---Welcome!

 

GFS is a Not for Profit Organisation made up of people belonging to a Christian community locally, nationally and globally.

 

We seek to provide or support ministries to children, youth, families and adults in a safe and accepting environment where Christ’s love is evident.
 
We have been part of the West Australian Community for over 130 years and have engaged with many children and adults during this time. Last year GFS celebrates a wonderful milestone of 130 years of ministry to women, girls, men and boys in Perth. Since 1888 friendship, support and a listening ear have been part of the GFS DNA as we’ve sought to live out the GFS motto to “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal 6:2
 
On the 1st January 1875, Mary Elizabeth Townsend established the Girls’ Friendly Society in England (now you know why our former premises at 240 Adelaide Terrace were called Townsend Lodge. Come and pay us a visit, we have some really interesting memorabilia in the office along with a welcoming smile and cuppa). GFS was a pioneer women’s organisation, the first of its kind in the world. The members saw a need to befriend, mentor and support many of the younger women who were leaving their rural homes and communities to find work in the cities.
 
Here in Perth GFS welcomed migrant girls to the city by providing them with accommodation as they settled in and found employment. In time we branched out to provide Townsend Fellowship, children’s groups, Holiday Clubs, Camps, Mainly Music groups, Mother & Daughter High Teas; and more recently Dads N Lads BBQs, Pamper A Nanna, the Advent Festival, our group for 15-35 year olds GFS Next Gen and our newest initiative “Blessed to be a Blessing Dinner”.
 

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Our organisation partners with other community organisations to help others outside of our own community.     MORE
 
 
 
 
 

 

We have many programs, resources and games that we can help you to get your own children’s ministry group established.     MORE   
 
 

 

Dating back to the beginnings of GFS, women’s ministry has been a vital part of our ministry to this day.  We have a lot to offer why not see what could suit you.     MORE   
 

 

Youth

 

If you wish to become a part of our NextGen GFS group this this is the place for you.  Come along and be part of the team, become a member or just attend one of the events they run.    MORE   
 
 
 
 
 
GFS Outside Perth
GFS is not just in Perth! We are part of a National and Global organisation and always are happy to welcome new members.     MORE   
 
 
 
 
Who Let The Dads Out?
GFS is proud to be working with Who Let the Dads Out? in the UK to offer help and resources to get your WLTDO? group here in WA off and running.     MORE   
 
 
 

---Upcoming Events

 
 
 
 
 

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GFS Perth Calendar

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

 

 

--- From The Blog

 

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 – Caravan Part 10

There were also loving arms reaching out to the caravan from overseas. Apart from the tremendous support given by GFS in England in raising the money to provide the van and helping it financially for the first year, Miss Edith Yaizey-Hope, Leader of the Swanage, Dorset branch and Perth’s English representative on the Overseas Committee, had a very special request to make. She asked if her branch could become the van’s ‘Godmother’ and send it little gifts from time to time. This was continued during the Depression years and through part of World War II. Some were sold to help the caravan funds and others were suitable for small gifts to those who provided hospitality to the van workers. The link with Swanage branch was very strong and Miss Yaizey-Hope came out to Western Australia as a voluntary worker for several years.
 
The GFS van and the dedication of its workers became well known and often a garage would do repairs at a special price or put extra petrol in the tank without charge. The country people themselves were very grateful for the visits that cheered them in their loneliness and would give the van workers milk, cream, eggs or freshly baked cakes and many times asked them to stay for a meal.
 
Through the years that followed many valued helpers continued to help with the work of the caravan in the outback for varying periods – all in a voluntary capacity. They helped the clergy in whatever way there was a need – visiting the lonely, teaching Religious Instruction in the little schools all over the State, starting Sunday Schools and also linking many hundreds of children with the Sunday School by post. They helped with services (often playing the little portable organ), started GFS branches and linked each one with a city branch where possible, gathered the names of women for Mothers’ Union and men for the Church of England Men’s Society. During the time they were working in these huge parishes, under the direction always of the Rector, they acted as an ‘extra pair of hands’.
 
They were able to pass on information to him about babies to be baptised and young people to be confirmed, as well as families where his help was needed.
 

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Farewell to Townsend Lodge

We would love to have you join us as we say farewell to Townsend Lodge and a service and afternoon tea on Tuesday the 23rd of June 2020.  Please contact the office to let us know if you are coming.

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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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GFS Perth AGM

 

You are invited to the 2020 AGM

 
 

Thursday 25th June 2020, 6pm @ Townsend Lodge

 
To download your invitation and nomination form please click here
 

 


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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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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!
 
 
 
 

Verse of the Day

“[Jesus Comforts His Disciples] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” — John 14:1-3 Listen to chapter . Powered by BibleGateway.com.