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Unitingsa
since 1919

UnitingSA for 100 years

In April 2019 UnitingSA celebrated 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.

100 Years, 100 Paintings

Accomplished artist Robert Habel took on the most ambitious project of his career as a salute to UnitingSA’s 100th anniversary. The Mental Health Services coordinator with UnitingSA is creating 100 oil paintings from across South Australia – one for every year since our organisation was founded on April 8, 1919.

“The organisation has been around for 100 years, so I thought the least I could do is 100 paintings,” Robert says. “Our older history is centred in Port Adelaide but now we have services across the state and I wanted to reflect that.”

Robert has spent much of his life travelling the world painting landscapes but in late 2019 turned his attention to preparing and painting 100 canvases for the Centenary project. It has been a long process but one which Robert has embraced ever since UnitingSA Minister Les Underwood first suggested he consider creating an artwork to mark the Centenary.

“When Les asked me, I said it would be an honour,” he recalls.

Robert has travelled across South Australia throughout the year to paint in locations pertinent to our organisation, including places where we still operate services, as well as notable sites that form part of our past. Many of the paintings were displayed at our Centenary Birthday Party at Alberton Oval in October 2019, however the entire series will be permanently installed at the new UnitingSA Aged Care facility in West Lakes when it opens in early 2021.

“The idea is they work as a series but they also have their own presence and their own integrity,” Robert says. “They can work in isolation or be viewed together.”

We have been gradually revealing Robert’s artworks as they are created via UnitingSA’s Facebook page. To follow the journey of his Centenary artwork, visit www.facebook.com/unitingsa or view selected artworks in the gallery below. 

For more information about Robert Habel’s art, visit www.roberthabel.com.au.

Centenary Events 

Read our Flourish magazine to hear about the highlights from our centenary year, including events we staged at UnitingSA sites across metropolitan and regional South Australia.

You can also learn more about our centenary by watching the following YouTube videos:

 

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.

“I would still be on the streets if it wasn’t for the support of UnitingSA. It means the world to me to have a house for my whole family and to be able to tuck my children in at night.”

William,
Received support from Western Adelaide Homelessness Services

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