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1972

Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 1 year ago

  

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Children & Families 

During January children from the inner suburbs were taken on day trips to nearby beaches, the Dandenongs and city theaters. These outings, limited to children between five and fourteen years of age, operated from Monday to Thursday for the whole month, involving about 1,100 children.  [1]

 

In preparation for the Family Centre Project, all BSL Youth & Children's services were discontinued and all workers given leave without pay and the option of returning to the new project in October 1972 (four did so). [2]   BSL Open Door policy was discontinued except for people requesting material aid (clothing and furniture). No new social work cases were taken and staff of the Social Work Service were allocated to the Family Centre  (end of January) [3]BSL_Family_Centre_Proposal_1972-5-15.pdf

 

Planning for the Family Centre Project, aiming to help the family as a total unit, began in April with the appointment of its head, Mrs Concetta Benn - "One of Melbourne’s most experienced social workers". [4] The purpose of the project was to work intensively through an activities program with approximately seventy low income families. [5] Read what was written by Concetta Benn about this in 'Action' September 1972

 

Premises for the Family Centre Project acquired with the purchase of the old Mission House of the Mission to Streets and Lanes behind the BSL's Head Office.  This contained a burnt-out hall.  A major contribution towards the establishment of the Centre was made in June by the estate of Paul Dehnert.  (September) [6]

 

Research worker for the Family Centre Project appointed (Michael Liffman). A grant from the Commonwealth Commission of Enquiry into Poverty enabled the appointment of a research assistant. [7]

 

Family Centre Project, a three year action and research anti-poverty experiment, formally commenced in November with 56 families. [8]  At this time the sole activities were a sewing group and the coffee lounge, with mothers of families in the Centre producing clothing and linen for the families and for the Material Aid Service and improving social communication. [9]  However, the aim of the project was clear - to provide "60 of Melbourne's poorest families with considerable resources so that they can attain power over the social and economic conditions that affect their lives.  The three main resources which are put at the disposal of these families are finance, personnel and a building.  The financial resource takes the form of an income supplement which provides each family with a guaranteed minimum income at the level of the prevailing minimum wage.  Personnel include 18 staff members equipped with varied qualifications and expertise including social work, research, youth work and teaching skills." [10] Read was written by Concetta Benn about this in 'Action' September 1972

 

The BSL's Family Planning Clinic was phased out over 6 months, reducing to one weekly session and closing on 19 December.  Over that time patients were referred to the most appropriate clinic and the closure coincided with the opening of a clinic by the Fitzroy Council in November.  This was staffed by Dr Helen Church who had been the medical officer for the BSL’s evening clinic for the previous five years. [11]

 

Community Issues 

The Commonwealth Government established a Commission of Enquiry into Poverty under Professor Ronald Henderson of the University of Melbourne.  In broad terms the Inquiry was to investigate the extent and distribution of poverty in Australia, and its causes.  In addition it was to look at current alleviation programs, both public and private, alternative methods of reducing poverty in Australia and associated matters.  Assisting Professor Henderson were social worker, Hayden Raysmith; housing expert, Andrew Burbridge; agricultural economist, Warwick Papst; statistician, Bruce Burraston; economist, Ian Manning; administrator, Maurice O’Keefe, and secretary, John Gibson.   [12]

 

The BSL hosted a one-day visit in April of 27 participants studying "Social Problems in Urban Development" in the Department of Foreign Affairs Course in Development Administration.  The day included a bus tour of inner suburbs to examine the variety of housing development, and lectures ranged from the historical development of Melbourne as a city and the role of the Housing Commission in urban development, to the special housing problems associated with low income families and the aged, and citizen participation in the planning processes. [13]

 

The BSL purchased two properties in Fitzroy in an attempt to stop people being forced out of inner areas.  One was a small block of 10 flats on the corner of Fitzroy and Palmer Streets (later known as the Palmer Street flats), close to the Coolibah.  Built for commercial purposes about 1968 it provided excellent accommodation for elderly people living on the pension and was eligible for the $2 for $1 subsidy under the Aged Persons Homes Act.  This was the first stage of a planned development in the inner suburbs, to include a 40-bed hostel adjoining these flats (later to be known as Sumner House) and a similar project on land recently acquired in Gold Street, Clifton Hill (later known as Sambell Lodge, overlooking the Darling Gardens.  [14]

 

The second property purchased consisted of three terrace apartment houses in historic Glass Terrace in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, which had provided rooming house accommodation for 20 people for 40 or 50 years.  Well and sympathetically run, the well-disposed owner Mrs Du Poula offered it to the BSL "at a very generous price" and purchased as a means of retaining rooms which would otherwise have been converted to private dwellings.  The project was not subsidised by the Government, so no minimum age limit applied to the residents who were selected on their needs such as people not of pensionable age such as invalids and single itinerant people. [15] Read what was said in 'Action' June 1973 

 

Following the outcome of the Federal Election on 2 December 1972, the Executive Director, David Scott, wrote:

"As the new Australian Government begins to implement its many ideas for improved social security and welfares services, voluntary organisations like the Brotherhood have to decide the areas of need that they should concentrate on.  In the Brotherhood we think our most useful tasks are experimenting with new ways of helping disadvantaged people to participate more fully in society; contributing our ideas to Government and public thinking and providing high quality services in areas of need, such as care of the aged, that have been left predominantly to the voluntary agencies." [16]

 

Monday Conference, an ABC television (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Current Affairs/Topical/Talk Program presented an episode in which the social welfare scheme and the role of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence in the community were debated. [17] 

 

Fundraising & Resources 

Major flooding across Melbourne on 18 February 1972 had a severe impact on the BSL’s Salvage Division, with three feet of water damaging "a terrific bulk of clothing" waiting to be processed for distribution and which had to be thrown out. [18]

 

First regional salvage centre opened on 18 May at 520 Centre Road, Bentleigh.  This Brotherhood Bazaar was a collection and selling point for donated goods, "featuring a small art gallery, an extensive area for books, antiques and bric-a-brac, a modern clothing department and a separate section for furniture and household goods". [19]

 

Pilot project Home Collection Service established in Bentleigh. Commencing with a zone of 8,500 families, for six months the Brotherhood offered a dependable four-weekly collection service to the householders in the area, collecting clothing, household goods, aluminium & steel cans, paper, bottles and other waste products suitable for recycling. [20]

 

Salvage operations for the benefit of the BSL included operating a depot for steel can collection as well as recycling steel cans from the football grounds - a project subsidised by the Steel Can People  [21]

Annual fundraising events took place - the Market Fair at the Melbourne Town hall (19 October); the Village Fair at G.K. Tucker Park, Carrum Downs (20 October); the Country Fair at St Laurence Park, Lara (10 November)

 

Harrietville and Glen Iris Auxiliaries closed down and three new groups were established - Bentleigh (formed to run the new Brotherhood Bazaar), Lara and Glenroy. [22] Lara and Waverley Auxiliaries open their own shops, with Waverley moving from the old service station in Stephenson's Road, Mount Waverley, to new premises at 11 Hamilton Walk. [23]

 

Material & Financial Support 

Material Aid Service established in Fitzroy at 75 Brunswick Street, replacing emergency relief by the social work department and providing clothing and furniture to low-income people in the inner urban area.  Based broadly on the "principles" of the Family Centre Project the service was innovative in comparison to other material aid services provided at the time, in that the main service aim was to provide material aid to vulnerable families on the basis of the social determinants of their need and not on their economic value.  The service expanded to provide material aid to people from all over Melbourne and country Victoria. [24]  A special auxiliary was developed to support the work of the service. (November) [25]Read what was said in 'Action' March 1973  BSL_Income_Supplementation_Services_1972-1996.pdf

 

Older People 

The second stage of St Laurence Court, Bendigo - a new 19-bed hostel and 28 new flats, taking total accommodation to 75 people - was opened by the Federal Minister for Social Services. [26] Traditional Christmas Dinner was served at the Coolibah Centre to 175 pensioners living in Fitzroy/Collingwood, and a further 20 delivered to those too ill to travel to the centre. [27]

 

Organisational aspects (BSL) 

A new two-storey building was opened and the Chapel of St Mark dedicated at a ceremony at 67 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, on Saturday 13 November  The Minister for Health (Mr. Cameron) opened the block and the Archbishop of Melbourne (Dr. Woods) dedicated the chapel.  The building included the completion of the Coolibah Centre (including craft room, television and sitting rooms, showers, a communal laundry, a large dining area, sick bay, clothing store, changing room with shower, chiropody section, an additional sitting room and offices for welfare workers).  In addition there were clubrooms for the young, a projector room and a rooftop playground. [28] Read an excerpt from the Age 15 November 1972

 

People 

Miss Jess Sumner retired as Welfare Officer after 24 years service, having begun as manager of the Coolibah Club in 1948  [29]

 

Presentations & Publications 

Archbishop Geoffrey Sambell returned from Perth to preach at the BSL’s Foundation Festival at Evensong, Christ Church, South Yarra on 9 December

 

Two joint papers on housing finance and policies on rehabilitation of old housing stock (released in conjunction with the Fitzroy Ecumenical Centre)  [30] 

 

Publications included:

  • Financial Assistance for Vulnerable Families, a proposal concerned with the provision of immediate payments and recommended administrative changes to speed up payments. [31]
  • The Have Nots: A study of 150 low income families (Judith O'Neill & Rosemary Nairn) [32]
  • Why so Harsh on the Unemployed, a proposal to increase unemployment benefits prompted by the high level of unemployment. [33]
  • The powerless poor : a comprehensive guide to poverty in Australia (Peter Hollingworth - Stockland Press) [34] Read a book review from 'Action' December 1972
  • Unemployment: The facts and effects (David Griffiths) [35]

 

Articles included:

  • David Scott The brotherhood and politics in Brotherhood Action [36]
  • "The Age" included a one-page supplement on the Brotherhood of St Laurence on Wednesday 15 November 1972 (page 14) [37]

 

Number of visitors to this page: 

Footnotes

  1. "What we've been doing" Brotherhood Action March 1972 (No.196) p.8
  2. Connie Benn "The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept" First Report November 1972 p.11
  3. Brief Outline of Family Centre Proposal 15 May 1972 pp.3 & 5 [BSL_Family_Centre_Proposal_1972-5-15.pdf]. These services had been providing material and financial aid as a casework tool (Fiona Macdonald Brotherhood of St Laurence Income Support Services - Background 26 June 1995). See also Connie Benn "The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept" First Report November 1972 p.11
  4. Officially took up duties on 17 April 1972 - see Brief Outline of Family Centre Proposal 15 May 1972 p.3 [BSL_Family_Centre_Proposal_1972-5-15.pdf]. However Connie Benn had been "sporadically involved in planning the project since November 1971". Connie Benn "The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept" First Report November 1972 p.12 (BSL Library 362.82 BEN)
  5. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p.3 (no numbering). See the article by Connie Benn illustrating the rationale for the new program: "Blaming the Victim", Brotherhood Action September 1972 (No.198) p.3 [Benn_Blaming_the_Victim_1972-9.pdf]. See also the letter in response from Ray Burkitt, Commissioner of the Housing Commission of Victoria "The commission isn't heartless", Brotherhood Action December 1972 (No.199) p.9
  6. Possession obtained in September 1972 - see Brief Outline of Family Centre Proposal 15 May 1972 p.3 [BSL_Family_Centre_Proposal_1972-5-15.pdf]. However, the building was not available for occupation until the first week in November - Connie Benn "The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept" First Report November 1972 p.11 & 14
  7. Connie Benn "The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept" First Report November 1972 p.12. Also "What we've been doing" Brotherhood Action December 1972 (No.199) p.8
  8. For the selection criteria see Michael Liffman "The Family Centre Project: A First Overview" (Family Centre Project Research Report No.1) July 1974 p.9. See also BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 pp.3-4 (no numbering)
  9. Concetta Benn "A new approach", Brotherhood Action December 1972 (No.199) p.3 [Benn_Family_Centre_Project_Beginning_1972-12.pdf]. BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.3 (no numbering). See also Michael Liffman "The Family Centre Project: A First Overview" (Family Centre Project Research Report No.1) July 1974 pp.1 & 15 The intention had been to be set up in October - see Brief Outline of Family Centre Proposal 15 May 1972 p.5 [BSL_Family_Centre_Proposal_1972-5-15.pdf]. Of the 56 families, four had left the project within a year and a further eight were included to make up the proposed 60 families (Liffman, p.10).
  10. BSL Annual Report 1973-1974 p.3. See also Brotherhood Action June 1974 (No.204) pp.6-7 and Michael Liffman, The Family Centre Project: A First Overview
  11. "What we’ve been doing", Brotherhood Action December 1972 (No.199) p.8
  12. Submissions were due by 16 April 1973. "What's happening in welfare" Brotherhood Action December 1972 (No.199) p.8
  13. "What we’ve been doing" Brotherhood Action June 1972 (No.197) p.8
  14. BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.3 (no numbering)
  15. David Scott "Acute housing need", Brotherhood Action December 1972 (No.199) p.2. "A place of their own - preserving housing in Fitzroy", Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No. 201) p.3 [A_place_of_their_own_1973-6.pdf]
  16. BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.1 (no numbering)
  17. "Monday Conference" was a series in which the host, Robert Moore, presented a guest to talk about a particular relevant social issue and answer questions asked by the audience. This episode was number 99.
  18. "Clothing store flooded", Brotherhood Action March 1972 (No.196) p.10
  19. "About 80 men and women will be involved." See "What we've been doing", Brotherhood Action June 1972 (No.197) p.8. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p5 (no numbering)
  20. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p.6 (no numbering): "This could lead to the establishment of a regular house-to-house collection in the entire Moorabbin Municipality." See also BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.7 (no numbering) and "What we've been doing", Brotherhood Action September 1972 (No.198) p.4. In April 1973, after a trial period of seven months in house-to-house collection it was found that handling costs for bottles and paper were much higher than anticipated and it was decided to collect only clothing and household goods in the new area. Calls would be made every three months as clothing and household goods do not accumulate as quickly as paper and bottles (see "What we’ve been doing", Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No.201) p.8)
  21. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p.6 (no numbering). See also "The Age", Wednesday 15 November 1972 at 20 Jul 2009
  22. The Glen Iris Auxiliary had been fundraising for 17 years. "Talk about Auxiliaries", Brotherhood Action March 1972 (No.196) p.10. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p5 (no numbering)
  23. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p5 (no numbering). See also "Talk about Auxiliaries" in Brotherhood Action September 1972 (No.198) p.11 and December 1972 (No.199) p.11
  24. "It looks like a shop - new material aid service", Brotherhood Action March 1973 (No.200) p.3 [It_Looks_Like_A_Shop_1973-3.pdf]. See also Benn & Alderson 1972, p.2, cited in BSL Internal Working Paper No.2 "Overview and History of Income Supplementation services in the Brotherhood of St Laurence (1972-1996)" p.11 [BSL_Income_Suplementation_Services_1972-1996.pdf] See also Connie Benn "The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept" First Report November 1972 p.12. See also BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.4 (no numbering).
  25. Connie Benn "The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept" First Report November 1972 p.12
  26. "What we’ve been doing" Brotherhood Action March 1972 (No.196) p.8
  27. Brotherhood Action March 1973 (No.200), p.8
  28. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p.3 (no numbering); The Age, Monday 15 November 1972 p.9 - "The Brotherhood of St Laurence in New Block".
  29. See "The problems are the same", Brotherhood Action September 1972 (No.198) p.4
  30. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p.2 (no numbering). See also Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No.201) p.10 [Fitzroy_Ecumenical_Centre_1973-6.pdf]
  31. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p.2 (no numbering)
  32. Judith O’Neill & Rosemary Nairn "The Have Nots: A study of 150 low income families" 1972. This research project began in 1968. For a review see "A stimulating study", Brotherhood Action March 1972 (No.196) p.4
  33. BSL Annual Report 1971-1972 p.2 (no numbering)
  34. For reviews see Alan Jordan "All about poverty", Brotherhood Action December 1972 (No.199) p.4 and "Text book on poverty" Brotherhood Action March 1973 (No.200) p.4
  35. David Griffiths "Unemployment, the Facts and Effects" 1972. See BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.2 (no numbering); Brotherhood Action March 1973 (No.200) p.10.
  36. Brotherhood Action December 1972 (No.199) p.5
  37. See 1 December 2009

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