Monday Memories – Links with GFS and Perth Orphanage, Swan Homes

There was a long association between GFS and the girls of Perth Orphanage from the time it was in Adelaide Terrace until the girls moved in 1942 to join the boys at the Swan Orphanage because of wartime bombings in the north of the State. The name was then changed to Swan Homes. It became a tradition in the 1940’s for the girls to be invited to a Christmas party at GFS Headquarters and this was organised over a long period by Mrs. Margaret Moore (the wife of the Dean), who was the President of GFS at the time. She was assisted by members of the Orana club and the House Mother at Headquarters, as well as leaders and members from the branches. The hall was always gaily decorated and the paper hats and sweet baskets were made by the helpers.

As the Headquarters building was near the corner of High and Pier Streets, it was only a short walk to the Deanery after the party tea, to play games on the lawn behind the Deanery during the years that Mrs Moore lived there. Then it was back to Headquarters for a concert before they returned home. They were up to 60 girls from Swan attending these parties and there was usually 2 members from each branch there as well. For many years the little visitors were given gift as well as sweets before they left. However as they received many gifts from organisations at Christmas, it was suggested that branches arrange to send a birthday gift to each girl instead and also keep in touch by writing . This was done for a long time and built up many friendships.

Some of the girls from Swan homes the GFS Lodge their home when they commenced work and Mrs Viva Sundercome, who was later to receive the MBE for her work on the Anglican Orphanages Board and for her work with GFS, started a fellowship club for them at GFS Headquarters. Some moved to the country and she kept in touch with them by letter.

When Swan Homes became Swanleigh in 1960, with a role as school hostel instead of an orphanage, the Christmas party became one for the girls from Parkerville Children’s Home, some of whom had actually been invited to parties before. The Orana Club and the House Mother continued to organise these with the help of Headquarters Townsend Members as well as leaders and GFSers

For more information on Swan Homes you can go to https://buff.ly/311zjz2


^