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.