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South Australia - Organisation

Morialta Protestant Children's Home (1924 - 1972)

  • Protestant Children's Home

    Protestant Children's Home, October 1924, courtesy of State Library of South Australia.

Children's Home, Home and Protestant

The Morialta Protestant Children's Home was established in 1924 at Norton Summit. It was run by an independent Board of Management. In 1930 the Home accommodated 109 children under the supervision of 10 staff. School aged children at Morialta attended the Norton Summit Primary School. The Board of Management opened the Toorak Gardens Boys' Hostel in 1967. The Hostel and the Children's Home were together renamed Morialta Children's Homes Incorporated in 1972.


The Morialta Protestant Children's Home opened in 1924 at Norton Summit in the Adelaide Hills. The building was the former family home and station of a pioneer pastoralist, John Baker. Known as Morialta, it had been built in 1847. In May 1924 a public meeting was held at the Adelaide Town Hall to raise funds for the establishment of a children's home. Many prominent members of Adelaide society made contributions. As a result, the South Australian Protestant Federation purchased Morialta in June 1924.

The first eight children moved into the Home shortly after it opened in October 1924. Six months later, on 30 April 1925, the Home was incorporated. By 1928 a Board of Management was in charge of the institution, comprising representatives of a number of religious and philanthropic organizations including the Independent Order of Oddfellows (IOOF), the Congregational Union, Churches of Christ, the South Australian Protestant Federation, the Baptist Union and the Presbyterian Church.

At the time of incorporation 25 children aged between 4 and 13 years were residing in the Home. School aged children attended the local Norton Summit Primary School. By 1928, 43 boys and 22 girls were accommodated at the Home and in 1929 a new separate block of dormitories for the boys was erected. Once more beds were available the number of children admitted to the home increased. By 1930 the home was full with 109 children living under the supervision of ten staff members.

During 1948-1949 a documentary film, called The Open Door, was filmed at the Home in order to make the work of Morialta more widely known.

In 1966 the Board became concerned that many boys leaving the home to start work had difficulty finding suitable accommodation. In 1967 it purchased a property at Toorak Gardens and opened a hostel for boys who were studying or working. The addition of this Home to the work of Morialta led to a name change. From 1972 the two Homes together became known as the Morialta Children's Homes Incorporated.


1924 - 1972
Location - Morialta Protestant Children's Home was situated at Norton Summit Road, Norton Summit. Location: Norton Summit


 1924 - 1972 Morialta Protestant Children's Home
       1972 - 1974 Morialta Children's Homes Incorporated

Run By

  • Morialta Protestant Children's Home, Board of Management (1924 - 1974)

    Morialta Protestant Children's Home was run by a board of management comprising representatives of the Independent Order of Oddfellows [IOOF], the Congregational Union, Churches of Christ, the SA Protestant Federation, the Baptist Union, the Presbyterian Church and Public Subscribers.

    Date: 1924 - 1974

Related Archival Series

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations



  • King, Malcolm, The boy, Spindrift Publications, Brighton, 1981. Details
  • Scottney-Turbill, Peter, Morialta: Fire in the Mist, Adelaide, 1994. Details

Online Resources


"Morialta", Norton Summit
c. 1890
State Library of South Australia


Protestant Children's Home
Protestant Children's Home
October 1924
State Library of South Australia


Sources used to compile this entry: 'SCREEN STORY OF CHILDREN'S HOME', The Mail (Adelaide, South Australia), 11 June 1949, p. 3,; George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005,

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George