Stirling Cottage was the second suburban cottage home established by the government. It opened in 1962 at St Peters. The Cottage accommodated up to ten State children in a family-style setting under the supervision of a cottage mother. Children attended local schools and churches. In 1979 Stirling Cottage was renamed the Northern Region Admission Unit.
Stirling Cottage was the second of six suburban cottage homes to be opened by the Children's Welfare and Public Relief Department during the 1960s. The other cottages were Merrilama Cottage at Glenelg, Clark Cottage at Clarence Park, Spence Cottage at Kensington Gardens, Colton Cottage at Thorngate and Hay Cottage at Lockleys.
Stirling Cottage opened on 31 January 1962. It was named after Sir Edward Stirling, the first President of the State Children's Council, and his daughter, Harriet, who was the first female President. The cottage accommodated up to ten children under the supervision of a cottage mother. The first cottage mother was Miss M Smith. She had one full-time assistant and a part-time daily helper.
Children placed at the Home were those who were under the care of the State. Departmental Annual Reports from the 1960s stress the belief that cottage style care enabled greater individual attention to be given to each child. The Department also felt that children living in cottage style accommodation and attending local schools would be less conspicuous as 'State' children, making it easier for them to become part of the local community. The cottage system aimed to simulate a form of family life with children sleeping in bedrooms rather than dormitories. It also allowed for brothers and sisters to be placed together. It was expected that children would attend church and other social activities as members of the cottage family.
Departmental reports also noted that providing cottage style care was less costly for the government than running large institutions.
On 19 February 1979, as part of a restructuring of departmental facilities, Stirling Cottage was renamed the Northern Region Admission Unit.
Sources used to compile this entry: George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005, http://nunku.org.au/resources/; Mullighan, the Hon E.P., Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry: Allegations of sexual abuse and death from criminal conduct, presented to the South Australian Parliament by the Hon. E.P. Mullighan QC, Commisioner, Children in State Care Commission of Enquiry, Adelaide, South Australia, 2008, 564 pp, https://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/107201/children-in-state-care-commission-of-inquiry-introducation.pdf; Annual Report of the Children's Welfare and Public Relief Board, 1962.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 14 February 2011, Last modified: 13 February 2014