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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Happy Easter – He is Risen!

Easter Sunday or Easter Day is the most important day of the year for Christians.
 
It is when they celebrate that three days after being killed, Jesus rose from the dead, sometimes called ‘the Resurrection’ and defeated evil forever.
 
https://www.whyeaster.com/customs/eastersunday.shtml

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Good Friday

Good Friday is a very important day for all Christians. On Good Friday, Christians remember that Jesus died for everyone. He was crucified by the Romans on a hill outside Jerusalem although he had not done anything wrong.

Read on further here https://buff.ly/2IUSaDk


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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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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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