Regular readers of our blog will remember our profile of South Australian credit union stalwart, Barbara Wellington, which we published in January. That post noted that she was instrumental in creating Adelaide United Credit Union. It related that she was approached by Adelaide Central Mission about the possibility of starting a credit union for people in severe financial hardship in the Adelaide area.

The April 1983 edition of Australian Credit Unions Magazine featured an article titled “The Credit Union with a Conscience” on the beginnings of Adelaide United and the part played by Ms Wellington. It noted:

“In the late 1960s the Mission had tried to establish a form of budget assistance in an effort to educate low income earners in money management but it had not been effective. One of the people involved in discussions on the subject in 1970 was Barbara Wellington, manager of the ABC Credit Union in Adelaide, and she broached the idea of using a proven credit union budget savings scheme as a possible solution”.

It goes on to say that:

“A steering committee was formed to examine the possibility and it was decided that a credit union with a firm base of employees of the Mission and its aged care and charitable institutions was a viable foundation on which to build. It was felt that with such a firm base, low income people could be helped through the Budget Account and a worthwhile service could be offered to the employees of the Mission. And so it was that the then Adelaide Central Mission Credit Union was born on 6th October, 1971”.

Barbara Wellington was elected Chairman, with Kelvin Dickens taking on the Vice-Chairman’s role and Mavis Ellis appointed as Secretary. Ms Ellis eventually became full-time secretary manager as there became more work to do with the growth of the credit union.

Adelaide Central Mission Credit Union became Adelaide United Credit Union in 1981 with an expanded bond covering employees of local “aged care institutions, private hospitals … as well as members of churches and those referred for financial counselling. The name ‘Adelaide United’ was adopted to more suitably relate to the new bond area”, noted Australian Credit Unions Magazine.

The same article quoted Joanne Brinkies from the South Australian Department of Welfare office on the benefit that Adelaide United brought to her client base. “Working with the Credit Union has been the first step of independence and, after some time, all other contact with Welfare agencies has stopped [for some clients]”, said Brinkies.

In 1986 Adelaide United Credit Union transferred engagements to Australian Central Credit Union.