Welcome

 

GFS is an inclusive not-for-profit organisation made up of people belonging to a Christian community locally, nationally and globally.

 

WHO ARE WE: GFS Perth is an inclusive not-for-profit enabling friendship and belonging that inspires people to thrive. It is the local expression of a pioneer organisation established in 1875 in the UK and in 1888 in Western Australia.

WHAT DO WE DO: We create welcoming spaces and places where friendships flourish and people can belong and grow.

WHY DO WE DO IT: We believe that friendship is a God given gift that enables people to thrive.
 

WE ARE ACCESSIBLE: To all whatever their story. We celebrate diversity and are committed to helping our friends achieve their potential.

WE ARE PRAYERFUL: Our faith is central to all we do so praying for our friends and ministry is a key aspect of our journey.

WE ARE CREATIVE: We are innovative and imaginative, where no solution exists, we work and think creatively to find one.

WE ARE LEADERS: Pioneering new ideas, resources and programmes makes us more effective in speaking with a voice that brings people together in friendship.

WE ARE CHANGE-MAKERS: Our commitment is to friendship that impacts people’s lives and brings positive change.

WE ARE COLLABORATORS: We foster co-operation between individuals and organisations, bringing credibility and enthusiasm to every partnership we undertake.

 
 

Stay Connected

 
 
 
 

GFS Perth Calendar

Check out what is happening in GFS Perth by looking at our calendar below
 
 
 
 

 

 News – new and older

 

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.
 
 

Read more...

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.
 


Read more...

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.
 

Read more...

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


Read more...

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)

Read more...

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.


Read more...

 
 
 

Want To Become a Member?

 
There are lots of ways to be involved with GFS in Perth. 
Head to the link below to see how you can get involved today!