In the early years of South Australia’s history, services for elderly people were very limited. Many relied on Christian charity in order to survive.
During the Great Depression, the Methodist Church embarked on a new home mission for the many elderly people who had served the Church all their lives yet had no home or family to care for them as they became more elderly and frail. The Methodist Conference of 1932 gave approval for a home for elderly ladies to be established at Brighton, and known as ‘Rest Haven’. (Mark 6:31: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”)
The home was officially opened on May 11, 1935 by Lady Isabel Kidman. Later that year, a large home, ‘Shirley Gardens’ (pictured above), was purchased at Payneham, accommodating 18 women.
Demand for homes for the aged continued to grow. By 1944, the capacity of the home at Payneham was exceeded, and a new, larger property was purchased at what is Resthaven Leabrook today.