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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