fbpx

UnitingSA
Centenary Hub

UnitingSA for 100 years

In April 2019 UnitingSA will celebrate 100 years of service to the South Australian community. Our organisation started from humble beginnings on 8 April 1919, when the Methodist Church formed the Port Adelaide Central Methodist Mission.

Today, UnitingSA delivers services to individuals and communities from over 30 locations across regional and metropolitan South Australia.

As we look to the future, we will continue to expand and adapt our service profile in response to changing community needs. Through it all our focus remains on realising our vision for a compassionate, respectful and just community in which all people participate and flourish.

To take a detailed journey through UnitingSA’s history, visit our Interactive Timeline.

  • Our past.

    Our organisation started from humble beginnings on 8 April 1919, when the Methodist Church formed the Port Adelaide Central Methodist Mission.

    The Port Adelaide Central Mission sought to respond to the material and spiritual needs of the people amid a devastating worldwide influenza outbreak and the aftermath of the First World War. Soaring unemployment, chronic illness and poverty plagued the Port and within just a few years the Mission was supporting 80 local families with material aid such as food, clothing, blankets, firewood and furniture.

    The Mission provided a range of other practical support, linking families with government rations, counselling the sick and those in need of solace, building vital community infrastructure, and helping with family budgeting.

    As demand grew, so too did our organisation and in 2003 the Mission became UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide. Expansion continued in the following years with people accessing our services from right across South Australia. In 2017, this led us to change our name to UnitingSA.

  • Here and now.

    Today, UnitingSA delivers services to individuals and communities from more than 30 locations across regional and metropolitan South Australia. Each year, our team of over 1,000 staff and volunteers touches the lives of more than 16,000 people through the delivery of programs across aged care, housing, community welfare, disability, mental health, and employment.

    • We help people who are seeking a home to find accommodation.
    • We support people with mental health issues to improve their health and wellbeing.
    • We help children and families thrive, and work with young people to help them connect with community and return to learning.
    • We support people seeking employment to secure training opportunities and jobs.
    • As an NDIS provider, we help people to navigate the changing disability support system.
    • And, each year, we provide over 3,000 older people with flexible care and accommodation options to ensure they lead a happy, healthy and connected life.
  • The future.

    As we look to the future, we will continue to expand and adapt our service profile in response to changing community needs. From our already broad service footprint across South Australia, we will build new programs to support people whose voices are marginalised and needs unrepresented.

    While we cannot predict the future, housing security, access to mental health services and quality aged care will likely be among our top priorities moving forward. We will go where we are needed most, and deliver quality services with integrity to address unmet need.

    We will advocate for communities who do not have access to the resources or support they need to participate vibrantly in our community. Through it all our focus remains on realising our vision for a compassionate, respectful and just community in which all people participate and flourish.

Centenary Launch

We officially celebrated the day of our founding on April 8 with a special event at Port Adelaide Uniting Church, attended by key supporters from our 100-year story.

His Excellency, the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, joined us as a guest speaker. Speeches were also delivered by our Board Chair Gael Fraser, CEO Libby Craft, the Moderator of the Uniting Church Synod in SA, Rev Sue Ellis, and past Superintendent Minister, Rev Don Catford.

“It is incredible to think that on this day, 100 years ago, our organisation began as the Port Adelaide Central Methodist Mission,” Gael told the gathering. “In those early days, nobody could have imagined how significant the work of the Mission would become.”

Libby added: “I would like to think that 100 years from now, another occasion will be held in which future generations will look back and reflect on the positive difference we are making in people’s lives today. It would be incredible to think that by then, our vision for ‘a compassionate, respectful and just community in which all people participate and flourish’ is no longer a vision – but a reality.”

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this special occasion.

Historical Forum

Our free historical forum commemorating UnitingSA’s centenary was a wonderful occasion. More than 50 people came together to explore the evolution of our organisation and what it means to ‘build community’.

We hosted the event on May 15 at Port Adelaide Uniting Church, in partnership with the Uniting Church Historical Society of South Australia.

Many members of the Port Adelaide Uniting Church, local history buffs and former and current UnitingSA staff joined in an interactive day of panel sessions, presentations and special interest seminars.

Our Board Chair Gael Fraser shared her journey with our Minister Rev. Les Underwood during a Q&A session, while our CEO Libby Craft joined former Superintendent Don Catford and CEO Peter Bicknell in a panel discussion delving into past learnings and future challenges for our organisation.

Participants were engaged in smaller group discussions in the afternoon around the topics of community centres, Indigenous culture and reconciliation, ethnic traditions, housing and homelessness, mental health and art, and aged care.

Thank you to all of the facilitators who led discussions and to all of the attendees who shared their time throughout this informative and engaging day!

SALA Exhibition

A mixed media art exhibition titled ‘Beyond the Wharf Sheds’ was the third keynote event in our centenary calendar. The exhibition celebrated the talent that lies within UnitingSA’s clients, residents, staff, families, carers and volunteers of all ages and experiences.

The exhibition was launched on 23 August and ran until 1 September at the Black Diamond Gallery in the heart of Port Adelaide. We were overwhelmed with submissions and are excited to say we showcased over 90 artworks!

The City of Port Adelaide Enfield Mayor Claire Boan officially opened the exhibition to a tremendous turn-out of artists, family and friends from the UnitingSA community, including staff, volunteers and the people we support.

Our Board Chair Gael Fraser also spoke at the event, giving special thanks to WSE employee Darren Terrell who came up with the idea for the exhibition, and to WSE Manager Penny McAuley for all her work bringing his vision to life.

WSE supported employees Matt Stokes, Simon Bartholomaeus and John Hindmarsh also put their talents front and centre, entertaining the audience with their own original music. For some, it was their first time performing publicly and they did a fantastic job.

UnitingSA was proud to present this inaugural exhibition which reflects our vision for a compassionate, respectful and just community in which all people participate and flourish.

Centenary Birthday Party

After months in the making, our Centenary Birthday Party at Alberton, South Australia on October 19 was a huge success.

More than 700 community members, staff, clients and supporters gathered at Alberton Oval to commemorate 100 years of service to South Australians.

An official welcome was delivered by SA Minister for Child Protection, Rachel Sanderson, followed by three hours packed with free activities, food and entertainment.

The Centenary Birthday Party wraps up a year of celebrations held across UnitingSA sites in regional and metropolitan SA.

A big thank you to our staff, volunteers and event partners for making this event one to remember. Proudly supported by the Port Adelaide Football Club, Maughan Thiem, the Employee Foundation of SA Power Networks, SUEZ, Belmore Nurses, Butterfields, Shannahan Crash Repairs, CMI Toyota and Compliant Fire Services

Nobody can do everything but everyone can do something.

UnitingSA relies on the generosity of donors to help deliver innovative programs and support for people in need across metropolitan and regional South Australia.

“What I like about working here is it’s like a family. The workers here love their job, and the reason they enjoy it is because they are accepted.”

Wayne Loughhead,
WSE Supported Employee

Call Now!