Allambi Girls' Hostel was opened by the government in 1947 at Norwood. It was established to assist girls working in Adelaide, who were wards of the state, when it was recognised that many girls leaving state homes could find no suitable accommodation in or near the city. During its first year the hostel was home to 14 girls ranging in age from 14 to 20 years. The hostel was named Allambi, an Aboriginal word meaning 'a quiet resting place', and it aimed to provide shelter and support for girls starting out in adult life. The Hostel was also known as the Norwood Girls' Hostel.
Girls at Allambi were trusted to come and go daily, subject to the consent of the matron. They were even permitted to have a boyfriend, again subject to the approval of the matron. Outside activities were supported and regular attendance at church and Sunday school expected. Three evenings a week girls were permitted to go out. On nights at home they were encouraged to read, sew, listen to music, attend singing lessons arranged at the home or do their laundry and other chores.
Each girl's boarding fee was individually calculated based on her wages. A compulsory system for banking also operated. Girls were taught self-discipline and trained to save money, only using it for necessities such as additions to their wardrobe. The two-storey hostel building was situated on extensive grounds which included a tennis court.
From June 1956 until May 1957 the hostel was used as alternative accommodation for selected 'trustworthy' girls from Vaughan House, the government reformatory at Enfield which was suffering from problems of over-crowding. While resident at Allambi these girls were taught dressmaking, handicrafts, singing and gymnastics. In June of 1957, the hostel returned to its former use. In November 1959, due to a further shortage of accommodation at Vaughan House, Allambi once again operated as an annexe to the reformatory, housing 11 girls. Just six months later the girls were moved out. From 1961 the home was again used a Hostel, this time for selected school aged girls who were State wards.
Allambi Hostel closed on 30 September 1977.
06 January 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/sa/SE00086
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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