The Draper Memorial Church on Gilbert Street was built in 1869. It commemorates the life and work of Methodist Minister Daniel James Draper.
Draper, his wife and 244 passengers had tragically drowned three years earlier, in January 1866 when their ship was caught in a severe storm in the Bay of Biscay. Only 17 of the 263 onboard survived.
For 40 years Draper Memorial Church played an important role in the Methodist community. It was sold in 1936 to an apostolic denomination, and demolished in 1971. However, the church’s former manse remains.
The manse was built in 1883. Reverend William H. Cann lived in it briefly before converting it into the Adelaide Central Mission Boys' Hostel. The hostel provided temporary accommodation for roughly 30 young men aged 16 and older "who desired a Christian home in the city". Additions costing £5000 were made and the hostel was officially opened on 3 July 1926.
The hostel was just one of the many forms of aid that the Adelaide Central Mission provided to people in the southwest, as the economy declined in the 1920s. In 1921, Reverend Cann remarked, "We know every poor case in the west-end of the city, and we get them from many of the other suburbs too."
Unemployment and destitution increased, and in June 1930 the Adelaide Central Mission and its new missioner Samuel Forsyth, set up the innovative 'Kuitpo Industrial Colony'. There unemployed men could raise as much of their own food as possible to keep themselves fit physically, mentally, and morally during their period of unemployment.
The Draper Memorial Manse is as a reminder of the important charitable work of religious denominations in the southwest corner of the city during the 1920s and 1930s.