The Junction Story: Spirit of Place 

Published / by Dean Eland

Church buildings on the corner of Grand Junction Rd and May Tce Ottoway have been a meeting place for local residents since the congregation was established by the Port Adelaide Congregational church in 1911.  Throughout WW1, the depression and post WW 2 years the neighbourhood minister was the Rev Norm Fraser who served for three terms, a total of 24 years. In the 1950s new homes were built by the SA Housing Trust and the arrival of migrants at the Pennington hostel saw major changes in the social makeup of the region.

Following the formation of the Uniting Church in 1977 the Ottoway congregation became part of a joint pastorate with Port Adelaide and in 1983 merged with three other churches to form the Trinity Alberton congregation on the corner of Torrens Rd and Station Place.

In 1984 I began an 8-year ministry and questions were raised about the future of the Ottoway property. Following discussions with local Port Adelaide councillor, Rex Searle, Sister Marie Victory, principal of the local catholic school, St Joseph’s, local businessman Clare Nicholls and the Mothers and Babies nurse, Mary Foley, the UCA Alberton Port Adelaide parish agreed to support the Junction Community Centre as a locally based incorporated association. The Junction Community Centre was opened on 28 Oct 1989 by the SA Minister for Community Welfare Don Hopgood.

Over the past 37 years the Junction has captured the spirit of place that marked the ministry of the congregation from its early days. With active and experienced staff and volunteers the Junction is now a busy seven day a week social and support centre for residents from many backgrounds. Local UC congregations continue to be involved based on a lease arrangement with the Uniting Church. As the song goes, All are welcome so check out their web site.

In many ways its current seven days a week programme reflects the social experience that made up the weekly routine of the former congregation. Visitors often comment that the centre is a wonderful model of adaptation and reuse of a church building that continues to be a meeting place, bringing people together to support one another, a chance to rebuild their lives, feel at home and sense the spirit of place.

A recent visitor to the Junction shared her impressions. “This is a great example of the UCA using its assets for the benefit of the neighbourhood. A community building opportunity with an attitude of hope and care in some of our most disadvantaged suburbs. The Junction is a thriving neighbourhood centre running all kinds of activities from sewing to Tai Chi, dance groups, bus trips, markets, fitness classes to cooking adventures. There are lots and lots of activities; basically, if someone wants to run something, the Steering Committee gives it a go.”

Rev Dr Dean Eland. President of the UC SA Historical Society.

Contact Dean if your group or congregation have questions or would like to know about the way the historical society serves the church.

” In order to understand the present its necessary to know the past.”