First established nearly fifty years ago by dedicated animal lover and advocate Joy Richardson, Animal Welfare League of South Australia began by caring for lost and abandoned cats.
Consisting of a cottage, two shops and a garden, a dedicated team of volunteers created the first cattery on Magill Road in Norwood. Everyone worked tirelessly to raise the funds we needed to care for the many cats that arrived at their door.
Lost Dogs Society and AWL merged in 1966 to care for dogs as well as cats. Relocating to a property at Horsnell Gully, the centre was in a basic four-room cottage built on twelve acres of land. At the start, the only water source came from a creek running through the property. As AWL became more financially secure, we connected mains water and hired more staff to meet the growing demand for help.
Sadly, the number of lost and abandoned animals kept increasing during the next few years. AWL urgently needed larger premises to ensure we could continue caring for thousands of lonely and unloved dogs and cats.
In 1976, premier Don Dunstan opened a new shelter on six acres of land at Wingfield. As a result, AWL could continue caring for thousands of animals without any government funding. In recent years, up to 700 dogs and cats could be on-site at any one time. The facility included a purpose-built boarding centre, a crematorium, a dog grooming centre and a vet clinic.
Over the years, we've relied heavily on the support of an outstanding team of dedicated staff and volunteers. Day after day, they give their all to look after the animals in our care. We couldn't provide our lifesaving services to every animal that arrives at our door without your support. YOU make our vital work possible.
Fifty years on, AWL now has a brand new Animal Care Centre at Wingfield with a dedicated cat adoption hub and best-practice vet facilities. This Australian first offers a fear-free experience for dogs and cats, allowing potential adopters the chance to get to know the pets in the most stress-free environment possible.
Our state-of-the-art pet crematorium hosts a series of single chamber units for animals of all sizes. At our facility in Edinburgh North, we work with councils to reunite lost and stray animals with their owners.
With the generous support of our volunteers, donors, and the wider public, AWL will continue bringing people and pets together for our community's wellbeing for years to come.