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Prominent child welfare advocate, Peter Sandeman (b. 1955), was in a children’s home and foster care as a child before being adopted. 

Peter Sandeman was in Barnardo’s Orphanage at Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom, as a baby with his twin brother.

Peter’s mother was a Japanese translator. She became pregnant during an affair with an American man, and her English fiancée refused to marry her unless she gave the babies up for adoption. Peter and his brother were fostered by a conservative Christian couple who later adopted the boys and migrated with them to Australia. Peter did not find out he and his twin were adopted until he was fifteen. 

After graduating from Norwood High School in Adelaide, Peter attended Flinders University.

At university, he became involved in Labour Party student politics and met his future wife, Deborah, a member of the Society of Friends. The couple went on to have two kids, Patrick and Gemma. Reflecting on his time at university, Peter remarks, 

When I look back, on learning about the world, about leadership, about working with movements and about the incapacity to change some of society’s institutions from on campus or, indeed, from anywhere, so I learnt a lot in those days (Sandeman in Somerville, 2)

Peter has had a long and successful career in the community sector, particularly in South Australia. He helped form Mission Australia, comprised of five mission organisations throughout Australia during his time as CEO of Adelaide Mission.

Peter then became CEO of Anglicare Canberra/New South Wales, an agency providing community services within the diocese of the Anglican church. While serving in this role he was ordained as a deacon by the Bishop of Canberra.

As co-chair of the Zero Project, Peter describes the project as:

…bringing a coalition of groups together that would work on a concerted basis so that we could overcome what is a real pressure point in Adelaide, and that is street homelessness…(Sandeman in Somerville, 6).

In December 2020, Peter retired as Chief Executive Officer of AnglicareSA after serving for eight years in the role. In 2021 he joined the Housing Trust as Director, Strategic Advice to offer guidance to the South Australian State Government on homelessness and social housing services reform.

Peter also continues to work as an Adjunct Industry Professor at the University of South Australia Business school.   


Kelsall, Thomas. “Former Anglicare chief joins Housing Trust.” InDaily, October 27, 2021. 

Murchie, Allison. “Peter Sandeman.” State Library Of South Australia 

J.D. Somerville Oral History Collection, 2019. 

Image available here.