The Methodist Children's Homes were located at Penfold Road, Magill. Previously known as the Methodist Children's Home, singular, the institution had consisted of two residences, the purpose built Greenslade Home (1912) and Roberts Home (purchased in 1921). In 1924 with the construction of a third building, Cann Home, the name Methodist Children's Homes became plural.
Cann Home was built specifically to accommodate older boys. Roberts Home was then used to house younger boys while Greenslade became a residence for girls only. The number of children across all three Homes remained around 50 throughout the period 1923 - 1950s.
In 1928 the matron of Greenslade Home was Miss Roper, the matron of Roberts Home was Miss Maddeford and the matron of Cann Home was Miss Lang.
In December 1928 a five year old girl living at the Methodist Girls' Home, Greenslade, died. The Annual report for the following year reported as follows:
'A beautiful little girl of five years of age, slipped away from us, and was buried in the Magill cemetery, where we secured a block of land. The girls of Greenslade Home have raised funds and placed a stone over the grave.'
The burial plot is still maintained and is the site of two headstones, one for this girl and one for another girl, aged four, who died in 1960.
In the late 1940s The Methodist Children's Homes at Magill applied through the Children's Welfare and Public Relief Department and the Commonwealth Department of Immigration to accept migrant children from the National Children's Homes in England. In 1950 fifty English children arrived in Australia and 16 of these children, 11 boys and 5 girls, were sent on to Magill. Newspapers of the time covered the children's arrival in Adelaide in February and followed up with them four months later. The children were reported as 'homesick but smiling'. When interviewed many stated they would have preferred to be back in England. The oldest of the children, talking about the other English children, was reported as saying:
'They really mean it when they say they'd rather be home in England… they get homesick for the winter snow and two-storey houses and the cold weather. But they'll grow out of it.'
'The weather's lovely here… Your people and your teachers are more friendly than they are at home. I love it here… The others will get used to it and they'll come to like it. '
A nine year old boy was quoted as follows:
'Back home the boys and girls lived in the one house. Here we're separated, and I don't see my sister all the time as I did at home. My brother is still in England, and I miss him, too. But the trip out in the ship was wonderful… '
The plan by the Methodist Children's Homes at Magill to take more English migrant children was put on hold when it failed to get permission to build 4 new cottage homes to accommodate the children.
In 1954, Roberts Home was badly damaged in an earthquake and the building was demolished. In the mid-1950s, a new management committee was appointed to oversee the running of the Homes. Under their supervision the Homes grew.
In 1955 Minnie Maughan Cottage, a purpose built cottage accommodating up to 12 children, was added to the site. It was named after the daughter of the founder of the Maughan Church who had worked as Treasurer for the Home's management committee for many years. Until the mid-1950s, although girls and boys were cared for in separate buildings, they still slept in dormitory style rooms. The building of Minnie Maughan represented a move towards providing cottage care in smaller family-like groups.
In 1957 Curtice Cottage was opened when the supervisor's home was converted into a cottage style residence in which brothers and sisters from one family could live together. The same year, the Cann Home building was divided into two independent living units named Cann Cottage and I'Anson Cottage. This change enabled two family groups to live independently under one roof.
In 1958 a number of Aboriginal children from the Croker Island Mission in the Northern Territory were placed at the Methodist Children's Homes.
In 1960, the Methodist Children's Homes were renamed Lentara - the Central Mission Homes for Children.
03 January 2019
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/sa/SE00358
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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