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South Australian Housing Trust

Elizabeth HouseIn 1936 the South Australian Parliament established Australia's first state
housing authority, the South Australian Housing Trust. The Great Depression
had accentuated the need for adequate housing and the Trust was required
to provide "accommodation necessary for decent living at low rentals".

With an initial grant from the government of 25,000 pounds the founding
Trust members under the Chairmanship of Sir William Goodman met for
the first time on January 12 1937. The Trust held three house design
competitions in 1937, Number One was limited to members of the South
Australian Institute of Architects, Number Two was open to builders, craftsmen
and other architects and Number Three was open to the public. The winner of Number One competition, Hubert Cowell, FRAIA, was appointed architect for
the first 46 houses. Forty of these houses were built at Boomerang Road,
Croydon Park and six at the corner of King William Street and McNicol Terrace, Rosewater. The first house was completed on 22 November 1937 at Rosewater
and occupied by Dorothy Whelan. Numbers 35 and 37 McNicol Terrace are indicative places on the National Heritage Register. By the end of 1939 512
houses had been completed. The Trust expanded its program to include
Whyalla in 1940 and the first houses were completed there in 1941.

The years following World War II saw a sharp rise in the demand for affordable housing particularly for the families of returned service personnel and for the large number of migrants arriving from the UK and southern Europe. The first houses were constructed in Mt. Gambier in 1945, the first shops were built in 1946 at Albert Park and the 10,000th Housing Trust house was completed in 1951.

The ambitious post war migration program created a need for housing, jobs and the products of industry. In response to the shortage of available land in the existing metropolitan area a 1950 report proposed the development of outer suburban sites or the construction of a satellite town. The Playford government responded by purchasing more than 4000 acres between Adelaide and Gawler, and the construction of houses for the new town commenced in 1954. Following considerable debate regarding the name of the new town, on 16 November 1955 the Premier, Tom Playford, named the town Elizabeth, in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Eizabeth II. The following day the first residents, the Pinnegar family, received the key to their new home from J. Cartledge, Chairman of the Housing Trust. Elizabeth was also the site of the first factory constructed by the Housing Trust in 1957 when Pinnock Manufacturing took possession of their factory in 1957, and then on 22 April 1959 the Trust built Lyell McEwin hospital at Elizabeth Vale was opened.

The Housing Trust has continued to respond to the needs of South Australians and innovations in housing. Urban redevelopment projects, emergency housing, housing for the disabled and the transfer of properties to the Aboriginal Housing Authority are just some of the ways the Housing Trust has positively influenced the social and economic life of South Australians.

In May 2006 the government announced the amalgamation of the South Australian Housing Trust, the Aboriginal Housing Authority and the South Australian Community Housing Authority, into Housing SA, a one stop shop to meet the housing needs of South Australians.

Housing SA 
Australian Heritage Database

Kilner, David. Housing policy in South Australia since white settlement, Adelaide :, c2005 
Marsden, Susan. Business, charity and sentiment : the South Australian Housing Trust, 1936-1986, Netley, S. Aust. : Wakefield Press, 1986

State Library Archives
SRG 660 South Australian Housing Trust


Artist's sketch of an Elizabeth house
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First Housing Trust tenant at Elizabeth.
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First residents move in
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Housing Trust holds first meeting today
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Housing Trust launch at Elizabeth.
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Newest town in the state
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S.A. Housing Trust home, Rosewater
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Sir Thomas Playford at the opening of Elizabeth
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The Housing Trust 1936-1986. Half a century of achievem
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Typical homes erected at Elizabeth
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