Outreach Part 1

The history of GFS in Western Australia brings to life the members’ role in caring and serving within the Anglican Church and the community.  It is no t possible to list all the areas of concern where branches have seen a need and made a real effort to be involved, because it was often done quietly and without publicity. The support took the form of fund raising, the making of gifts and regular visits (including carol singing at Christmas and other entertainment). Branches often developed a special and long lasting link with a home or hospital in their parish and a warm relationship grew up between the girls and those they befriended. Amongst some of those helped have been:

  • St Bartholomew’s, East Perth
  • St George’s Hospital, Mt Lawley
  • Moline House
  • James Brown House
  • Anglicare
  • Daisy House (a branch of Anglicare in Girrawheen)
  • Scarborough Hostel for Mentally Retarded Children
  • Rowethorpe
    (Disclaimer: The names/terms above where the names/terms used back in 1988 and may not be currently used)
ST BARTHOLOMEW’S, EAST PERTH
Many branches supported St Bart’s, but one that developed a particularly strong link with it was St Aidan’s , Scarborough. The girls enthusiastically washed cars and held cake stalls over many years to raise funds for the home. A group of leaders and senior GFSers always visited it the Sunday before Christmas and attended the Holy Communion Service in the chapel with the men before handing over the gifts members had made for them (including jam, cordial and cakes) and boxes of food . The residents of St Bart’s were always very moved by the visits and the personal ‘handing over’ of gifts.
 
 

‘OPERATION NAPPY’ FOR ANGLICARE

After hearing that Anglicare had an urgent need for napkins and baby clothes, this was made a special project during 1986. GFS members and leaders held fund raising functions and sent regular parcels to Anglicare throughout the year. For the first time they had nappies always ‘on the shelf’ and the baby clothes filled an urgent need for many mothers-to-be in desperate circumstances. Some $800 was raised and the estimated value of the gifts to Anglicare was set at $1,000 – due to many items being mad  and the discounts obtained from bulk buying.
 
 
Miss Jan McNamara – Chairman of the GFS Branch Committee of the time, with Ms Billy Parker, Anglicare social worker.

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Celebrations 100 Years Part 1

GFS CELEBRATES 100 YEARS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Planning for the 1988 Centenary year of GFS in Western Australia began in  1985.  The first decision made was that a history should be written covering the 100 years and research was commenced by Mrs Jean Seymour in January 1986.

A Centenary Committee was formed in June 1986, with Mrs Joan Matthews as Chairman.  Those who worked with her to plan for the Centenary were Mrs Ruth Walker (Secretary), Miss Jan McNamara (Treasurer), Mesdames Alison Elliott, Brenda Ballingall and Jean Seymour, The Society owes a great deal to them for the work they did in the following two and a half years to make the Centenary celebrations so outstanding, The committee was assisted by member s of the Branch Committee in arrangements for the camp and picnic.

The decision about the events to be held was an important one and planning so far ahead was not an easy task.  It was decided that the main functions would be a Centenary camp, a dinner, a service in St George’s Cathedral and a picnic and fellowship day.

CENTENARY CAMP: 5-10 APRIL 1988

This was a seaside camp, held at the Ern Halliday Centre at Hillarys.  There were 102 girls present, plus thirty leaders and cadet leaders.  The programme included a wide range of activities to appeal to the different age groups and some of them were combined.  One of the features of the camp was the preparation of a Roger Jones musical ‘Greater than Gold’, which told the story of Mary Jones and her bible. A special visitor at the camp was Mrs Ruth Reid, the wife of the Governor, who was Patron of the Society and she cut the large birthday cake with its 100 candles.
 

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Monday Memories – Leader Training Part 2

Deaconess Joyce Polson made an outstanding contribution to GFS Leader Training over the years from 1966-1972, both in her role as Diocesan Youth Officer and later as GFS Leader Training Officer. The training of Junior Leaders was being emphasised at this time and she had special skills in relating to these teenagers. This was a time of great development for the Society, both in numbers of branches and increase in membership and she was able to show by her training methods what a valuable asset the Junior Leaders were. In 1967 she had 35 Trainee Leaders at a weekend at Pt Peron and 23 of these were under the age of 19 years.

Deaconess Polson ‘decentralised’ her leadership training sessions and this made it easier for Leaders in outlying developing areas, who could not always attend the courses held in Perth. She very successfully combined the training of Junior and Senior Leaders in the same sessions and each age group gained from the other being present. 40 Junior Leaders attended the last training weekend that she organised for them.


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Post War Years CEGS – Part 2

1950 was another year of expansion, with the Organising Secretary continuing to widen the outreach of the Society. Apart from strong branch and parish involvement, there were many Diocesan functions in which GFS took a prominent part. The year finished on a very strong note with seven new branches and further big increases in membership. The results achieved by Miss Granrott were outstanding and set the Society on a further path of expansion. Miss Granrott married after her term of office was completed and continued to live in Western Australia. One of her daughters (Mrs Elaine Clark) was an active GFS leader and she also had three grandchildren in GFS.

In view of the tremendous growth in GFS over these two years, it was disappointing to the Society when another girls’ organisation, the Church of England Girls’ Society, (later to be known as CEGS – the Anglican Girls’ Society) was formed within the church about this time. It was not a ‘break-away’ group, but one that emphasised that all girls joining must be members of the Church of England.  Leaders in GFS were to be communicant Anglicans, but the Society has always been open to those of other denominations and those of no faith position and this has been a ‘missionary’ aspect of the Society that has brought many  people  into  the  Anglican Church.  As their pre-requisite of being Church of England (Anglican) was later changed by the CEGS, it meant that there were two organisations in the church with similar aims and programmes.

Over the years GFS held out the hand of friendship and involved the CEGS in some of its activities. There was also shared Leader Training and combined activities with the three uniformed groups – GFS, CEBS and CEGS.  In 1985 approaches were made to GFS from various levels in CEGS suggesting that they amalgamate with GFS, and it was decided to have a year’s trial of working closely together but each organisation keeping its own identity.  GFS was delighted to be involved in this way and shared all the Society’s latest literature and programming material with the CEGS and invited them to join in its annual camp and other activities. Some GFS branches took part in the CEGS Indoor Games competition. There was also a representative on each Society’s Committee. It was a year of enjoyable sharing, but at the end of it an amalgamation did not take place.  CEGS and CEBS no longer operate in WA but we are still in contact with some leaders from both groups. 


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Monday Memories – GFS Caravan Part 11

Travelling in all weather, it was often too hot in the summer to sleep in their van and very bleak in the winter. There could be extremes of weather even when travelling in the same area.

Their diaries give a wonderful insight into the work in which they were involved; such as two entries when they were visiting Queda (now not even a name on the WA map!):

17.09.1927
Took the harmonica into a house (5 children) and sang old songs and hymns by lamplight. The lady of the house was the post mistress and had rung up her neighbour who had a private phone, and when the concert began the receiver was taken off so she in her house two miles away could also enjoy the music.

25.09.1927
Bishop of Kalgoorlie arrived with the Rector (Mr Bishop) for Celebration of Holy Communion. Hall looked very nice. Planks on petrol boxes for seats.  Table borrowed from a house for altar – travelling rug for frontal.   Dinner plates covered with a handkerchief for offertory plate.  Two rugs off van beds for kneelers. Petrol box covered with a sheet with a pudding basin on top for a font, at which the newest arrival in the district was baptised. About 56 present.

Because of the different drivers for the van, it was not possible to have an RAC membership card in the name of one person, so a ‘composite’ name was chosen – Miss June Driver – which was quoted when help was needed.
 
 

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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 – 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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