilee Cottage Homes on
    27 March 1925, page 6e.

    "Homes for the Aged" is in the Register,
    25 June 1926, page 13a.

    Information on the Mundy Cottage Homes is in the Register,
    14 July 1927, page 5d.

    Information on cottage homes is in the Register,
    14 June 1928, page 4d,
    19 May 1937, page 8c.

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