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National Trust of South Australia 50th year history


Carol Cosgrove and Susan Marsden wrote this entry as the second chapter in their book Challenging Times, the 50th anniversary history of the National Trust of South Australia. The idea for a South Australian National Trust drew on the formation of the ‘National Trust for Places of Historical or Scientific Beauty’ in England, the world’s first National Trust. There were efforts to form a Trust prior to 1955 and agitators were concerned to preserve significant parts of both the natural and historic built environment in South Australia. The catalyst for the Trust’s eventual formation was Premier Sir Thomas Playford’s decision to overturn a decision to proclaim a large part of the Younghusband Peninsula a bird sanctuary. The National Trust of South Australia, established in 1955, was the second branch of the National Trust to be set up in Australia after New South Wales, and was the first Australian branch to be incorporated under an Act of Parliament.

Challenging Times covers the period from the National Trust’s formation in 1955 to the 50th anniversary in 2005. The book includes chronologies at the beginning of each chapter and information on the formation and work of its many branches.

The authors acknowledge and thank the National Trust of South Australia for permission to reproduce this history from Challenging Times.


Carol Cosgrove and Susan Marsden, ‘Chapter 2 Groundwork, 1955-64’, in Challenging Times, National Trust of South Australia 50th Year History, National Trust of South Australia, Adelaide, 2005, pp 25–50.

Caroline Cosgrove has undertaken research and heritage significance assessments for various heritage surveys in South Australia, including a Twentieth Century Heritage Survey (1928–1945) for the Department for Environment and Heritage, and a City of Adelaide Heritage Survey (2008) for Adelaide City Council. In 2009 Caroline completed a Department for Environment and Heritage Fellowship with the University of South Australia Architecture Museum. She produced a report, ‘Art Deco: its place in South Australia’s architectural heritage,’ and a monograph, Moving To The Modern, Art Deco in South Australian Architecture. She has been a member of the National Trust (ACT) Council and a president of the Professional Historians Association (SA).
Dr Susan Marsden is a professional historian (and a founding member of the PHA) who runs her own consultancy business, writing commissioned histories, recording oral histories, carrying out heritage surveys and preparing other reports, talks and exhibitions. She has worked as South Australia’s State Historian, and as National Conservation Manager for the Australian Council of National Trusts in Canberra, and has been a member of both ACT and SA Heritage Authorities as well as national heritage committees She is presently a member of the State Records Council and of the SA Heritage Council’s Register Committee. She is author/co-author of many publications, those relating to South Australia’s history and heritage including Historical guidelines (SA Historic Preservation Plan); Heritage of the River Murray; Business, charity and sentiment: the SA Housing Trust 1936–1986; Heritage of the City of Adelaide; Our house: histories of Australian homes (Internet); Challenging times: the National Trust of South Australia 1955–2005; and Twentieth century heritage survey – stage 1 (1946-59) & stage 2 (1928-45).

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