Monday Memories – Marjorie Burton Part 3

As planned, Miss Burton returned to WA in March 1937, accompanied this time by Miss Whalley who was to be driver/companion until November 1938, when she returned to England. Miss Burton obtained her driver’ s licence on 30 November and she felt it was particularly significant that it should be on St Andrew’s Day – “the first missionar y!” she noted beside the item in her diary.

Miss Burton found a special joy in driving the van and although she often had friends accompany her on her tours, she also liked to drive on her own. This concerned the Caravan Committee members, who stressed the importance of having someone with her in case of accidents or illness. However, she still did many trips on her own, although arrangements were made as often as possible for a companion to be with her.

Miss Burton kept a ‘ Daily Diary’, as did all the workers on the van. These are a treasure house of memories as they cover the 17 years of ministry to the people of the outback. They·are full of drama in many cases and the following is just one example taken from a report by Miss Burt on in July 1942:

“I left Wyalkatchem parish and crossed to Bencubbin…the roads were so wet and greasy that I was travelling with wheel chains on. On the way to Mukinbudin the next morning the van slid down four miles to the next school! When I left South Tammin I was accompanied by the owner of the farm several miles over paddocks, partly fallowed, to reach a better road than I could have found alone. My aim was to make Bellakubella and Doodenaning schools before they closed for the week. After passing the rabbit proof fence the road became a swampy track. For part of the way I had no notion where I was except that the direction was mainly right. The house which I went to for guidance proved to be empty, but a man cutting timber was able to tell me where to find another house. The track to this was so bad, with so many rivers and roads and washaways and much mud, that I hardly knew if even our sturdy caravan would make it, but so much praise had been poured on our engine on bad tracks recently, that it warmed her to fresh effort and we reached the house safely, and – more wonderful still – both schools were reached in time.”
 
 

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GFS Headquarters Part 4

On the 21st of October and 25th of November last year we posted about the GFS Red Cross Emergency Company and clubs that were based at the GFS Headquarters. Today we follow on from those two posts.

GFS RED CROSS BRANCH
There was also a Red Cross branch at GFS Headquarters, which was formed at the outbreak of World War II. Over 3,000 knitted articles were donated to the Red Cross and funds were raised for special Red Cross appeals, such as the Lady Gowrie Fund and others. There was a harmonious relationship between those involved and a lot was achieved. The branch was closed in 1946 after continuous hard work by its members in support of the various armed services.

WAR SERVICES CLUB
With a name that means ‘welcome’, the GFS Orana Club had a special role to play at GFS Headquarters when it was formed in 1940 as a central club for members and non-members of the Society. However in March 1942 Mrs R.H. Moore, who was President at the time, saw a need and changed the Orana Club into a War Services Club for girls and women in the Services, as well as GFS members.

It was based at the Headquarters building and the facilities were a boon to off-duty girls. A meal was provided twice a day for a nominal charge on nine pence and over one thousand meals were served each month. There was wonderful help from young Associates and other voluntary workers, as well as members of the Mothers’ Union. Mrs Moore was a tireless worker in keeping the War Services Club going under very difficult conditions, always cheerful and encouraging to those taking part. It continued under her leadership until November 1947, when the club closed after having provided a wonderful service for 5½ years.


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Monday Memories – Caravan Part 7

Welcome back to Monday Memories for 2020!  We look forward to sharing these with you during the year and hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Caravan Part 7

There is a file in the GFS Office full of letters which bring alive the work of the GFS caravan – letters from clergy in vast parishes in the outback of Western Australia, who paid a tribute over and over again to the women who travelled in the van and helped them from time to time in their enormous task.

The following comments speak for themselves:

Coorow: 4.1.1932 (The Revd A.W. Curtis)

“We appreciated the visit of the caravan to the district in December and marvelled at the energies of Miss Pine and Mrs Broadhurst.”

Wongan Hills: 30.7.1932

“Miss Dawson and Miss Pine made a really great impression upon this parish and I would be most grate/ul if the y would care to come again any time that is convenient.”

Bruce Rock: Easter 1935 (The Revd F.W. Guest)

“No Rector can help but say that the caravan is a God-send up in these scattered districts. The Rector has to work to a tim table and is able to devote only a small proportion of his time to each district. When the caravan arrives it is possible to get every district thoroughly visited, the children connected up with the Sunday School by Post and classes in the day schools, as well as the people having the opportunity of many extra Services.

I speak for my people when I say no one could have performed the work more efficiently nor won the hearts of the people so easily than Miss Burton.

Also, we must remember the driver, Miss Murray.  She certainly is a friend indeed of the Bush Parson.”

Meckering: 15.6.1935 (The Revd E.S. Bartlett)

“Before I came to WA I had heard of the wonderful work done by the caravan Missioners in Canada, so when I heard that there was a similar Mission touring the Diocese, I was eager to  come in contact with them.”

Wyalkatchem- Koorda parish:  27.5.1938  (The Revd L. Bothamley)

“The Caravan Workers came into the parish on 2 May and left again on 27 May, after a time of strenuous work largely devoted to giving instruction to confirmation candidates. I would like to say what a tremendous help their work has been to me.  At least 30 candidates live, some 30, others 50, and six of them 70 miles away from Wyalkatchem, our main centre. This fact makes ii very difficult to travel and give them regular and frequent instructions. Because Miss Burton, with her companion Miss Whalley, has been able to spend time at night on the farms far away and instruct the candidates, a great deal of important work has been done, which I could not possibly have managed myself since I have my regular daily round to do. I am most grateful for the splendid work that has been done and I pray that God will richly bless all their labours done in His name.”

Dongara: 22.7.1939 (The Revd R.G. Pym – Assistant Priest)

“. . . Quiet spiritual influence of the Missioner, who has made herself beloved by all.”

Moore River Native Settlement: 28.7.1939

“… I want to add the e thank s of the staff for the assistance Miss Burton gave at the hospital during a very taxing outbreak of pneumonia cases and flu among the staff; and for Miss Scott ‘s relief in the school. The natives all, young and old, have a very deep affection for Miss Burton and the caravan visit will long impress itself on all our memories as a happy, profitable occasion.”

Tour through Bencubbin-Nungarin: 7-27 March 1940 (The Revd Peter Hodge)

” The amount of good Miss Burton does is incalculable – she conducted services in places which have never had Good Friday or Holy Week Services before. Her work is almost perfect.

It is impossible to separate the caravaner from the caravan and vice-versa, and when I say that the caravan is a great asset to the parishes, I indicate that the Moving Church itself and Miss Burton as the Minister of that Moving Church are practically indispensable. “

 

If you would like to view the letters in their original format, please contact the office and we would love to show them to you.


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