Salvation Army Women's Hostel

Salvation Army Women's Hostel

Adelaide’s prim and pretty image in the late 19th century did not obscure the poverty and degradation of some districts. Soon after his arrival in Adelaide in 1881, Captain Sutherland, the colony’s first Salvationist leader, wrote to William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army: “This is a suitable town for the Army, there is so much drunkenness and prostitution going and sin of all sorts and I feel there is a great work to be done.”

The Salvation Army in Australia was founded in Adelaide in 1880, with John Gore and Edward Saunders as its guiding lights. Its first official meeting was held on September 5, 1880, in Botanic Park. The Adelaide Corps developed into a vigorous taskforce. When it marched from the city to Port Adelaide in February 1881 to meet the new leader from England, Captain Sutherland, there were 68 committed Salvationists.

The Salvation Army crusaded against poverty, drunkenness and corruption. It was soon patrolling streets in night brigades, visiting the brothels and opium dens of the west end and offering practical help.

From the late 1890s the Salvation Army provided low-cost accommodation throughout Australia for homeless men, hostels for men and women, and maternity hospitals for unmarried mothers. The Salvation Army Women’s Hostel was one of these.

It was designed by Percival Dale, a Salvation Army officer, and built in 1922. The need for such a hostel arose out of women’s growing interest in an independent working life outside the domestic sphere. This produced a marked demographic shift in the ratio of women to men in Adelaide during the 1920s as young women moved into clerical, professional and other jobs in the city.

Sutherland Lodge was built to cater for some of the basic needs created by this shift. It was designed as a safe home for young working women and students, most of whom came from the country, and has continued to provide this service for more than 60 years.

The building’s design is typically institutional, with residential overtones reminiscent of Victorian terraces. The art nouveau-inspired detailing of the balconies and verandah relieves its austerity. It appears to be built of a concrete frame with red-brick facing. Only minor alterations have been made in its conversion to private apartments.


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The building is historically significant for its association with one of the oldest charity organisations in Australia.

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Images of Salvation Army Women's Hostel

  • Salvation Army Women's Hostel, 2014
Percival Dale
Building materials
Brick, Concrete
Architectural styles
3.12 Inter-War Period (c. 1915–c. 1940), 3.21 Functionalist & Moderne
1922 -
Architecture and design features
balcony, veranda, art nouveau
Engineering features
South East Corner
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Salvation Army
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Dwelling, Shared lodging
AS2482 classification
18100 - Historic Sites (unclassified)
Public Access
Limited public access
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5523/856 F182579 A117 CT 5523/715 F182580 A118
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
3.1 Economic Cycles
3.1.8 New Technology and City Development
3.7 Working Men and Women
3.7.3 Office Workers
4.4 Residential Development, Building Types and Living Conditions
4.4.4 Philanthropic Housing
John Gore, Edward Saunders
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, Annual report, 1921, p.
  • 51,BSO index, 17 October 1927,
  • Digest of Proceedings, 7 June
  • 1921; Bolton, B., Booth’s drum,
  • 1980, pp. 10, 13; Dale, P., Salvation chariot, 1952; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 427); State Heritage Branch, File 6628-13107; Tarling, L., The Salvation Army in Australia 1880-1980, 1980, p. 25.

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