Kennion House was the new informal name given to The Church of England Boys' Home in 1955. The Home took in only boys until 1976 when girls were also admitted. During the 1960s a number of Aboriginal boys from the Northern Territory were admitted. It was run by an independent management committee that reported to the Diocese of Adelaide until 1978, when the Anglican Child Care Services Committee took over management. Kennion House closed in 1982.
Kennion House was the new name given to The Church of England Boys' Home in 1955. The name had been suggested a number of times by the Home Chaplain and it was given to the Home in an attempt to move away from its institutional image. Although, for official purposes, the incorporated name of the Home did not change, from 1955, it was always referred to as Kennion House.
Kennion House continued to provide accommodation for boys until they left school. Younger boys attended St Andrews School and then Walkerville Primary School. Older boys mostly went on to Nailsworth Technical School.
In 1955 a new superintendent, Ivor Snaith, and his wife were appointed to the Home, remaining until 1969. Trained in social work and coming from direct experience working with boys in England, Snaith began to change the institutional tone of the Home. Large tables in the dining hall were replaced with smaller ones and staff, instead of eating separately as they had in the past, shared meals with the boys. Boys were encouraged to participate in sport and an oval was established. Pets were introduced and involvement in outside activities in the community was supported. Snaith also worked to strengthen the relationships between boys and their parents, where it was deemed to be in their best interests. He also organised joint film nights with girls from Farr House in an effort to bring separated siblings into contact with each other. During the 1960s a number of Aboriginal boys from the Northern Territory were placed at the Home as part of an arrangement made with the Northern Territory Welfare Branch.
In 1975 Kennion House, like all other non-government institutions, entered into an agreement with the Department for Community Welfare and began to receive a government subsidy and funding to employ a social worker.
From 1976 Kennion House began to admit girls, primarily the sisters of boys already in residence. In the later 1970s the Home began to shift residents into cottage style care. Eventually the original superintendent's house became Smith Street Cottage, the annexe became Garden Cottage and the deputy superintendent's house became known as Fuller Street Cottage.
In 1978, management of the Home transferred from the Kennion House management committee to the Anglican Child Care Services Committee.
In 1982 Kennion House closed and the property was sold to St Andrews Primary School.
1886 - 1904 The Children's Home at Walkerville
1903 - 1955 The Church of England Boys' Home at Walkerville
1955 - 1982 Kennion House
Sources used to compile this entry: Boy's Home, Walkerville [Image], Date: c. 1930; George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005, http://nunku.org.au/resources/; Bleby, Elizabeth, Church of England Welfare Services in South Australia, Unpublished typescript, Anglican Archives, July 1980.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 3 February 2011, Last modified: 2 November 2017