Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Adelaide Benevolent Society Reception

It is a pleasure, as your Patron, to welcome you to Government House to mark the 175th anniversary of the Adelaide Benevolent Society.

There is a long tradition of the Governor of South Australia lending his or her patronage to the Society, which I have been honoured to continue.

Ever since the Proclamation of our State in 1836, the principles of fairness, opportunity, and compassion have defined us as a society.

These principles have been at the heart of what the Adelaide Benevolent Society does, through its mission to provide housing and financial support to those who need it most.

Importantly over that time the work of the Society has steadfastly given people hope, dignity and safety – and the security of a place to call home.

In that regard, I congratulate the boards past and present for your dedication to the quest of redressing inequality.

After all, it is no small feat to have steered the organisation through the vicissitudes of 175 years!

Not for the first time in your history, but in today’s context of cost-of-living pressures, rising housing prices, low rental vacancy rates and a dramatic increase in rental costs, your work is crucial.

In a wealthy country such as Australia, no-one should face being unable to afford to access a roof over their heads. The cost of accommodation should not deepen poverty, disadvantage, homelessness, and emotional insecurity.

But thankfully there is hope.

Because of the Adelaide Benevolent Society, people such as single mother Eileen had a home just days before her lease expired.

Out of the blue, she had been given six weeks’ notice. She found 60 or more people applying for the same alternative private rentals and she thought she could be facing living in a car.

Because of the Society, Barry has had a unit for six years that provides him with convenience and serenity in his senior years.

There are many other personal stories. Since inauguration, the Society has supported more than 55,000 vulnerable people with housing and grants.

It is heartening to note that the Society currently houses more than 360 people across 29 residential sites and continues to fund the small grants program, administered by the Wyatt Trust.

The two affordable holiday units in Victor Harbor mean that people who otherwise might not be able to afford a holiday can take a restorative break.

An asset renewal plan has refurbished older homes, thereby improving the housing stock alongside the purchase of 19 homes in the past four years.

I wish you well in the quest to continue to grow the number of homes you can provide, mindful that applications for rental vacancies are being received as never before.


The building from which the Adelaide Benevolent Society still operates was the result of a generous bequest from Thomas Elder in 1887.

And while the city landscape around the building in Morialta Street has changed immensely, the work within and the resolve within endure.

I have every faith that the board and its supporters will continue that resolve for the next 175 years and beyond.

Coming events