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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Headquarters Part 7

The vision and courage of those involved with the administration of GFS is shown by the way they took on the repayment of five thousand pounds on the GFS Headquarters because they believed the building was an essential part of the caring mission and outreach of GFS. It was to be just on 30 years before the building was finally free of debt in 1956 and this was only possible through the rent from the two shops on the ground floor, continuous fund raising by GFS members and regular financial support from the GFS Lodge Committee.

The fundraising took many forms. There were musical productions at His Majesty’s Theatre and the Perth Town Hall, with hundreds of people in the cast, GFS balls, river trips, fetes and many other functions held for the same purpose. In addition the GFS Associates’ Committee held monthly bridge parties at Headquarters towards the debt reduction.

The Depression years were very difficult ones, as shop rents had to be reduced, and for many years it was only possible to pay the interest on the loan. As time went on, there were heavy expenses for maintenance to the building, including repairs to the roof, replacement of wiring and pipes and painting. This was in addition to ‘day to day’ running costs.

In spite of the careful managing of funds that was needed, these years were also ones of great outreach for the Society, with large numbers of branches and over 1600 members in Perth Diocese alone. A great deal of social work was done in the community at that time and the proceeds from some of the musical productions were given to charity rather than being kept by the Society for debt reduction.

Although the clubs that operated from GFS Headquarters played an important part in the lives of countless people, there were many other ways in which the building was used. There were socials, wedding receptions, exhibitions, leader training, rallies for country members , Synod teas, orphans’ parties, craft classes, mission film nights and countless other activities. It was the centre for co-ordinating the work of the caravan for 17 years and also for welfare work by GFS during the Depression years. There was a committee formed at Headquarters to help those in need of clothes and many hundreds of garments were prepared and given to Deaconess Genders to distribute in her district or to the Diocesan Secretary to help those who came to the building for help. These included many unemployed girls who had heard of the GFS centre and appealed for assistance. Several hundred of these were found jobs during this time.

Others helped were invalid members of the Society, who did beautiful church needlework or made knitted, crocheted or hand-stitched garments which were displayed in a glass case at Headquarters and orders taken without any charge made for the service.

There were many others who used the Headquarters building apart from GFS. For many years during the 1940s the Mothers’ Union had a room there until they moved to Church Office in 1949. In 1968, when plans for rebuilding left them homeless, GFS welcomed them back to their Headquarters for several years and there was a very happy relationship always between the two organisations. CEBS and CEGS also had offices in the building for a number of years. GFS was keen to help in this way by providing economical accommodation for fellow church organisations. The building sometimes saw ‘welcomes’ to new Archbishops and other church dignitaries. (There were 85 GFS leaders present at a welcome to Archbishop Geoffrey Sambell.) There was usually a farewell function at Headquarters when the wife of the Governor, who was always the Patron of GFS, left the State.

The building was a nurturing place for some new organisations needing a large, central meeting room. Amongst these were the Rhythmic Girls League, Alcoholics Anonymous, an orchestra and sports clubs.

One of the rooms overlooking Hay Street was made into a beautiful little chapel and was used for that purpose for many years.

@lostperth @cityofperth
 
Gallery

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GFS Australia Part 2

So it was that a party of GFS Associates and members from England arrived at Adelaide in 1879 to be met by Lady Jervois, wife of the Governor of South Australia. Their voyage, by sailing ship, lasted eight months.
It is notable that the society’s beginnings in this country took place, as in England, in venerable surroundings. The first GFS. meeting here was held in Government House, Adelaide, convened by Miss Lucy Jervois, the Governor’s daughter, on September 14, 1879.
 
The Vice-Regal family provided the main office-bearers. Lady Jervois was elected first president and her daughters Lucy and Carrie became secretary and treasurer. The Society flourished.
The Society’s early beginnings in Australia were largely uncoordinated and very much a local affair. Not really surprising, having regard to the entirely different environment from the British model, especially lack of a central body to align the GFS. in its infancy.
 
East State G.F.S. worked under a separate treaty with the parent body in England. The Society operated through 15 dioceses, each loosely linked with the State headquarters but working under their own constitutions.
Indeed, Mrs Dorothy Wright, widow of the Archbishop of Sydney attested to the difficulties, in her introduction to the Australian section of the Diamond Jubilee Chronicle for Overseas:

“The advance has been difficult amongst so many and varied conditions and there are even at times difficulties practically unknown in the Mother Country.

“Especially is this the case in the country or bush dioceses where leaders are few, distances are great and the means of transit not easy.

“The places of meeting, even, are not always forthcoming but yet the country branches bravely struggle on and do a splendid work.”

In 1880 one year after the South Australian Society’s inception, the New South Wales GFS began, followed by Victoria (1881), Queensland (1882), Western Australia (1884) and Tasmania (1901).

@GFSAustralia


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Mission Work Part 2

  Misses Margaret and Jennifer Lees, twin sisters who served as Missionary teachers in Melanesia, were GFS members at St Mary’s South Perth for many years before they moved to the parish of Applecross. They were also given practical and prayer support by GFS to help them during the years they served as Missionaries in Melanesia.
Because of Government assistance with schooling and medical requirements, the time came when the articles which had been sent were no longer required. GFS then concentrated on fund raising for Missions and a gift from the “Marginal Giving” list at the Mission office was often chosen for the members to work towards.

Branches were also encouraged to work towards their parish Mission Target. Amongst fund raising efforts by GFS members were:

• $100 towards the cost of a jeep for the Anglican Mission at Agene­hambo in Papua New Guinea.
• $100 raised to help with repairs to the mission boat used by Maxine Fuller at Kumbun, Papua New Guinea.
• $500 towards the cost of printing hymn books in Koran language for the people of Burma.
• $500 for a film projector for the Holy Name School for Girls, Papua New Guinea.
• $250 to help purchase a new boat for the Diocese of the New Guinea Islands.
• $700 to build a semi-permanent house for a priest in UIAKU, Papua New Guinea. Most of the cost of this was raised through making and selling lamingtons.
• $700 to help provide education bursaries for students at Selwyn College in the Solomon Islands and to assist Oombulgurri Mission in the North-West of Western Australia.

The aim in GFS Mission programmes was always to make the girls aware of the wide Mission work of the church, and speakers, films and other means were used. Links have been made between some Missions and GFS branches and some GFSers have penfriends as a result of this. A GFS Mission badge was always a popular one and so the interest was nurtured within the branch.

Today, the ties still continue with PNG and the Solomon Islands, with yearly visits to PNG by GFS Australia members. GFS World supported the Solomon Islands with a world project about 5 years ago which was completed in 2018 with a visit by GFS Australia members to help with the project.

@GFSAustralia
 
       

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Monday Memories – Camps Part 1

Camps have been an important part of GFS from early in the last century.

Miss Emmie Holmes, who has been mentioned before in Monday Memories, was keen to help GFS continue its outreach through camps and in 1948 she donated a block of land in Gooseberry Hill to be used as a camp site for GFS. It was in a beautiful position but could not be used for a camp immediately because the area did not have roads, power or water.

GFS hoped  to be able to eventually use the site as a camp, but it was a long time before the area was opened up and in the meantime many camps of a high standard had been set up in the hills and were available to youth groups. The land was sold in 1982 and the proceeds invested. The interest was later used to help with GFS office expenses and branch work.

In the 1950s one of the popular camps for GFSers was at Bickley, although the venue was nothing like the luxurious accommodation provided there now.

In 1953 GFS decided to buy a cottage in Kalamunda so that branches could have an opportunity for regular weekend camps. This was a special outreach for the Society because it was believed it would fill a real need with the large number of members in GFS. The money was borrowed to purchase the Kalamunda house, which was opened and blessed by Archbishop Robert Moline. It was used a great deal for many years, but with girls preferring a regular change of venue, it was sold in 1959 as it was felt it had served its purpose.
 

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Monday Memories – GFS Headquarters Part 6

ETHEL BURT CLUB

At the beginning of 1947 the Married Members’ Committee which had been formed in 1940 was renamed the ‘Ethel Burt Club’ with the permission of their much loved GFS President. (Later on, the club became the ‘Ethel Burt Townsend Fellowship’) Miss M. Milne Robertson was the Chairman and Mrs Boyes the Secretary in 1947 and they continued in those positions for many years. Meetings were held monthly and the membership grew from 35 to 77 in the next five years.

The programmes included drama, recitals and lectures.  The members trained as a choir under Mrs Bird, with Mrs Lappin as accompanist. They helped with the singing at the GFS Festival Services, as well as providing entertainment at various functions. The Ethel Burt Club was a great support group for any Diocesan functions, providing afternoon teas at sports days and exhibitions, as well as assisting with Leaders’ Teas.

It was a very happy club where lifetime friendships were made. The members brought their babies and young children to the meetings and the spacious hall and other areas provided wonderful opportunities for the young ones to play together. One of the special joys was that two generations of pre-schoolers shared these meetings with their mothers.

When the Headquarters building was sold in 1973 the club was no longer able to continue in the same way, but the links of friendship were strong and the remaining members continued to meet monthly over coffee to keep in touch, and did for many years after.

HEADQUARTERS TOWNSEND FELLOWSHIP

The Headquarter s Townsend Fellowship was formed in 1948 for GFS members over twenty five years of age who were not attached to a branch. Miss Amy Woodbridge was the first President and Miss Rose Tuck the Secretary. Their programmes included speakers, visits to places of interest, ‘Cootie’ nights, socials and other activities. There was always strong support for GFS mission projects and they joined in all Diocesan activities. In the 1950s they supported a child at Sister Kate’s Home in Queens Park, which was an Anglican Home at that time, and made knitted clothes for her. They combined with the Orana Club for many events.  

A special project over a long period has been the support of Nulsen Haven – a home for the intellectually handicapped. Members have made large quantities of knitted garments and gift items for the residents and visit the home every year. In 1984 the Headquarters Townsend Fellowship group was presented with a certificate of appreciation for outstanding support for the home.
 

 


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Monday Memories – Mission Work Part 1

Mission Work

There has always been strong support from GFS for the Mission work of the church. Fund raising has been prominent, but over quite a long period there was also a great back-up of ‘physical needs’ for the Mission field. Missionaries sent lists of requests to supporters and lists were also available from Mission offices. Working from these, GFS members and leaders made vast quantities of teaching and other aids, particularly in the 1950s, I960s and early 1970s. Often there was an exhibition of these at GFS Headquarters or Burt Hall before they were packed in tea-chests by members of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of ABM/AMC and dispatched to the particular Missions from which requests had come. There would have been tens of thousands of articles made over the years and a list of items sent to New Guinea and Melanesia in 1970 included 1 ,000 teaching aids of all kinds, 544 toilet articles, 54 patchwork quilts, 20 knitted rugs (made from squares the girls had knitted), 4,538 roller bandages and 755 knitted bandages. In addition, approximately 350,000 stamps and 8,184 matchbox labels were collected for sale, with the proceeds of about $68 going to Missions.
Following on an article in the ABM Review, GFS decided to provide 250 dresses needed for girls at one of the Missions. There were ‘working bees’ at G FS Headquarters for cutting and preparation of the garments for sewing and the result was a colourful collection of attractive frocks.
 
There was a personal involvement and interest in the GFS work for Missions because of links with some of the Missionaries. Miss Maxine Fuller was a leader at St Aidan’s, Scarborough GFS branch and Secretary to the Manager of a big Perth company when she decided to offer herself for Missionary service. There was no vacancy for a Secretary, but there was an urgent need for teachers. She had always wanted to be a teacher but had never had the opportunity to train. She was delighted when in 1965 she was accepted by ABM for training as a Missionary teacher. After completing a preparatory course at the House of the Epiphany in Sydney she undertook ‘crash’ teacher training at Port Moresby.
Maxine worked first at Popondetta then later on the tiny island of Kumbun, where she was Teacher-in-Charge. She had constant prayer support from GFS and any requests for aids to help her in her work were always met by GFS members. Maxine served in the Mission field for many years and loved the work she did. She regretted having to give it up through deteriorating health. She later married and made her home in Queensland.

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Monday Memories – GFS Australia Part 1

GFS Australia Part 1

As GFS spread throughout the world, each country worked under a treaty or charter with the parent body in England, so that the principles of the Society would be upheld. In Australia, each State had a separate charter and the one in Perth was signed on 20 December 1888. From the time that GFS first commenced in this State there was strong support from the Society in England through the Overseas Committee and visits by Extension Officers. They were women with great organising ability who travelled overseas to countries where GFS was established, giving support and assistance to established branches and helping to open new ones. During the visit to Australia in 1924 of Miss Florence Way, GFS Central Organiser in England, she travelled to every State and also to New Zealand on promotional work for GFS and there was great progress as a result of her work .

The Society in Australia worked in close co-operation with GFS in England and there was a strong bond between the two countries. The literature used was printed in England and this was of a high standard . However in the re-organisation of GFS Australia in the post-war years, it was realised that a new structure was required as moves were started in 1945 to make the Society more closely knit.

Mrs Kathleen Bright-Parker, Melbourne Organiser of GFS, was given the task of convening a national conference in Melbourne in 1946.  67 representatives attended from all parts of Australia and this question was discussed thoroughly and referred back to each Diocesan Council. Western Australia was represented by Miss Kathleen Whatley and Mrs Connie Renner.

In 1947 the Commonwealth Council (later to be called Australian Council) came into being, with Mrs B.P. Robin of Adelaide, the first Australian Chairman and Mrs Kathleen Bright-Parker, Secretary. Each diocese was to be represented according to the number of branches, with meetings held every three years “so the GFS could speak with one voice and discuss matters of concern and interest to the Society throughout Australia”.

The Primate of Australia, Archbishop H.W. K. Mowll, accepted the position of first President in 1950. Each successive Primate has also been President. Lady Slim, the Governor General’s wife, became first Australian Patron in 1953 and this vice-regal link, which has been strong since the Society was first formed, has continued.

Miss Kathleen Whatley was the GFS representative from Western Australia at the first Commonwealth Council Meeting and this State has been represented at every one since.


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Monday Memories -Headquarters Part 5

ORANA CLUB
The Orana Club re-opened in September 1948 with Mrs R. H. Moore as Chairman, Miss D. Loukes as Secretary and Mrs R. Lund as House Mother.

It was a club ‘within GFS’. Part of each member’s subscription was paid to the club, which made her a member. Some GFSers attending night school would have a meal at Headquarters first; others entertained friends in the club rooms. One who had a weekly meal there after work was Ruth Walker (nee Wallace dec.), who lived in Como but acted as a ‘freelance’ GFS leader in Mt Hawthorn parish from 1948 to 1953 as there was no leader available at the time. She travelled to the meetings by bus for those five years and enjoyed the shared meal at GFS Headquarters before leaving for the meeting.

The club was also open to those who were not GFS members and there were about 50 of these in the 50s. They were mostly girls living in rooms without cooking facilities, as well as some visitors from other States on working holidays. They looked forward to the fellowship over meals and afterwards in front of the Wonder-Heater in winter or balcony in summer. Mrs Lund , the House Mother, was a very special person who was caring and supportive to all who came to Headquarters and a ‘mother’ to all the girls. There were always at least 30 regular diners each night and there was always a birthday cake from Mrs Lund for the birthday girl. Members and friends regularly brought flowers, fruit and vegetables to Mrs Lund and she spent many hours making jams and chutneys, as well as sewing aprons and other items on a little hand machine, to sell on a trading table at Headquarters for Orana Club projects. The club ran monthly socials to help finance purchases for the club rooms and also held an annual fete.

Orana Club members Jean Emery and Mavis Morris helped Mrs Lund in many ways with the catering arrangements at Headquarters and Dorothy Loukes was always ready to help whenever needed.
 
Mrs Lund retired in 1962 after 13 years as House Mother and was farewelled with regret. The star shaped clock, now at the GFS Office, 240 Adelaide Terrace, Perth was donated by Orana Club members so that Mrs Lund’s efforts on their behalf would always be remembered.
 
For a while after Mrs Lund left, the Orana Club was operated as a lunch club. There were four House Mothers during the next three years, as they were only able to stay for short periods. In 1965 Mrs Helen Kendrick was appointed to the position. She was a bright and cheerful Scot who added her own special dimension to the role of House Mother. She continued the work that Mrs Lund had done and especially enjoyed the Leaders’ Teas and other activities held in the building at the time.
 

Mrs Kendrick

Mrs Kendrick contributed to the Society in other ways. She assisted at the GFS Lodge in Adelaide Terrace on many occasions when an extra staff member was required and was also a popular helper at Diocesan camps. She resigned in 1971 but continued to take a deep interest in GFS.
There were others who had a special role to play in connection with GFS Headquarters and one of these was Mrs Olive Smith (nee Hall), who lived in the building for about four years from 1954 and played a big part in the difficult task of keeping the large Headquarters in such an attractive condition. She continued this role for a number of years after she moved from the building and her plants and other personal touches always gave the building a welcoming air.
 
The Orana Club closed down before the GFS office was moved to Law Chambers as there was no longer the same need for it. However, it had played a very important part in the life of the GFS Headquarters over a long period, including most of the organising of the annual Christmas party for the girls from Swan and Parkerville Children’s Homes, as well as the provision of meals for members on a regular basis.
 
 

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It’s Orange Day!

Today is “Orange Day” – in 2017 at the GFS World Council in Perth it was agreed we would mark each 25th day of the month to raise awareness.

1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner

Only 52% of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care

Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM)

#OrangeUrWorld, #OrangeTheWorld, #HearMeToo, #EndVAW


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