Monday Memories – Headquarters Part 8

“GOODBYE” TO GFS HEADQUARTERS

Before the final move from 532 Hay Street in July 1973, a ‘farewell’ social gathering was held at Headquarters so that GFSers, past and present, could say goodbye to the building which had been the heart of GFS for almost half a century.

Many friendships were renewed on this occasion and memories shared of the happy times at GFS Headquarters. There was an opportunity for those who wished to do so, to speak about special memories they had of the building and this was a very moving experience. The GFS hymn was also sung. It was sad having to say goodbye to a much loved Headquarters, which had brought joy into so many lives, but those happy memories live on.

The Society moved to an office in Law Chambers, and there were many advantages in being part of the Anglican Church Offices on the same floor, and the modern facilities were appreciated. However, we missed having our own centre for meetings and activities and Council and Executive meetings were held either in parish halls, at the GFS Lodge, Hale House Hostel or the Board Room at Church Office.

The money from the sale of 532 Hay Street was invested until a decision was made about rebuilding. For most of the intervening years it was with the Anglican Deposit Fund.  It was to be nearly eight years before there would be a new GFS Headquarters, when rebuilding took place at the GFS Lodge in Adelaide Terrace.

On Tuesday the 23rd of June 2020, we held a Farewell service for Townsend Lodge as like above GFS is changing and evolving like it has done throughout it’s history.  It was a lovely service led by our Chaplain Reverend Rae Reinertsen.  A short snippet of some of Jan’s memories of the lodge is attached, more will be available soon in our “Archives” section of our webpage.
 


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Monday Memories – GFS World Part 3

Following on from Part 1 which was posted on 30th March this year (if you need to refresh your memory!)

PHILIPPINES
Five GFS members from the Philippines spent 1½ days in Perth in October 1972 on their way home from the GFS World Council in Melbourne. They were taken on tours and met a number of GFS members at a picnic and also a dinner at Kings Park Restaurant. They wore their Philippine costumes to dinner, then they all returned to GFS Hale House where they performed the ‘candle dance’ in the darkened lounge, with only the light from the candles in small glass holders balanced on their heads and the palms of their hands. A moving experience to watch.
 

 
 
 
ENGLISH LEADERS

In 1974 Sue Shepherd and Heather Robb, two English GFS leaders, visited Australia for three months leadership training and sharing of skills. They visited all States.  In 1977 two other English GFS leaders, Susan Birrell and Christine Carr, also visited Perth.

WALES
In 1987 it was a special joy to welcome a Welsh GFS leader, Mrs Rosemary Macdonald, who attended a GFS Leader Training Weekend at Wollaston College and spoke about the plans for the GFS World Council to be held in Wales in July.

These many ‘hands across the ocean’ have given us a very special bond with our worldwide GFS.

At each World Council a decision is made on a special World Project for the following three years. The proceeds of these have enabled young women in countries where help is needed to be trained to work with the youth in their churches.  Amongst the countries which have been helped are Kenya, Guyana, the Philippines, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Transki, Caribbean, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Japan and the last one Sri Lanka. In the case of Transkei, a cottage industry was built up to provide employment for young women. The project is used as a teaching medium for GFSers and special material was provided to the branches, to supplement their own research so that the girls learn about the country, its people and their way of life, as well as raising funds for it. The collection at the annual Festival Service in St George’s Cathedral was always given to the World Project.  This is a practice still observed to this day around the world in various forms.
 

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GFS Perth New Contact Details

Update on contact details
 
Just to let you know that there is an update to our contact number going forward 0438 270 364
 
Emails are:  info@gfsperth.com.au   office@gfsperth.com.au   fieldworker@gfsperth.com.au

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Monday Memories – GFS Australia- South Australia

The site of the first GFS meeting in Australia in September 14, 1879 held at Government House Adelaide, convened by Miss Lucy Jervois the Governor’s daughter.

The Australian G.F.S., through South Australia, soon made its mark in the highest councils of the movement.

Mrs Harmer, wife of the Archbishop of Adelaide, and Diocesan President, suggested in England and had adopted a plan for a world day of intercession for G.F.S. The date fixed – June 23, 1898. Later, of course, September 29, St Michael and AH Angels’ Day was set as the special day of G.F.S. prayer.

The Society’s verve in South Australia was amply demonstrated by Silver Jubilee time in 1904, when some original associates still helped with the work.

They were Mrs Marryat and Mrs Z.A. Dutton, Vice­ Presidents: Mrs Field, Treasurer; Mrs Stokes and Mrs Webb, council members; and Miss Hardy, Secretary.

More than 1000 members and associates gathered in the Exhibition Building for addresses by Bishop Harmer and other clergy. Next landmark was G.F.S. week, 1910, marking 30 years’ work in South Australia, including a mass meeting, an exhibition at Holy Trinity, an Associates’ conference and an intercession service in the Cathedral.

The G.F.S. also took a close interest in the British Girls’ Welfare Association, a non-denominational organisation for migrant welfare.

The South Australian G.F.S. Lodge opened in 1913 in a rented building in Kermode Street, North Adelaide. The building was inconvenient, but the G.F.S. carried on there until 1916 when Mrs Robert Barr-Smith bought and gave the G.F.S . a house in Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide.

In 1915, the G.F.S. joined the Travellers’ Aid Society. An associate met every mail steamer, advising any un­attached women and girls where to board, and passed them on to other states if necessary.

The G.F.S. in 1920 sought a voice on the National Council of Women. Mrs T.R. Bowman, a G.F.S. Vice­ President, and Miss D. Goode, also of the G.F.S. were later elected President and Secretary of the NCW.

Golden Jubilee of the G.F.S. in South Australia came in 1929, and celebrations included a social in the Exhibition Hall, a pageant, “The Quest” in the hall, special G.F.S. intercessions, tea in the hall for past and present G.F.S. members, followed by a procession to the Cathedral for the jubilee Festival Service.

Four years after the link with the NCW, the G.F.S. Members’ Diocesan Committee was appointed and in 1920 a Married Members’ Association was formed.

The South Australian society marked the 50th anniversary of the G.F.S. in England with the gift of a fine banner to the Dean and Chapter of St Peter’s Cathedral in July, 1925.

In keeping with the G.F.S. tradition for service, down the years South Australian members have broadened their horizons beyond merely parochial considerations.

Among those serving as missionaries were Sister Ethel Nunn, Miss Mary Offe, Miss Isabel Leonard, Mrs South­ wood, Miss Nellie Hullett, and Miss Ethel Halley.

Other examples of service include wartime membership of the forces, duty in factories, the Red Cross, and other war organisations. Some branches have given fine gifts to their parish churches, others support students at missions, and many work for missions or church homes.

The Commonwealth Chairman, Mrs R.E. Richards, visited Adelaide for the 80th birthday celebrations in 1959, a garden party given by the Archbishop and Diocesan Chairman, Mrs T.T. Reed, drawing G.F.S. people from city and country.

The State-wide flavour was enhanced by the special thanksgiving service in St Peter’s Cathedral. About 60 Country members, associates and juniors came from country branches. Some travelled 150 miles, and billets were arranged in city G.F.S. homes for the weekend.

The G.F.S., at home with everyday affairs, also likes to remember, as at Christ Church, North Adelaide, in 1960 where 500 women gathered for reminiscences.

The South Australian G.F.S. prides itself on remarkable records of unbroken service from All Saints’ Hindmarsh, formed 1880, St Bartholomew’s Norwood (1886) and All Souls St Peters (1897). These days the G.F.S. has annual festival services, handcraft exhibitions, sports, picnics, camps and lodge parties… all popular.

Here is a link to “Adelaidepedia” about the Hostel https://adelaidepedia.com.au/wiki/Girls_Friendly_Society_Hostel


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Monday Memories – Caravan Part 10

There were also loving arms reaching out to the caravan from overseas. Apart from the tremendous support given by GFS in England in raising the money to provide the van and helping it financially for the first year, Miss Edith Yaizey-Hope, Leader of the Swanage, Dorset branch and Perth’s English representative on the Overseas Committee, had a very special request to make. She asked if her branch could become the van’s ‘Godmother’ and send it little gifts from time to time. This was continued during the Depression years and through part of World War II. Some were sold to help the caravan funds and others were suitable for small gifts to those who provided hospitality to the van workers. The link with Swanage branch was very strong and Miss Yaizey-Hope came out to Western Australia as a voluntary worker for several years.
 
The GFS van and the dedication of its workers became well known and often a garage would do repairs at a special price or put extra petrol in the tank without charge. The country people themselves were very grateful for the visits that cheered them in their loneliness and would give the van workers milk, cream, eggs or freshly baked cakes and many times asked them to stay for a meal.
 
Through the years that followed many valued helpers continued to help with the work of the caravan in the outback for varying periods – all in a voluntary capacity. They helped the clergy in whatever way there was a need – visiting the lonely, teaching Religious Instruction in the little schools all over the State, starting Sunday Schools and also linking many hundreds of children with the Sunday School by post. They helped with services (often playing the little portable organ), started GFS branches and linked each one with a city branch where possible, gathered the names of women for Mothers’ Union and men for the Church of England Men’s Society. During the time they were working in these huge parishes, under the direction always of the Rector, they acted as an ‘extra pair of hands’.
 
They were able to pass on information to him about babies to be baptised and young people to be confirmed, as well as families where his help was needed.
 

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Farewell to Townsend Lodge

We would love to have you join us as we say farewell to Townsend Lodge and a service and afternoon tea on Tuesday the 23rd of June 2020.  Please contact the office to let us know if you are coming.

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Monday Memories – GFS World Part 2

Following on from the post on the 30th of March here are the World Council’s with attendees from 1990 onwards. It is a shame that because of Covid-19 the World Council scheduled for next month has been postponed until next year but that will give us more time to save I guess!!

1990 – Sierra Leone
No one attended from WA

1993 – New Zealand
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski

1996 – England
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord, Phyllis McNamara

1999 – South Africa
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord

2002 – Qld Australia
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Patricia Foord, Kate Brewer, Fiona Caporn, Kate Brewer

2005 – Pennsylvania, USA
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord

2008 – Seoul, Korea
Jan McNamara, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Susan Farrell

2011 – Dublin, Ireland
Jan McNamara, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Patricia Foord

2014 – Wales
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Kay Goldsworthy, Merle Moss

2017 – Perth, Australia
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Noeleen & Stephanie Stewart

In 2017 we had the great pleasure of being the city that the World Council was held. We gathered at Swanleigh for 10 amazing days it was truly a wonderful experience.
 
Gallery
 
 
2021 South Africa
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Noeleen, Doug and Stephanie Stewart (Australian Junior World Delegate)

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GFS Perth AGM

 

You are invited to the 2020 AGM

 
 

Thursday 25th June 2020, 6pm @ Townsend Lodge

 
To download your invitation and nomination form please click here
 

 


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Monday Memories – Post War Years Part 1

During the Second World War much of the GFS work was linked with special war efforts. Many branches were affected by their leaders joining the services and the fact that fewer young women were free to take their places.  Blackouts and restricted lighting in church halls also caused problems. Some of the branches were able to continue, but others closed.

After the war, GFS faced a long period of rebuilding and looking at ways in which it could help a new generation of girls. The Executive members saw the need for re-organisation and new ideas in the Society, and in 1948 enquiries began both locally and in the Eastern States for an Organising Secretary. Miss Leila Granrott, a GFS leader from the Diocese of Melbourne, was appointed to this position for six months from February 1949. This was later extended to two years and it was to be a period of dramatic regrowth for the Society. The number of branches grew from 10 to 27 (including one at Boulder and two at Northam) and the membership rose from 150 to 800.

As soon as Miss Granrott took up her position she began to re-organise branches and gave the Society a ‘New Look’ by introducing a uniform for all member s. It consisted of white dress, shoes and beret, a blue triangular scarf and the GFS monogram embroidered in blue on the pocket.  This meant that members were easily recognised at functions they attended. Through her contacts with the clergy and as a result of speaking at Deanery meetings, branches were either revived or formed in at least ten parishes in her first year as Organising Secretary and membership grew rapidly. Miss Granrott placed a strong emphasis on Leader Training and arranged many training sessions and weekends during the time she worked with GFS.

Mrs Gertrude Thompson was the Chairman of the Society during this period and she gave strong backing to Miss Granrott in her outreach.

1949 was a lively year full of growth and well supported activities, and large numbers of members in their new uniforms took part in the Good Friday Procession of Witness, Ascension Day Youth Service and National Fitness Council ‘Youth Week’ activities, which included a Youth Service at Winthrop Hall, and a Youth Pageant at the Royal Show, where GFS had a float and 100 girls marching. Miss Granrott spent a lot of time visiting branches and giving support to both new and established ones.


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Marjorie Burton Part 5

Marjorie Burton Part 5

At an informal meeting with the country clergy at Mr Henn’s residence after the morning service, at which the Misses Holmes, George and Milne Robertson were present, it was suggested that a memorial to Miss Burton be put in hand at once, with a committee being formed from delegates from the Caravan Committee and some of the clergy.
 
Three ideas were put forward :
  1.    A new caravan to be named ‘The Marjorie Burton Caravan’.
  2.    Some permanent memorial to be placed in the cathedral.
  3.    A sum of money as an endowment – the interest to be spent on books or teaching equipment for a needy
       country Sunday School.
With Archdeacon Storrs as Chairman and a strong committee supporting him, the Appeal was soon successfully launched. All the aims were eventually fulfilled. The mission van, which had travelled well over 30,000 miles through the outback of Western Australia for 17 years, was offered to the Archbishop, but as he had no-one in view to continue the caravan work he suggested that the Society sell it. This was done and the money added to the donations received from the Memorial Appeal. It was planned that a Diocesan caravan would be built when the Archbishop felt the time was right and it would be called ‘The Marjorie Burton Memorial Mission Van’. It was to be 10 years before it would be ‘on the road’.  However, the other aims of the Appeal were realised. A painting of ‘The Three Wise Men’ was originally hung as a reredos behind the altar in St Saviour’s Chapel in St George’s Cathedral, but this was later moved and was hanging on the first column to the left of the west door. 
 
The small plaque beneath it is in scribed:

‘The Adoration of Christ by the Wise Men; by Arthur Murch of Sydney, is in memory of Miss Burton, who travelling in the Girls’ Friendly Society Caravan gave devoted service to the Church in this Diocese from 1934 until her death Easter Day 25th April, 1943.

This was dedicated by the Archbishop on Sunday 25 March 1949. The altar rail at the Church of the Epiphany at Mundaring is also in memory of Miss Burton.

The balance of the money was invested by GFS until the Archbishop was ready to have the Diocesan caravan built. In 1953 he advised the Society that he was accepting an offer of a lady in England to be a missioner in WA and asked for the money that was being held towards the building of a new van. On 14 September 1953 Archbishop Moline received Mrs R. H. Moore, who was GFS President when Miss Burton died; Miss A. E. Holmes, Caravan Chairman, Miss E. George, Caravan Treasurer, and Miss Milne Robertson, the last Secretary. The sum of £739.14.9 was presented to the Archbishop. The final report from the Caravan Committee was given to the GFS Council on 4 November 1953. 
 
The Committee then disbanded and the Society’s President and members expressed much appreciation of the many years of work done by this committee. It was 27 years between the first and last meetings – years of achievement under tremendous difficulties at times, but always with a great joy in the service they were giving.

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Leader Training Part 1

Leader Training became an important part of GFS during the two years from 1949-50 that Miss Leila Granrott was Organiser and remained so until the late 90’s.

From 1951-1969 Leader Training courses were held annually at the GFS Headquarters in Hay Street. They were usually for six weeks and concluded with a weekend at Le Fanu House, Cottesloe. Programmes were co­ ordinated by Mrs Trixie Reynolds during the years she was Secretary of the Society.

Christian Education sessions were taken by members of the clergy and other areas of training were covered by panels of outstanding speakers. As new branches opened and membership increased dramatically, more Leaders had to be trained and 30-40 Leaders attended the courses and weekends.

During this time there were also Leaders’ Teas held quarterly before Council meetings. The Ethel Burt Club and Executive Committee members helped Mrs Lund, the House Mother, with the catering and this extra time together gave leaders a chance to share any problems and discuss programmes, as well as developing the fellowship between them.

Apart from the GFS training, some of the Leaders also took the National Fitness Leader Training Course and gained additional qualifications.

In 1962 Miss Joan Ash, GFS Commonwealth Leader Training Officer visited Perth and took a course of specialised training with a group of leaders. These leaders then helped with the training of other leaders the following year.


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Past Chairpersons Part 1

GFS has been blessed with outstanding Presidents (called Chairmen from 1959). Each had special gifts which were used to enrich the life of the Society. Mrs Elizabeth Riley and Mrs Ethel Burt have already been described in the chapter ‘They Built Strong Foundations’.
 
They were followed by:
  • Mrs Margaret Moore (1940-1948)
    Mrs Moore, the daughter of our first President, occupied many of the positions filled by her Mother, including that of President of G FS and the Mothers’ Union. She was a warm hearted, caring and tireless worker for others and involved GFS in many types of outreach within the Church and community.
  • Mrs Gertrude Thompson (1948-1950)
    Mrs Thompson had been involved with the Society for many years as an Associate before she became President and had a deep understanding of the needs of the position. She held office during the years when the ‘New Look’ GFS came into being and the Society began its great surge forward. She was a dignified but very approachable President and took a very active part in all that was going on.
  • Mrs Mary Knight (1951-1957)
    Mrs Knight was the widow of a former Bishop of Bunbury and was President during a time of great progress for the Society. Through her great gifts she led members and leaders in growth in their spiritual lives and in loving service and dedication through G FS. She played an important part in Leader Training sessions and was always ready to encourage and uplift leaders.
Apologies but we are unable to source photographs of these ladies.

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GFS Australia Part 3

GFS LITERATURE

The publishing of literature geared to local conditions became an important task. GFS Australia published its first Book of Prayer in 1950 and a Leaders’ Handbook in 1953. These were followed by Juniors’ , Members’ and Associates’ cards and Guide Books, plus other literature as required. The position of Literature Secretary on Australian Executive is an important one and former Perth Diocesan Chairman, Mrs Merle Davis, (later Sr Michaela, Community of St Clare) made an outstanding contribution to the Society during the time that she carried out this work from 1972-1975.

Later there was Christian Education material produced at a very high standard. The ‘How We Grow’ literature, prepared by Miss June Johncock and Miss Helen Randle of Adelaide GFS, was not only good teaching material, but is also very attractive and appealing to the girls who used it. Other literature for the 12+ age group was also been prepared used across Australia.
 
 

‘COOEE-LINK’

This Australia wide magazine for Juniors and members is also well produced and is distributed throughout Australia.
 

AUSTRALIAN (COMMONWEALTH) LEADER TRAINING

Guidelines were laid down for Leader Training throughout Australia and training manuals produced. There was an Australian Leader Training Officer and Australian Council meetings for a long time, included a training day for Leader s at the beginning of Council.  Special training courses on tape for Leaders in isolated areas of the country were prepared and supervised by the Australian Leader Training Officer. These were used by Leaders in our Bluff Point branch in the North-West Diocese.  There is still a number of high quality training materials available that is still available for GFS leaders.  In the past decade or so there has been a decline in groups and the need for training has been left to each Diocese due to the need to meet the requirements of each individual Diocese in regard to many aspects of training.


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Caravan Part 9

FINANCING THE RUNNING OF THE VAN

Apart from fundraising functions by members of the Caravan Committee, the G FS branches also supported it with money they had collected in many ways. Some were unusual… in the 1927 Annual Report, under the Busselton Candidates’ section, mention is made that “Mrs Kerr took the elder girls out into the country to gather violets, which they sold to help the Caravan Fund.”

The members made baby clothes and knitted bootees and other items as gifts to be taken to the settlers, as well as collecting books, magazines and clothing. The children gave many of their own toys and the van workers often wrote, in a very personal way, how there was always the right gift available when needed. “A toy shop found its way into the hands of a wee girl suffering from spinal trouble  –  a lovely dolly to a dear little motherless girl – and yet another doll to a child just home from hospital from an operation.” When visiting one family they found the baby had cold feet… “so Miss Benthall gave it the blue bootees”.

In recognition of the outstanding work being done throughout the State by the caravan workers, the Archbishop-in-Council gave an annual grant from 1932.  There was continuing financial and other support from GFS members, their friends, and admirers of the work of the caravaners.  The Mothers’ Union also gave donations from time to time in appreciation of the support being given to their members in isolated places. The cost of petrol and repairs to the van as it travelled through such rough conditions was extremely high. On the very first trip the caravan made, one of the clergy suggested that a box be placed in the van for donations towards the petrol, and although people were never asked for contributions, the coins dropped in the box proved a great help in keeping the petrol tank full.  It was also on the first trip that Armadale GFS branch and the Ladies’ Guild in the parish gave a box of small gifts that could be sold and others did the same. This was always called the ‘Petrol Box’.

The offerings in the Sunday School Festivals at St George’s Cathedral were often given towards the upkeep of the van and when convenient it was parked outside the Cathedral so that the children could go through it.
 

 


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Marjorie Burton Part 4

On 16 March 1943 a service was held in St George’s Cathedral before Marjorie Burton left on what was to be her last tour with the GFS caravan. She was accompanied on the first two weeks of the trip by Miss C. Hawtrey, who gave valuable assistance with the teaching during that period.  When it was time for her to return to Perth Miss Burton continued with the tour on her own, travelling in the large parish of Bencubbin, which was without a Rector. She endeavoured to provide as many services as she could in the outlying centres and took five services on Good Friday at different towns, the last being at Nukami, where she collapsed with a heart attack at a private home and was taken to Merredin hospital where she died early on Easter Day (25 April) 1943. The Reverend G. Johnson, the Rector of Merredin, who knew Miss Burton well, ministered to her the night before she died.

Her sudden death was a terrible shock to her many friends throughout the State , as it was not known  until  later  that she had  been  warned  by  a doctor the week  before  that she should  not continue  the tour because  of the condition of her heart.

The Reverend W E. Henn, the Reverend A.W Curtis and the Reverend G. Johnson assisted in very many ways with all the arrangements for the funeral. The Reverend G. Stanley and the Reverend L. Bothamley brought the van to Perth. On 27 April a Requiem was held in St Andrew’s, East Claremont, which was her parish church and where she had many friends, including the Rector (the Reverend W E. Henn) and his wife. Archbishop Le Fanu spoke at the service of the loss Miss Burton’s death meant to the church and the people in the country districts. He expressed the feelings of all when he said:

“We mourn the loss of one who gave nine years’ voluntary service with the van and who endeared herself to so many.  She gave of her best to the Master whom she served so faithfully, and we believe she died as she would have wished – on active service for Him.”

There was a large attendance of clergy and friends at this service and also at the graveside in the afternoon at Karrakatta Cemetery.  About fifteen of the country clergy were present.

Her grave was later to be marked by a special type of cross, which her sisters in England arranged to be made here to their design, and a crucifix sent out from England was affixed to the cross which bears the words:

Miss Marjorie Alice Burton
Died – Easter Day. April 25th 1943
Jesu Mercy
 
   

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Monday Memories – Headquarters Part 8

“GOODBYE” TO GFS HEADQUARTERS

Before the final move from 532 Hay Street in July 1973, a ‘farewell’ social gathering was held at Headquarters so that GFSers, past and present, could say goodbye to the building which had been the heart of GFS for almost half a century.

Many friendships were renewed on this occasion and memories shared of the happy times at GFS Headquarters. There was an opportunity for those who wished to do so, to speak about special memories they had of the building and this was a very moving experience. The GFS hymn was also sung. It was sad having to say goodbye to a much loved Headquarters, which had brought joy into so many lives, but those happy memories live on.

The Society moved to an office in Law Chambers, and there were many advantages in being part of the Anglican Church Offices on the same floor, and the modern facilities were appreciated. However, we missed having our own centre for meetings and activities and Council and Executive meetings were held either in parish halls, at the GFS Lodge, Hale House Hostel or the Board Room at Church Office.

The money from the sale of 532 Hay Street was invested until a decision was made about rebuilding. For most of the intervening years it was with the Anglican Deposit Fund.  It was to be nearly eight years before there would be a new GFS Headquarters, when rebuilding took place at the GFS Lodge in Adelaide Terrace.

On Tuesday the 23rd of June 2020, we held a Farewell service for Townsend Lodge as like above GFS is changing and evolving like it has done throughout it’s history.  It was a lovely service led by our Chaplain Reverend Rae Reinertsen.  A short snippet of some of Jan’s memories of the lodge is attached, more will be available soon in our “Archives” section of our webpage.
 


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Monday Memories – GFS World Part 3

Following on from Part 1 which was posted on 30th March this year (if you need to refresh your memory!)

PHILIPPINES
Five GFS members from the Philippines spent 1½ days in Perth in October 1972 on their way home from the GFS World Council in Melbourne. They were taken on tours and met a number of GFS members at a picnic and also a dinner at Kings Park Restaurant. They wore their Philippine costumes to dinner, then they all returned to GFS Hale House where they performed the ‘candle dance’ in the darkened lounge, with only the light from the candles in small glass holders balanced on their heads and the palms of their hands. A moving experience to watch.
 

 
 
 
ENGLISH LEADERS

In 1974 Sue Shepherd and Heather Robb, two English GFS leaders, visited Australia for three months leadership training and sharing of skills. They visited all States.  In 1977 two other English GFS leaders, Susan Birrell and Christine Carr, also visited Perth.

WALES
In 1987 it was a special joy to welcome a Welsh GFS leader, Mrs Rosemary Macdonald, who attended a GFS Leader Training Weekend at Wollaston College and spoke about the plans for the GFS World Council to be held in Wales in July.

These many ‘hands across the ocean’ have given us a very special bond with our worldwide GFS.

At each World Council a decision is made on a special World Project for the following three years. The proceeds of these have enabled young women in countries where help is needed to be trained to work with the youth in their churches.  Amongst the countries which have been helped are Kenya, Guyana, the Philippines, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Transki, Caribbean, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Japan and the last one Sri Lanka. In the case of Transkei, a cottage industry was built up to provide employment for young women. The project is used as a teaching medium for GFSers and special material was provided to the branches, to supplement their own research so that the girls learn about the country, its people and their way of life, as well as raising funds for it. The collection at the annual Festival Service in St George’s Cathedral was always given to the World Project.  This is a practice still observed to this day around the world in various forms.
 

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Monday Memories – GFS Australia- South Australia

The site of the first GFS meeting in Australia in September 14, 1879 held at Government House Adelaide, convened by Miss Lucy Jervois the Governor’s daughter.

The Australian G.F.S., through South Australia, soon made its mark in the highest councils of the movement.

Mrs Harmer, wife of the Archbishop of Adelaide, and Diocesan President, suggested in England and had adopted a plan for a world day of intercession for G.F.S. The date fixed – June 23, 1898. Later, of course, September 29, St Michael and AH Angels’ Day was set as the special day of G.F.S. prayer.

The Society’s verve in South Australia was amply demonstrated by Silver Jubilee time in 1904, when some original associates still helped with the work.

They were Mrs Marryat and Mrs Z.A. Dutton, Vice­ Presidents: Mrs Field, Treasurer; Mrs Stokes and Mrs Webb, council members; and Miss Hardy, Secretary.

More than 1000 members and associates gathered in the Exhibition Building for addresses by Bishop Harmer and other clergy. Next landmark was G.F.S. week, 1910, marking 30 years’ work in South Australia, including a mass meeting, an exhibition at Holy Trinity, an Associates’ conference and an intercession service in the Cathedral.

The G.F.S. also took a close interest in the British Girls’ Welfare Association, a non-denominational organisation for migrant welfare.

The South Australian G.F.S. Lodge opened in 1913 in a rented building in Kermode Street, North Adelaide. The building was inconvenient, but the G.F.S. carried on there until 1916 when Mrs Robert Barr-Smith bought and gave the G.F.S . a house in Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide.

In 1915, the G.F.S. joined the Travellers’ Aid Society. An associate met every mail steamer, advising any un­attached women and girls where to board, and passed them on to other states if necessary.

The G.F.S. in 1920 sought a voice on the National Council of Women. Mrs T.R. Bowman, a G.F.S. Vice­ President, and Miss D. Goode, also of the G.F.S. were later elected President and Secretary of the NCW.

Golden Jubilee of the G.F.S. in South Australia came in 1929, and celebrations included a social in the Exhibition Hall, a pageant, “The Quest” in the hall, special G.F.S. intercessions, tea in the hall for past and present G.F.S. members, followed by a procession to the Cathedral for the jubilee Festival Service.

Four years after the link with the NCW, the G.F.S. Members’ Diocesan Committee was appointed and in 1920 a Married Members’ Association was formed.

The South Australian society marked the 50th anniversary of the G.F.S. in England with the gift of a fine banner to the Dean and Chapter of St Peter’s Cathedral in July, 1925.

In keeping with the G.F.S. tradition for service, down the years South Australian members have broadened their horizons beyond merely parochial considerations.

Among those serving as missionaries were Sister Ethel Nunn, Miss Mary Offe, Miss Isabel Leonard, Mrs South­ wood, Miss Nellie Hullett, and Miss Ethel Halley.

Other examples of service include wartime membership of the forces, duty in factories, the Red Cross, and other war organisations. Some branches have given fine gifts to their parish churches, others support students at missions, and many work for missions or church homes.

The Commonwealth Chairman, Mrs R.E. Richards, visited Adelaide for the 80th birthday celebrations in 1959, a garden party given by the Archbishop and Diocesan Chairman, Mrs T.T. Reed, drawing G.F.S. people from city and country.

The State-wide flavour was enhanced by the special thanksgiving service in St Peter’s Cathedral. About 60 Country members, associates and juniors came from country branches. Some travelled 150 miles, and billets were arranged in city G.F.S. homes for the weekend.

The G.F.S., at home with everyday affairs, also likes to remember, as at Christ Church, North Adelaide, in 1960 where 500 women gathered for reminiscences.

The South Australian G.F.S. prides itself on remarkable records of unbroken service from All Saints’ Hindmarsh, formed 1880, St Bartholomew’s Norwood (1886) and All Souls St Peters (1897). These days the G.F.S. has annual festival services, handcraft exhibitions, sports, picnics, camps and lodge parties… all popular.

Here is a link to “Adelaidepedia” about the Hostel https://adelaidepedia.com.au/wiki/Girls_Friendly_Society_Hostel


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Monday Memories – Caravan Part 10

There were also loving arms reaching out to the caravan from overseas. Apart from the tremendous support given by GFS in England in raising the money to provide the van and helping it financially for the first year, Miss Edith Yaizey-Hope, Leader of the Swanage, Dorset branch and Perth’s English representative on the Overseas Committee, had a very special request to make. She asked if her branch could become the van’s ‘Godmother’ and send it little gifts from time to time. This was continued during the Depression years and through part of World War II. Some were sold to help the caravan funds and others were suitable for small gifts to those who provided hospitality to the van workers. The link with Swanage branch was very strong and Miss Yaizey-Hope came out to Western Australia as a voluntary worker for several years.
 
The GFS van and the dedication of its workers became well known and often a garage would do repairs at a special price or put extra petrol in the tank without charge. The country people themselves were very grateful for the visits that cheered them in their loneliness and would give the van workers milk, cream, eggs or freshly baked cakes and many times asked them to stay for a meal.
 
Through the years that followed many valued helpers continued to help with the work of the caravan in the outback for varying periods – all in a voluntary capacity. They helped the clergy in whatever way there was a need – visiting the lonely, teaching Religious Instruction in the little schools all over the State, starting Sunday Schools and also linking many hundreds of children with the Sunday School by post. They helped with services (often playing the little portable organ), started GFS branches and linked each one with a city branch where possible, gathered the names of women for Mothers’ Union and men for the Church of England Men’s Society. During the time they were working in these huge parishes, under the direction always of the Rector, they acted as an ‘extra pair of hands’.
 
They were able to pass on information to him about babies to be baptised and young people to be confirmed, as well as families where his help was needed.
 

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Monday Memories – GFS World Part 2

Following on from the post on the 30th of March here are the World Council’s with attendees from 1990 onwards. It is a shame that because of Covid-19 the World Council scheduled for next month has been postponed until next year but that will give us more time to save I guess!!

1990 – Sierra Leone
No one attended from WA

1993 – New Zealand
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski

1996 – England
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord, Phyllis McNamara

1999 – South Africa
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord

2002 – Qld Australia
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Patricia Foord, Kate Brewer, Fiona Caporn, Kate Brewer

2005 – Pennsylvania, USA
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord

2008 – Seoul, Korea
Jan McNamara, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Susan Farrell

2011 – Dublin, Ireland
Jan McNamara, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Patricia Foord

2014 – Wales
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Kay Goldsworthy, Merle Moss

2017 – Perth, Australia
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Noeleen & Stephanie Stewart

In 2017 we had the great pleasure of being the city that the World Council was held. We gathered at Swanleigh for 10 amazing days it was truly a wonderful experience.
 
Gallery
 
 
2021 South Africa
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Noeleen, Doug and Stephanie Stewart (Australian Junior World Delegate)

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Monday Memories – Post War Years Part 1

During the Second World War much of the GFS work was linked with special war efforts. Many branches were affected by their leaders joining the services and the fact that fewer young women were free to take their places.  Blackouts and restricted lighting in church halls also caused problems. Some of the branches were able to continue, but others closed.

After the war, GFS faced a long period of rebuilding and looking at ways in which it could help a new generation of girls. The Executive members saw the need for re-organisation and new ideas in the Society, and in 1948 enquiries began both locally and in the Eastern States for an Organising Secretary. Miss Leila Granrott, a GFS leader from the Diocese of Melbourne, was appointed to this position for six months from February 1949. This was later extended to two years and it was to be a period of dramatic regrowth for the Society. The number of branches grew from 10 to 27 (including one at Boulder and two at Northam) and the membership rose from 150 to 800.

As soon as Miss Granrott took up her position she began to re-organise branches and gave the Society a ‘New Look’ by introducing a uniform for all member s. It consisted of white dress, shoes and beret, a blue triangular scarf and the GFS monogram embroidered in blue on the pocket.  This meant that members were easily recognised at functions they attended. Through her contacts with the clergy and as a result of speaking at Deanery meetings, branches were either revived or formed in at least ten parishes in her first year as Organising Secretary and membership grew rapidly. Miss Granrott placed a strong emphasis on Leader Training and arranged many training sessions and weekends during the time she worked with GFS.

Mrs Gertrude Thompson was the Chairman of the Society during this period and she gave strong backing to Miss Granrott in her outreach.

1949 was a lively year full of growth and well supported activities, and large numbers of members in their new uniforms took part in the Good Friday Procession of Witness, Ascension Day Youth Service and National Fitness Council ‘Youth Week’ activities, which included a Youth Service at Winthrop Hall, and a Youth Pageant at the Royal Show, where GFS had a float and 100 girls marching. Miss Granrott spent a lot of time visiting branches and giving support to both new and established ones.


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Marjorie Burton Part 5

Marjorie Burton Part 5

At an informal meeting with the country clergy at Mr Henn’s residence after the morning service, at which the Misses Holmes, George and Milne Robertson were present, it was suggested that a memorial to Miss Burton be put in hand at once, with a committee being formed from delegates from the Caravan Committee and some of the clergy.
 
Three ideas were put forward :
  1.    A new caravan to be named ‘The Marjorie Burton Caravan’.
  2.    Some permanent memorial to be placed in the cathedral.
  3.    A sum of money as an endowment – the interest to be spent on books or teaching equipment for a needy
       country Sunday School.
With Archdeacon Storrs as Chairman and a strong committee supporting him, the Appeal was soon successfully launched. All the aims were eventually fulfilled. The mission van, which had travelled well over 30,000 miles through the outback of Western Australia for 17 years, was offered to the Archbishop, but as he had no-one in view to continue the caravan work he suggested that the Society sell it. This was done and the money added to the donations received from the Memorial Appeal. It was planned that a Diocesan caravan would be built when the Archbishop felt the time was right and it would be called ‘The Marjorie Burton Memorial Mission Van’. It was to be 10 years before it would be ‘on the road’.  However, the other aims of the Appeal were realised. A painting of ‘The Three Wise Men’ was originally hung as a reredos behind the altar in St Saviour’s Chapel in St George’s Cathedral, but this was later moved and was hanging on the first column to the left of the west door. 
 
The small plaque beneath it is in scribed:

‘The Adoration of Christ by the Wise Men; by Arthur Murch of Sydney, is in memory of Miss Burton, who travelling in the Girls’ Friendly Society Caravan gave devoted service to the Church in this Diocese from 1934 until her death Easter Day 25th April, 1943.

This was dedicated by the Archbishop on Sunday 25 March 1949. The altar rail at the Church of the Epiphany at Mundaring is also in memory of Miss Burton.

The balance of the money was invested by GFS until the Archbishop was ready to have the Diocesan caravan built. In 1953 he advised the Society that he was accepting an offer of a lady in England to be a missioner in WA and asked for the money that was being held towards the building of a new van. On 14 September 1953 Archbishop Moline received Mrs R. H. Moore, who was GFS President when Miss Burton died; Miss A. E. Holmes, Caravan Chairman, Miss E. George, Caravan Treasurer, and Miss Milne Robertson, the last Secretary. The sum of £739.14.9 was presented to the Archbishop. The final report from the Caravan Committee was given to the GFS Council on 4 November 1953. 
 
The Committee then disbanded and the Society’s President and members expressed much appreciation of the many years of work done by this committee. It was 27 years between the first and last meetings – years of achievement under tremendous difficulties at times, but always with a great joy in the service they were giving.

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Leader Training Part 1

Leader Training became an important part of GFS during the two years from 1949-50 that Miss Leila Granrott was Organiser and remained so until the late 90’s.

From 1951-1969 Leader Training courses were held annually at the GFS Headquarters in Hay Street. They were usually for six weeks and concluded with a weekend at Le Fanu House, Cottesloe. Programmes were co­ ordinated by Mrs Trixie Reynolds during the years she was Secretary of the Society.

Christian Education sessions were taken by members of the clergy and other areas of training were covered by panels of outstanding speakers. As new branches opened and membership increased dramatically, more Leaders had to be trained and 30-40 Leaders attended the courses and weekends.

During this time there were also Leaders’ Teas held quarterly before Council meetings. The Ethel Burt Club and Executive Committee members helped Mrs Lund, the House Mother, with the catering and this extra time together gave leaders a chance to share any problems and discuss programmes, as well as developing the fellowship between them.

Apart from the GFS training, some of the Leaders also took the National Fitness Leader Training Course and gained additional qualifications.

In 1962 Miss Joan Ash, GFS Commonwealth Leader Training Officer visited Perth and took a course of specialised training with a group of leaders. These leaders then helped with the training of other leaders the following year.


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Past Chairpersons Part 1

GFS has been blessed with outstanding Presidents (called Chairmen from 1959). Each had special gifts which were used to enrich the life of the Society. Mrs Elizabeth Riley and Mrs Ethel Burt have already been described in the chapter ‘They Built Strong Foundations’.
 
They were followed by:
  • Mrs Margaret Moore (1940-1948)
    Mrs Moore, the daughter of our first President, occupied many of the positions filled by her Mother, including that of President of G FS and the Mothers’ Union. She was a warm hearted, caring and tireless worker for others and involved GFS in many types of outreach within the Church and community.
  • Mrs Gertrude Thompson (1948-1950)
    Mrs Thompson had been involved with the Society for many years as an Associate before she became President and had a deep understanding of the needs of the position. She held office during the years when the ‘New Look’ GFS came into being and the Society began its great surge forward. She was a dignified but very approachable President and took a very active part in all that was going on.
  • Mrs Mary Knight (1951-1957)
    Mrs Knight was the widow of a former Bishop of Bunbury and was President during a time of great progress for the Society. Through her great gifts she led members and leaders in growth in their spiritual lives and in loving service and dedication through G FS. She played an important part in Leader Training sessions and was always ready to encourage and uplift leaders.
Apologies but we are unable to source photographs of these ladies.

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GFS Australia Part 3

GFS LITERATURE

The publishing of literature geared to local conditions became an important task. GFS Australia published its first Book of Prayer in 1950 and a Leaders’ Handbook in 1953. These were followed by Juniors’ , Members’ and Associates’ cards and Guide Books, plus other literature as required. The position of Literature Secretary on Australian Executive is an important one and former Perth Diocesan Chairman, Mrs Merle Davis, (later Sr Michaela, Community of St Clare) made an outstanding contribution to the Society during the time that she carried out this work from 1972-1975.

Later there was Christian Education material produced at a very high standard. The ‘How We Grow’ literature, prepared by Miss June Johncock and Miss Helen Randle of Adelaide GFS, was not only good teaching material, but is also very attractive and appealing to the girls who used it. Other literature for the 12+ age group was also been prepared used across Australia.
 
 

‘COOEE-LINK’

This Australia wide magazine for Juniors and members is also well produced and is distributed throughout Australia.
 

AUSTRALIAN (COMMONWEALTH) LEADER TRAINING

Guidelines were laid down for Leader Training throughout Australia and training manuals produced. There was an Australian Leader Training Officer and Australian Council meetings for a long time, included a training day for Leader s at the beginning of Council.  Special training courses on tape for Leaders in isolated areas of the country were prepared and supervised by the Australian Leader Training Officer. These were used by Leaders in our Bluff Point branch in the North-West Diocese.  There is still a number of high quality training materials available that is still available for GFS leaders.  In the past decade or so there has been a decline in groups and the need for training has been left to each Diocese due to the need to meet the requirements of each individual Diocese in regard to many aspects of training.


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Caravan Part 9

FINANCING THE RUNNING OF THE VAN

Apart from fundraising functions by members of the Caravan Committee, the G FS branches also supported it with money they had collected in many ways. Some were unusual… in the 1927 Annual Report, under the Busselton Candidates’ section, mention is made that “Mrs Kerr took the elder girls out into the country to gather violets, which they sold to help the Caravan Fund.”

The members made baby clothes and knitted bootees and other items as gifts to be taken to the settlers, as well as collecting books, magazines and clothing. The children gave many of their own toys and the van workers often wrote, in a very personal way, how there was always the right gift available when needed. “A toy shop found its way into the hands of a wee girl suffering from spinal trouble  –  a lovely dolly to a dear little motherless girl – and yet another doll to a child just home from hospital from an operation.” When visiting one family they found the baby had cold feet… “so Miss Benthall gave it the blue bootees”.

In recognition of the outstanding work being done throughout the State by the caravan workers, the Archbishop-in-Council gave an annual grant from 1932.  There was continuing financial and other support from GFS members, their friends, and admirers of the work of the caravaners.  The Mothers’ Union also gave donations from time to time in appreciation of the support being given to their members in isolated places. The cost of petrol and repairs to the van as it travelled through such rough conditions was extremely high. On the very first trip the caravan made, one of the clergy suggested that a box be placed in the van for donations towards the petrol, and although people were never asked for contributions, the coins dropped in the box proved a great help in keeping the petrol tank full.  It was also on the first trip that Armadale GFS branch and the Ladies’ Guild in the parish gave a box of small gifts that could be sold and others did the same. This was always called the ‘Petrol Box’.

The offerings in the Sunday School Festivals at St George’s Cathedral were often given towards the upkeep of the van and when convenient it was parked outside the Cathedral so that the children could go through it.
 

 


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Marjorie Burton Part 4

On 16 March 1943 a service was held in St George’s Cathedral before Marjorie Burton left on what was to be her last tour with the GFS caravan. She was accompanied on the first two weeks of the trip by Miss C. Hawtrey, who gave valuable assistance with the teaching during that period.  When it was time for her to return to Perth Miss Burton continued with the tour on her own, travelling in the large parish of Bencubbin, which was without a Rector. She endeavoured to provide as many services as she could in the outlying centres and took five services on Good Friday at different towns, the last being at Nukami, where she collapsed with a heart attack at a private home and was taken to Merredin hospital where she died early on Easter Day (25 April) 1943. The Reverend G. Johnson, the Rector of Merredin, who knew Miss Burton well, ministered to her the night before she died.

Her sudden death was a terrible shock to her many friends throughout the State , as it was not known  until  later  that she had  been  warned  by  a doctor the week  before  that she should  not continue  the tour because  of the condition of her heart.

The Reverend W E. Henn, the Reverend A.W Curtis and the Reverend G. Johnson assisted in very many ways with all the arrangements for the funeral. The Reverend G. Stanley and the Reverend L. Bothamley brought the van to Perth. On 27 April a Requiem was held in St Andrew’s, East Claremont, which was her parish church and where she had many friends, including the Rector (the Reverend W E. Henn) and his wife. Archbishop Le Fanu spoke at the service of the loss Miss Burton’s death meant to the church and the people in the country districts. He expressed the feelings of all when he said:

“We mourn the loss of one who gave nine years’ voluntary service with the van and who endeared herself to so many.  She gave of her best to the Master whom she served so faithfully, and we believe she died as she would have wished – on active service for Him.”

There was a large attendance of clergy and friends at this service and also at the graveside in the afternoon at Karrakatta Cemetery.  About fifteen of the country clergy were present.

Her grave was later to be marked by a special type of cross, which her sisters in England arranged to be made here to their design, and a crucifix sent out from England was affixed to the cross which bears the words:

Miss Marjorie Alice Burton
Died – Easter Day. April 25th 1943
Jesu Mercy
 
   

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Sporting Activities Part 1

Over the years many of the GFS Sports Days were held in the grounds of Perth College and this was an ideal setting. With the big growth of branches and membership in the early 1950s, a larger venue was needed and the athletic carnival was held at the West Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground for five years. This gave the opportunity for an impressive march past of GFS members before the carnival commenced and there was always keen competition for the Anglican Youth Council Cup, which was awarded for the march. There was an emphasis on team games so that as many girls as possible could take part. It was always a colourful day and the Ethel Burt Club members served the afternoon tea.

There were also several athletic carnivals held at the South Perth Zoo. The sports ground there was very attractive, even though there were distractions! One leader remembers having to rescue one of her members who decided to have a ride on the little train that followed the circuit of the oval, at the time when she should have been lining up for a race! The number attending these carnivals was very large. 1,000 GFSers and parents went through the zoo gates in 1959 and other venues were also wonderfully supported.

When the Anglican Sporting Association Ground was first established in 1960 and church youth organisations were asked to support it, GFS gladly did so even though the facilities at the time were not as good as those of other venues. However conditions quickly improved and GFS continued to support it in every way for the next seven years, until its identity changed. The support included considerable fund raising and on two occasions a GFS representative became ‘ASA Sports Girl of the Year.’

In 1960 it was Miss Ellaine Wright, a leader from Millen Branch and in 1961 it was Miss Merle Henderson, a leader from East Fremantle. 580 pounds was raised towards the new sports ground during those two years.

From 1968 the athletic carnivals were held at other venues, including the Zoo and Lathlain Park.

There came a time when many of the girls no longer wanted a highly competitive sports day, but preferred a more relaxed one. As a result, family sports days were introduced, with fun events making them more like picnics. Even this type of activity lost appeal, so the sports days were discontinued and other activities took their place.

This was the way GFS was ready to meet the changing needs of its girls and the same situation eventually happened with the swimming carnivals. Although these had been held at Crawley in the early days, Beatty Park was the natural choice as GFS membership grew rapidly. They were held at that venue for ten years from 1963 and this was a time when competition was very keen between branches, many had outstanding swimmers and the aim was always to ‘break the record.’

However, as with the sports days, there came a resistance to the swimming carnival being so highly competitive and the venue was changed in 1973 to Fremantle Aquatic Centre, where the carnival was held for six years. The emphasis then was on all girls having a chance to swim for their branches, rather than just the best.  In 1979 the venue was changed again to Applecross Senior High School Pool, where it has remained until the end of the carnivals in the 90’s. The carnival was held on a Sunday afternoon rather than at night and became a delightful family outing. The programme was a relaxed one, with many novelty events as well as the traditional races. All age groups take part from Teddy Bears to senior members and leaders, with many teenagers involved, so it obviously has appeal for all age groups.


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Camps Part 2

This period was followed by one in which camps were held at many different places, including Point Walter, Palm Beach, Point Peron, Coogee Beach, Bickley, Pemberton, Woodman Point, Yanchep and the old York Hospital. There were many special camp programmes with visiting speakers from within the church.

In 1968 – a year in which Korea was being studied as the GFS World Project – it was a highlight of the camp at Point Peron when Bishop John Daly of Korea and the Reverend Cyril Manuel, who was the Secretary of the Anglican Missionary Council at the time, visited the camp and Bishop John spoke to the girls about Korea and taught them his special song.

Over the years the programmes at the camps have broadened and an ever widening area of activities has been opened up. Now there is always a special theme for the camps and this is carried through the study sessions and other parts of the programme. Activities include canoeing, archery, hiking, swimming, singing, drama, liturgical dance, crafts of all kinds, concerts, bush dancing, orienteering, films and other interesting and challenging programmes.

An example of how a theme is used was the ‘Dreamtime Camp’ in May 1987, which was centred around dreams in the bible, our own dreams and the dreamtime of the Aboriginals.  The importance that dreams can have in our lives was stressed. There were Aboriginal crafts such as drums, shakers, clicking sticks and painting, as well as bush dancing, a nature trail, nature weaving and a corroboree.

Some branch leaders have special skills and enthusiasm for camping and have taken their girls on many branch camps as well as Diocesan ones. Amongst these have been St Aidan’s Scarborough under the leadership of Miss Hilary Skitch, who organised camps in many far flung places, including Rottnest Island, Geographe Bay (out of Busselton), York, Stoneville, Point Walter and Lancelin.

Kenwick was another branch that was involved in a lot of camping with their leader, Miss Jan McNamara, and others. Some of their venues have been Watermans Bay, North Beach, Point Peron, Rottnest Island and Bickley.

Camping has proved itself as a vital activity in deepening the spiritual lives of the girls, developing new friendships, learning new skills, showing leadership potential as well as ‘just having a great time at camp!’
 


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GFS World Part 1

Although Perth is often referred to as the most isolated city in the world, it has not meant isolation from the world family of GFS for the Society in Perth.

In March 1955 16 year old Hazel Wade of North Perth branch joined twelve GFS members from other States who were travelling to England on the Strathaird to represent Australia at the 80th Anniversary of GFS, to be celebrated in London in June. The party was under the leadership of Miss Beatrice Gerdes from Sydney, who was the Commonwealth Chairman of GFS. The travellers also attended the GFS World Assembly at Shanklin, Isle of Wight, where the first World Council of GFS was formed. The second World Council meeting was held in Switzerland in 1956 and in 1957 Mrs Kathleen Bright-Parker, who was GFS Australian Chairman, was appointed the third World Chairman at the meeting held in New York, USA. The first World Mission Project, which was to assist the Mombasa Diocese, was launched and St Michael and All Angels Day was chosen as the World Day of Prayer.

World Council meetings are now held every three years and GFS leaders from Perth have attended the following:

1962 – Dublin
Misses Margaret Bunday and Merle Cream.

1972 – Melbourne
Mesdames Joy Holland, Joan Beynon, Merle Davis, Joan Matthews and Miss Jan McNamara.

1975 – World Centenary Celebrations and World Council in London.
Mesdames Merle Davis, Stella Usher and Miss Jan McNamara.

1978 – Los Angeles
Miss  Linda Griffiths.

1984 – Japan
Misses Valerie and Rosemary Wall.

1987 – Wales
Miss Jan McNamara.

Visitors to Perth from other countries have also provided special links with our world family. In 1966 we had the privilege of sharing five days with Sister Peninah Mnjama when she arrived in Perth on her way home to Kenya. The young Church Army Sister who was also a GFS leader, had spent 12 months studying at Deaconess House and the Church Army Training College and undertaking deputation work for the Church Missionary Society. During her time in Perth she met hundreds of GFS members at branch rallies.

In 1969 two Korean GFS members, Elizabeth EUN-SIK YI (22) and Agnes JUNG AE YUN (21) from the Diocese of Seoul in South Korea spent 2½ months in Perth as part of an eight month training course in Australia on GFS leadership. GFS had commenced in Korea four years before. All expenses, including fares, were met by GFS in Australia. While in Perth their training was supervised by Deaconess Joyce Polson, GFS Leader Training Officer, who helped them develop valuable new skills and took them to branches as part of their training. They also attended camps and special outings with GFS members. The Perth leaders and members gained a great deal from their visit and Deaconess Polson played a very big part in its success.

Elizabeth and Agnes lived with Bishop and Mrs Brian Macdonald during their stay in Perth and a very strong bond developed between them. The girls regarded the Bishop and Mrs Macdonald as ‘father and mother’.

Before the Korean girls left for Adelaide they presented the Diocesan Chairman (Mrs Merle Davis) with a Korean hymn book and prayer book and a small Korean nag, as well as a Korean GFS badge.
 

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Monday Memories – Headquarters Part 8

“GOODBYE” TO GFS HEADQUARTERS

Before the final move from 532 Hay Street in July 1973, a ‘farewell’ social gathering was held at Headquarters so that GFSers, past and present, could say goodbye to the building which had been the heart of GFS for almost half a century.

Many friendships were renewed on this occasion and memories shared of the happy times at GFS Headquarters. There was an opportunity for those who wished to do so, to speak about special memories they had of the building and this was a very moving experience. The GFS hymn was also sung. It was sad having to say goodbye to a much loved Headquarters, which had brought joy into so many lives, but those happy memories live on.

The Society moved to an office in Law Chambers, and there were many advantages in being part of the Anglican Church Offices on the same floor, and the modern facilities were appreciated. However, we missed having our own centre for meetings and activities and Council and Executive meetings were held either in parish halls, at the GFS Lodge, Hale House Hostel or the Board Room at Church Office.

The money from the sale of 532 Hay Street was invested until a decision was made about rebuilding. For most of the intervening years it was with the Anglican Deposit Fund.  It was to be nearly eight years before there would be a new GFS Headquarters, when rebuilding took place at the GFS Lodge in Adelaide Terrace.

On Tuesday the 23rd of June 2020, we held a Farewell service for Townsend Lodge as like above GFS is changing and evolving like it has done throughout it’s history.  It was a lovely service led by our Chaplain Reverend Rae Reinertsen.  A short snippet of some of Jan’s memories of the lodge is attached, more will be available soon in our “Archives” section of our webpage.
 


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Monday Memories – GFS World Part 3

Following on from Part 1 which was posted on 30th March this year (if you need to refresh your memory!)

PHILIPPINES
Five GFS members from the Philippines spent 1½ days in Perth in October 1972 on their way home from the GFS World Council in Melbourne. They were taken on tours and met a number of GFS members at a picnic and also a dinner at Kings Park Restaurant. They wore their Philippine costumes to dinner, then they all returned to GFS Hale House where they performed the ‘candle dance’ in the darkened lounge, with only the light from the candles in small glass holders balanced on their heads and the palms of their hands. A moving experience to watch.
 

 
 
 
ENGLISH LEADERS

In 1974 Sue Shepherd and Heather Robb, two English GFS leaders, visited Australia for three months leadership training and sharing of skills. They visited all States.  In 1977 two other English GFS leaders, Susan Birrell and Christine Carr, also visited Perth.

WALES
In 1987 it was a special joy to welcome a Welsh GFS leader, Mrs Rosemary Macdonald, who attended a GFS Leader Training Weekend at Wollaston College and spoke about the plans for the GFS World Council to be held in Wales in July.

These many ‘hands across the ocean’ have given us a very special bond with our worldwide GFS.

At each World Council a decision is made on a special World Project for the following three years. The proceeds of these have enabled young women in countries where help is needed to be trained to work with the youth in their churches.  Amongst the countries which have been helped are Kenya, Guyana, the Philippines, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Transki, Caribbean, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Japan and the last one Sri Lanka. In the case of Transkei, a cottage industry was built up to provide employment for young women. The project is used as a teaching medium for GFSers and special material was provided to the branches, to supplement their own research so that the girls learn about the country, its people and their way of life, as well as raising funds for it. The collection at the annual Festival Service in St George’s Cathedral was always given to the World Project.  This is a practice still observed to this day around the world in various forms.
 

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GFS Perth New Contact Details

Update on contact details
 
Just to let you know that there is an update to our contact number going forward 0438 270 364
 
Emails are:  info@gfsperth.com.au   office@gfsperth.com.au   fieldworker@gfsperth.com.au

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Monday Memories – GFS Australia- South Australia

The site of the first GFS meeting in Australia in September 14, 1879 held at Government House Adelaide, convened by Miss Lucy Jervois the Governor’s daughter.

The Australian G.F.S., through South Australia, soon made its mark in the highest councils of the movement.

Mrs Harmer, wife of the Archbishop of Adelaide, and Diocesan President, suggested in England and had adopted a plan for a world day of intercession for G.F.S. The date fixed – June 23, 1898. Later, of course, September 29, St Michael and AH Angels’ Day was set as the special day of G.F.S. prayer.

The Society’s verve in South Australia was amply demonstrated by Silver Jubilee time in 1904, when some original associates still helped with the work.

They were Mrs Marryat and Mrs Z.A. Dutton, Vice­ Presidents: Mrs Field, Treasurer; Mrs Stokes and Mrs Webb, council members; and Miss Hardy, Secretary.

More than 1000 members and associates gathered in the Exhibition Building for addresses by Bishop Harmer and other clergy. Next landmark was G.F.S. week, 1910, marking 30 years’ work in South Australia, including a mass meeting, an exhibition at Holy Trinity, an Associates’ conference and an intercession service in the Cathedral.

The G.F.S. also took a close interest in the British Girls’ Welfare Association, a non-denominational organisation for migrant welfare.

The South Australian G.F.S. Lodge opened in 1913 in a rented building in Kermode Street, North Adelaide. The building was inconvenient, but the G.F.S. carried on there until 1916 when Mrs Robert Barr-Smith bought and gave the G.F.S . a house in Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide.

In 1915, the G.F.S. joined the Travellers’ Aid Society. An associate met every mail steamer, advising any un­attached women and girls where to board, and passed them on to other states if necessary.

The G.F.S. in 1920 sought a voice on the National Council of Women. Mrs T.R. Bowman, a G.F.S. Vice­ President, and Miss D. Goode, also of the G.F.S. were later elected President and Secretary of the NCW.

Golden Jubilee of the G.F.S. in South Australia came in 1929, and celebrations included a social in the Exhibition Hall, a pageant, “The Quest” in the hall, special G.F.S. intercessions, tea in the hall for past and present G.F.S. members, followed by a procession to the Cathedral for the jubilee Festival Service.

Four years after the link with the NCW, the G.F.S. Members’ Diocesan Committee was appointed and in 1920 a Married Members’ Association was formed.

The South Australian society marked the 50th anniversary of the G.F.S. in England with the gift of a fine banner to the Dean and Chapter of St Peter’s Cathedral in July, 1925.

In keeping with the G.F.S. tradition for service, down the years South Australian members have broadened their horizons beyond merely parochial considerations.

Among those serving as missionaries were Sister Ethel Nunn, Miss Mary Offe, Miss Isabel Leonard, Mrs South­ wood, Miss Nellie Hullett, and Miss Ethel Halley.

Other examples of service include wartime membership of the forces, duty in factories, the Red Cross, and other war organisations. Some branches have given fine gifts to their parish churches, others support students at missions, and many work for missions or church homes.

The Commonwealth Chairman, Mrs R.E. Richards, visited Adelaide for the 80th birthday celebrations in 1959, a garden party given by the Archbishop and Diocesan Chairman, Mrs T.T. Reed, drawing G.F.S. people from city and country.

The State-wide flavour was enhanced by the special thanksgiving service in St Peter’s Cathedral. About 60 Country members, associates and juniors came from country branches. Some travelled 150 miles, and billets were arranged in city G.F.S. homes for the weekend.

The G.F.S., at home with everyday affairs, also likes to remember, as at Christ Church, North Adelaide, in 1960 where 500 women gathered for reminiscences.

The South Australian G.F.S. prides itself on remarkable records of unbroken service from All Saints’ Hindmarsh, formed 1880, St Bartholomew’s Norwood (1886) and All Souls St Peters (1897). These days the G.F.S. has annual festival services, handcraft exhibitions, sports, picnics, camps and lodge parties… all popular.

Here is a link to “Adelaidepedia” about the Hostel https://adelaidepedia.com.au/wiki/Girls_Friendly_Society_Hostel


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Monday Memories – Caravan Part 10

There were also loving arms reaching out to the caravan from overseas. Apart from the tremendous support given by GFS in England in raising the money to provide the van and helping it financially for the first year, Miss Edith Yaizey-Hope, Leader of the Swanage, Dorset branch and Perth’s English representative on the Overseas Committee, had a very special request to make. She asked if her branch could become the van’s ‘Godmother’ and send it little gifts from time to time. This was continued during the Depression years and through part of World War II. Some were sold to help the caravan funds and others were suitable for small gifts to those who provided hospitality to the van workers. The link with Swanage branch was very strong and Miss Yaizey-Hope came out to Western Australia as a voluntary worker for several years.
 
The GFS van and the dedication of its workers became well known and often a garage would do repairs at a special price or put extra petrol in the tank without charge. The country people themselves were very grateful for the visits that cheered them in their loneliness and would give the van workers milk, cream, eggs or freshly baked cakes and many times asked them to stay for a meal.
 
Through the years that followed many valued helpers continued to help with the work of the caravan in the outback for varying periods – all in a voluntary capacity. They helped the clergy in whatever way there was a need – visiting the lonely, teaching Religious Instruction in the little schools all over the State, starting Sunday Schools and also linking many hundreds of children with the Sunday School by post. They helped with services (often playing the little portable organ), started GFS branches and linked each one with a city branch where possible, gathered the names of women for Mothers’ Union and men for the Church of England Men’s Society. During the time they were working in these huge parishes, under the direction always of the Rector, they acted as an ‘extra pair of hands’.
 
They were able to pass on information to him about babies to be baptised and young people to be confirmed, as well as families where his help was needed.
 

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Farewell to Townsend Lodge

We would love to have you join us as we say farewell to Townsend Lodge and a service and afternoon tea on Tuesday the 23rd of June 2020.  Please contact the office to let us know if you are coming.

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Monday Memories – GFS World Part 2

Following on from the post on the 30th of March here are the World Council’s with attendees from 1990 onwards. It is a shame that because of Covid-19 the World Council scheduled for next month has been postponed until next year but that will give us more time to save I guess!!

1990 – Sierra Leone
No one attended from WA

1993 – New Zealand
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski

1996 – England
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord, Phyllis McNamara

1999 – South Africa
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord

2002 – Qld Australia
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Patricia Foord, Kate Brewer, Fiona Caporn, Kate Brewer

2005 – Pennsylvania, USA
Jan McNamara, Michelle & George Szymanski, Patricia Foord

2008 – Seoul, Korea
Jan McNamara, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Susan Farrell

2011 – Dublin, Ireland
Jan McNamara, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Patricia Foord

2014 – Wales
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Kay Goldsworthy, Merle Moss

2017 – Perth, Australia
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Kate Brewer, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Noeleen & Stephanie Stewart

In 2017 we had the great pleasure of being the city that the World Council was held. We gathered at Swanleigh for 10 amazing days it was truly a wonderful experience.
 
Gallery
 
 
2021 South Africa
Jan McNamara, Michelle Szymanski, Josie Steytler, Carole Lovejoy, Noeleen, Doug and Stephanie Stewart (Australian Junior World Delegate)

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GFS Perth AGM

 

You are invited to the 2020 AGM

 
 

Thursday 25th June 2020, 6pm @ Townsend Lodge

 
To download your invitation and nomination form please click here
 

 


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Monday Memories – Post War Years Part 1

During the Second World War much of the GFS work was linked with special war efforts. Many branches were affected by their leaders joining the services and the fact that fewer young women were free to take their places.  Blackouts and restricted lighting in church halls also caused problems. Some of the branches were able to continue, but others closed.

After the war, GFS faced a long period of rebuilding and looking at ways in which it could help a new generation of girls. The Executive members saw the need for re-organisation and new ideas in the Society, and in 1948 enquiries began both locally and in the Eastern States for an Organising Secretary. Miss Leila Granrott, a GFS leader from the Diocese of Melbourne, was appointed to this position for six months from February 1949. This was later extended to two years and it was to be a period of dramatic regrowth for the Society. The number of branches grew from 10 to 27 (including one at Boulder and two at Northam) and the membership rose from 150 to 800.

As soon as Miss Granrott took up her position she began to re-organise branches and gave the Society a ‘New Look’ by introducing a uniform for all member s. It consisted of white dress, shoes and beret, a blue triangular scarf and the GFS monogram embroidered in blue on the pocket.  This meant that members were easily recognised at functions they attended. Through her contacts with the clergy and as a result of speaking at Deanery meetings, branches were either revived or formed in at least ten parishes in her first year as Organising Secretary and membership grew rapidly. Miss Granrott placed a strong emphasis on Leader Training and arranged many training sessions and weekends during the time she worked with GFS.

Mrs Gertrude Thompson was the Chairman of the Society during this period and she gave strong backing to Miss Granrott in her outreach.

1949 was a lively year full of growth and well supported activities, and large numbers of members in their new uniforms took part in the Good Friday Procession of Witness, Ascension Day Youth Service and National Fitness Council ‘Youth Week’ activities, which included a Youth Service at Winthrop Hall, and a Youth Pageant at the Royal Show, where GFS had a float and 100 girls marching. Miss Granrott spent a lot of time visiting branches and giving support to both new and established ones.


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Marjorie Burton Part 5

Marjorie Burton Part 5

At an informal meeting with the country clergy at Mr Henn’s residence after the morning service, at which the Misses Holmes, George and Milne Robertson were present, it was suggested that a memorial to Miss Burton be put in hand at once, with a committee being formed from delegates from the Caravan Committee and some of the clergy.
 
Three ideas were put forward :
  1.    A new caravan to be named ‘The Marjorie Burton Caravan’.
  2.    Some permanent memorial to be placed in the cathedral.
  3.    A sum of money as an endowment – the interest to be spent on books or teaching equipment for a needy
       country Sunday School.
With Archdeacon Storrs as Chairman and a strong committee supporting him, the Appeal was soon successfully launched. All the aims were eventually fulfilled. The mission van, which had travelled well over 30,000 miles through the outback of Western Australia for 17 years, was offered to the Archbishop, but as he had no-one in view to continue the caravan work he suggested that the Society sell it. This was done and the money added to the donations received from the Memorial Appeal. It was planned that a Diocesan caravan would be built when the Archbishop felt the time was right and it would be called ‘The Marjorie Burton Memorial Mission Van’. It was to be 10 years before it would be ‘on the road’.  However, the other aims of the Appeal were realised. A painting of ‘The Three Wise Men’ was originally hung as a reredos behind the altar in St Saviour’s Chapel in St George’s Cathedral, but this was later moved and was hanging on the first column to the left of the west door. 
 
The small plaque beneath it is in scribed:

‘The Adoration of Christ by the Wise Men; by Arthur Murch of Sydney, is in memory of Miss Burton, who travelling in the Girls’ Friendly Society Caravan gave devoted service to the Church in this Diocese from 1934 until her death Easter Day 25th April, 1943.

This was dedicated by the Archbishop on Sunday 25 March 1949. The altar rail at the Church of the Epiphany at Mundaring is also in memory of Miss Burton.

The balance of the money was invested by GFS until the Archbishop was ready to have the Diocesan caravan built. In 1953 he advised the Society that he was accepting an offer of a lady in England to be a missioner in WA and asked for the money that was being held towards the building of a new van. On 14 September 1953 Archbishop Moline received Mrs R. H. Moore, who was GFS President when Miss Burton died; Miss A. E. Holmes, Caravan Chairman, Miss E. George, Caravan Treasurer, and Miss Milne Robertson, the last Secretary. The sum of £739.14.9 was presented to the Archbishop. The final report from the Caravan Committee was given to the GFS Council on 4 November 1953. 
 
The Committee then disbanded and the Society’s President and members expressed much appreciation of the many years of work done by this committee. It was 27 years between the first and last meetings – years of achievement under tremendous difficulties at times, but always with a great joy in the service they were giving.

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Leader Training Part 1

Leader Training became an important part of GFS during the two years from 1949-50 that Miss Leila Granrott was Organiser and remained so until the late 90’s.

From 1951-1969 Leader Training courses were held annually at the GFS Headquarters in Hay Street. They were usually for six weeks and concluded with a weekend at Le Fanu House, Cottesloe. Programmes were co­ ordinated by Mrs Trixie Reynolds during the years she was Secretary of the Society.

Christian Education sessions were taken by members of the clergy and other areas of training were covered by panels of outstanding speakers. As new branches opened and membership increased dramatically, more Leaders had to be trained and 30-40 Leaders attended the courses and weekends.

During this time there were also Leaders’ Teas held quarterly before Council meetings. The Ethel Burt Club and Executive Committee members helped Mrs Lund, the House Mother, with the catering and this extra time together gave leaders a chance to share any problems and discuss programmes, as well as developing the fellowship between them.

Apart from the GFS training, some of the Leaders also took the National Fitness Leader Training Course and gained additional qualifications.

In 1962 Miss Joan Ash, GFS Commonwealth Leader Training Officer visited Perth and took a course of specialised training with a group of leaders. These leaders then helped with the training of other leaders the following year.


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Past Chairpersons Part 1

GFS has been blessed with outstanding Presidents (called Chairmen from 1959). Each had special gifts which were used to enrich the life of the Society. Mrs Elizabeth Riley and Mrs Ethel Burt have already been described in the chapter ‘They Built Strong Foundations’.
 
They were followed by:
  • Mrs Margaret Moore (1940-1948)
    Mrs Moore, the daughter of our first President, occupied many of the positions filled by her Mother, including that of President of G FS and the Mothers’ Union. She was a warm hearted, caring and tireless worker for others and involved GFS in many types of outreach within the Church and community.
  • Mrs Gertrude Thompson (1948-1950)
    Mrs Thompson had been involved with the Society for many years as an Associate before she became President and had a deep understanding of the needs of the position. She held office during the years when the ‘New Look’ GFS came into being and the Society began its great surge forward. She was a dignified but very approachable President and took a very active part in all that was going on.
  • Mrs Mary Knight (1951-1957)
    Mrs Knight was the widow of a former Bishop of Bunbury and was President during a time of great progress for the Society. Through her great gifts she led members and leaders in growth in their spiritual lives and in loving service and dedication through G FS. She played an important part in Leader Training sessions and was always ready to encourage and uplift leaders.
Apologies but we are unable to source photographs of these ladies.

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GFS Australia Part 3

GFS LITERATURE

The publishing of literature geared to local conditions became an important task. GFS Australia published its first Book of Prayer in 1950 and a Leaders’ Handbook in 1953. These were followed by Juniors’ , Members’ and Associates’ cards and Guide Books, plus other literature as required. The position of Literature Secretary on Australian Executive is an important one and former Perth Diocesan Chairman, Mrs Merle Davis, (later Sr Michaela, Community of St Clare) made an outstanding contribution to the Society during the time that she carried out this work from 1972-1975.

Later there was Christian Education material produced at a very high standard. The ‘How We Grow’ literature, prepared by Miss June Johncock and Miss Helen Randle of Adelaide GFS, was not only good teaching material, but is also very attractive and appealing to the girls who used it. Other literature for the 12+ age group was also been prepared used across Australia.
 
 

‘COOEE-LINK’

This Australia wide magazine for Juniors and members is also well produced and is distributed throughout Australia.
 

AUSTRALIAN (COMMONWEALTH) LEADER TRAINING

Guidelines were laid down for Leader Training throughout Australia and training manuals produced. There was an Australian Leader Training Officer and Australian Council meetings for a long time, included a training day for Leader s at the beginning of Council.  Special training courses on tape for Leaders in isolated areas of the country were prepared and supervised by the Australian Leader Training Officer. These were used by Leaders in our Bluff Point branch in the North-West Diocese.  There is still a number of high quality training materials available that is still available for GFS leaders.  In the past decade or so there has been a decline in groups and the need for training has been left to each Diocese due to the need to meet the requirements of each individual Diocese in regard to many aspects of training.


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Caravan Part 9

FINANCING THE RUNNING OF THE VAN

Apart from fundraising functions by members of the Caravan Committee, the G FS branches also supported it with money they had collected in many ways. Some were unusual… in the 1927 Annual Report, under the Busselton Candidates’ section, mention is made that “Mrs Kerr took the elder girls out into the country to gather violets, which they sold to help the Caravan Fund.”

The members made baby clothes and knitted bootees and other items as gifts to be taken to the settlers, as well as collecting books, magazines and clothing. The children gave many of their own toys and the van workers often wrote, in a very personal way, how there was always the right gift available when needed. “A toy shop found its way into the hands of a wee girl suffering from spinal trouble  –  a lovely dolly to a dear little motherless girl – and yet another doll to a child just home from hospital from an operation.” When visiting one family they found the baby had cold feet… “so Miss Benthall gave it the blue bootees”.

In recognition of the outstanding work being done throughout the State by the caravan workers, the Archbishop-in-Council gave an annual grant from 1932.  There was continuing financial and other support from GFS members, their friends, and admirers of the work of the caravaners.  The Mothers’ Union also gave donations from time to time in appreciation of the support being given to their members in isolated places. The cost of petrol and repairs to the van as it travelled through such rough conditions was extremely high. On the very first trip the caravan made, one of the clergy suggested that a box be placed in the van for donations towards the petrol, and although people were never asked for contributions, the coins dropped in the box proved a great help in keeping the petrol tank full.  It was also on the first trip that Armadale GFS branch and the Ladies’ Guild in the parish gave a box of small gifts that could be sold and others did the same. This was always called the ‘Petrol Box’.

The offerings in the Sunday School Festivals at St George’s Cathedral were often given towards the upkeep of the van and when convenient it was parked outside the Cathedral so that the children could go through it.
 

 


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Marjorie Burton Part 4

On 16 March 1943 a service was held in St George’s Cathedral before Marjorie Burton left on what was to be her last tour with the GFS caravan. She was accompanied on the first two weeks of the trip by Miss C. Hawtrey, who gave valuable assistance with the teaching during that period.  When it was time for her to return to Perth Miss Burton continued with the tour on her own, travelling in the large parish of Bencubbin, which was without a Rector. She endeavoured to provide as many services as she could in the outlying centres and took five services on Good Friday at different towns, the last being at Nukami, where she collapsed with a heart attack at a private home and was taken to Merredin hospital where she died early on Easter Day (25 April) 1943. The Reverend G. Johnson, the Rector of Merredin, who knew Miss Burton well, ministered to her the night before she died.

Her sudden death was a terrible shock to her many friends throughout the State , as it was not known  until  later  that she had  been  warned  by  a doctor the week  before  that she should  not continue  the tour because  of the condition of her heart.

The Reverend W E. Henn, the Reverend A.W Curtis and the Reverend G. Johnson assisted in very many ways with all the arrangements for the funeral. The Reverend G. Stanley and the Reverend L. Bothamley brought the van to Perth. On 27 April a Requiem was held in St Andrew’s, East Claremont, which was her parish church and where she had many friends, including the Rector (the Reverend W E. Henn) and his wife. Archbishop Le Fanu spoke at the service of the loss Miss Burton’s death meant to the church and the people in the country districts. He expressed the feelings of all when he said:

“We mourn the loss of one who gave nine years’ voluntary service with the van and who endeared herself to so many.  She gave of her best to the Master whom she served so faithfully, and we believe she died as she would have wished – on active service for Him.”

There was a large attendance of clergy and friends at this service and also at the graveside in the afternoon at Karrakatta Cemetery.  About fifteen of the country clergy were present.

Her grave was later to be marked by a special type of cross, which her sisters in England arranged to be made here to their design, and a crucifix sent out from England was affixed to the cross which bears the words:

Miss Marjorie Alice Burton
Died – Easter Day. April 25th 1943
Jesu Mercy
 
   

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