WHEN THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN HOUSING TRUST WAS SET BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT during the 1930s Depression, it continued in the footsteps of the Adelaide Workmen's Homes Trust by providing homes for working men and their families to rent or buy.
Philanthropic associations were established within a short time of European settlement.
The first secular philanthropic society, the Adelaide Benevolent and Strangers' Friend Society from 1849 provided housing for the poor, as well as providing relief to the sick and indigent, "especially among newly arrived immigrants”. The society went on to build row houses in Stanley Street and Kingston Terrace, North Adelaide, in 1906.
St Joseph's Providence was a home for aged women in Franklin Street until 1951 when it moved from West Terrace to Cowandilla.
In 1872, the Cottage Homes organisation, with a membership of prominent people, was incorporated in 1878. By 1922, the society had provided homes for more than 600 men and women. They built cottage homes (alms houses) at Stanley Street in North Adelaide and other homes at Brompton, St Leonards, Mitcham, Prospect, Kilkenny and Rose Park.
Other types of accommodation were established for those unable to provide adequate housing for themselves and their families.
Under the will of Thomas Elder, who died in 1897, left a generous legacy to set up the Adelaide Workmen's Homes Trust to build 48 houses. The organisation was modelled on the British Peabody Donation Trust.
Thirty two cottages were built in seven blocks in Angas Street by 1900. The remaining 16 dwellings were completed by 1906. Only 13 dwellings remain, after Adelaide City Council demolished them to make way for the Frome Street extensions in the late 1950s and early 1960s. (Other Adelaide Workmen’s Homes estates were also built in Mile End and Richmond.)