Seaforth Home was the new name given to Seaforth Convalescent Home at Somerton in 1946. Run by the government, Seaforth accommodated up to 100 children including, boys and girls, aged between 0 and 6, and girls up to the age of 18. Most were deemed to be destitute or neglected. The Home also took in some children with disabilities. Seaforth closed as a large congregate care institution in 1975 and was replaced by five cottages - Tintoo, Morada, Kandarik, Reception and Slade Cottages.
In 1946 Seaforth Convalescent Home at Tarlton Street, Somerton Park was renamed Seaforth Home. The departmental Annual Report for 1950 described Seaforth Home as an institution for male and female infants and toddlers up to six years of age, and girls up to the age of eighteen.
The majority of children placed at Seaforth were those charged as 'destitute' or 'neglected', or 'under unfit guardianship'. Some girls were committed to Seaforth because of minor behavioural problems or truancy. No child could be committed to the home if he/she had committed an offence.
Children from different age groups were accommodated in separate dormitories and the home provided a large nursery for babies. In 1950 the kindergarten area of the Home was reported to be overcrowded. As a partial solution to this, the Children's Welfare and Public Relief Board moved boys under the age of six who were ready for primary school, to the Glandore Industrial School. Despite this, during the 1960s the average number of children at the Home was close to 100 with a staff to children ratio of 1 to 12. By 1968 the home was also taking in children with intellectual and/or physical disabilities and babies who required specialist care.
In October 1969 the Seaforth Auxiliary was formed. This group comprised a number of women who made regular visits to the home to provide attention and care for younger children up to the age of six.
In 1970 Seaforth was still providing residential care for 90 children, but numbers were steadily declining.
By 1973 the Home only accommodated 30 children, most of whom had intellectual and/or physical disabilities. At that time Seaforth Home was already moving away from using large dormitories. The Home was instead divided into four units: one for children with disabilities, one specifically for babies and toddlers and two further 'family-oriented' units for other children. Each provided temporary short-term accommodation for children while long-term placements were organised. The children were under the supervision of both male and female staff members.
Seaforth Home closed in 1975 and that year was replaced by five independent cottage Homes on the same site. Two cottages took the name of cottages that had been operating a Glandore - Reception and Slade Cottages. The other three were named Tintoo, Morada and Kandarik.
Seaforth Home came under scrutiny during the 2004-2008 Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry. A number of women who had lived in the Home came forward to give evidence of abuse.
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.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 24 February 2011, Last modified: 1 November 2017