Girls Friendly Society Hostel

Girls Friendly Society Hostel

Stephen Joyce arrived in South Australia in 1850 and made his way as a painter and a grocer, having this house erected in 1859 to replace a more primitive iron house. It was next owned and occupied by Joseph John Green from 1876 until his death in 1903. Green’s widow, Sarah Ellen, remained there until her death in 1915.

J.J. Green arrived in 1849 and was a carrier and leather grinding merchant, starting that business in 1867. He was a city councillor from 1881 to 1883, and also president of the Chamber of Manufactures.

Like many other large North Adelaide residences the house was put to a new use in the 20th century. It became a residence of quite a different type, albeit with impeccable social connections. In 1915 it was bought by the Girls’ Friendly Society (GFS) for use as a lodge to accommodate immigrant girls. It was not sold by the GFS until 1975, after social changes had reduced the need for hostel accommodation, both by new arrivals and by young women working or studying in Adelaide.

The Girls’ Friendly Society was introduced from England, the first Australian branch being established in Adelaide by the governor’s wife, Lady Jervois, and her daughters in 1879. It developed into a major Anglican organisation. A church historian, G.H. Jose, wrote in 1954 that the society “operated at first rather patronisingly in parish preceptory meetings, but [it] has developed into an active and useful body well deserving the name”. A more glowing account was provided in the GFS history, which described the activities as “wonderful in their diversity and numbers”. The girls raised thousands of pounds for church institutions and charities, they distributed clothing to the poor, supported missionaries, raised funds to help build and beautify their parish churches, taught in the Sunday schools, sang in the choirs, cheered the suffering, and competed “in elocutionary, folk-dancing, vocal, instrumental, dramatic, needlework, drawing, painting and cooking competitions”.

Lady Jervois stressed the need for a home for newly arrived immigrant girls. A lodge was first established by the GFS in private rooms in Halifax Street in 1887, but was closed for lack of use in 1888. Finally a GFS lodge was established in 1913 when a house was rented in Kermode Street. The permanent lodge was moved in 1915 to this house on Pennington Terrace thanks to the “generous gift” of Mrs R. Barr Smith. Other donations enabled the later construction of an attached hall. The principal facade is prominently situated near the pavement alignment overlooking the Park Lands and is dominated by the balcony, decorated in cast-iron. The building is of three levels, with 11 rooms in all, and is notable for its intact appearance. It is a relatively early example of this type of residence and is constructed in a variety of rubble to the ground floor. This variety of materials, the later appearance of the balcony and ironwork, and other inconsistencies suggest that the first floor is an addition, probably of the 1870s. Possibly this was carried out when Green bought the house. Additions made at the rear mar the building’s authenticity and considerable renovation has occurred internally. Since 1975 the building has consisted of private apartments. However, it remains a distinctive streetscape feature.


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The whole lodge represented the philanthropic donations and voluntary efforts of many hundreds of South Australian women, as did so many other large, charitable institutions. GFS membership as a whole reached its peak of 359 members in 1915, so that this lodge was also a reflection of the energies of a numerically large and active organisation.

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Images of Girls Friendly Society Hostel

  • Girls Friendly Society Hostel, 1984
Building materials
Stone, Limestone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.6 Filigree
1859 -  

Additional Works

First floor added

Construction commenced
c. 8/4/1870
Construction completed
Architecture and design features
cast iron, balustrade, stucco, frieze
Engineering features
Lower North Adelaide
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Stephen Joyce
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Dwelling, House
AS2482 classification
16010 - House
Public Access
Private residence
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5011/168 S6074 UCP CT 5011/167 S6074 U6 CT 5987/352 S6074 U5
NTSA file exists
Heritage Status
State Heritage listed
State heritage listing
State Heritage listed
Date of State heritage listing
Local heritage listing
Date of Local heritage listing
NTSA listing
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
2 Peopling a city
2.2 Immigration
6.4.3 Friendly Societies
6.4.4 Community and Service Organisations
Salvation Army
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments, 1852, 1858, 1859; Hines, M., Fifty years' history of the Girls' Friendly Society in South Australia, 1929, pp. 26, 28; Jose, G.H., The Church of England in South Australia, 1856-1881, Vol. 2, 1954, p. 28; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 706); Morrison, W.F., The Aldine history of South Australia, Vol. 2, 1890, p. 737; Observer
  • 14 February 1903.

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