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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