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Through the decades: 1980

Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 7 months, 3 weeks ago


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50 Years of the Brotherhood


Community Issues 

The BSL urged the Victorian Minister of Housing to stop selling Housing Commission houses at least until there was a much larger stock of rental housing available for low-income people.  The Commission had built 28,000 houses in the metropolitan area but in 1989 had only 6,800 available for rental. While there were 16,000 flats for rent, many were regarded officially as unsuitable for families. [1] 


Employment & Training 

Laurence Industries expanded and moved from West Heidelberg to Preston, with larger premises giving the opportunity to expand the programs for men and women in the "sheltered workshop" environment [2]Laurence_Industries_1980-6.pdf


The Brotherhood conceived the Neighbourhood Employment Development Program (NEDP) and it was implemented as a joint program of the Victorian Employment Committee and the Brotherhood, funded by the Victorian Government.  It was a developmental job creation program for unemployed disadvantaged workers, based on the assumption that there was potential for employment growth in the community services and in small business.  The Brotherhood was seeking to demonstrate its belief that job creation is the only real answer to unemployment.  Local advisory committees were established and job development officers employed in Box Hill and Williamstown, followed by Frankston.  In late 1980 the Box Hill Workforce Cooperative was set up with a manager and three young trainee welders previously unemployed for considerable lengths of time, with the aim of it becoming a viable small business.  [3]Neighbourhood_Employment_Develt_Program_1979-12.pdf NEDP_Home_Health_Aide_Training_1980-12.pdf 


Fundraising & Resources 

An anonymous donation of $100,000 was received by the Brotherhood, "$50,000 for the aboriginal poor, and the other $50,000 to non-aboriginal poor".  The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service established a special fund to fulfill the wishes of the donor in respect of the first $50,000 and the balance was disbursed directly through the Brotherhood.  [4]


The BSL opened shops in Sunbury, Heidelberg and Clayton [5]


The BSL received a donation of $1200 from the Berriwillock Wheat Scheme  [6] 


Material & Financial support 

Review of the Fitzroy Material Aid Service undertaken by Meg Montague recommended relocation, reorganisation and reorientation to emphasise the "educational, mutual support, participatory and skill sharing and acquiring aspect of the service" and building into programs evaluation and development so as to retain the "innovatory dynamic".  It also recommended that "people with on-going need would ideally run a service for themselves as a resource exchange based on principles of reciprocity, self-help and community development while a small separate residual material aid service would continue to operate to meet the needs of clients in one-off' crisis situations". [7]BSL_Income_Supplementation_Services_1972-1996.pdf


The Material Aid's Christmas Toy Club changed from being a straight charity handout to being a club run by the families themselves to buy toys in bulk, saving up to half the normal retail price.  Toys were still given free of charge to families who could not afford to buy because of emergencies, and donated second-hand toys were not sold but given in addition to the new toys families had chosen to buy.  Two-hundred-and-twenty low-income families in Richmond, Fitzroy, Collingwood and Carlton bought their presents through the Toy Club. [8] 


Older People 

Construction of a 43-bed hostel for the frail aged (later named Sambell Lodge) began in March on the original site of St Andrew's Church, Clifton Hill [9]


Additions to the Carrum Downs Settlement Private Hospital added two new two-bed wards, providing to residents and others in the wider community a 12 bed acute care hospital suited to convalescence and rehabilitation as well as some family respite [10]


SPAN's three-year experimental phase concluded in December with SPAN becoming an independent cooperative, with the Brotherhood retaining ownership of the house and all other funding coming from other sources, the largest contributor being the Department of Social Security. [11]


Jessica Millott made her 1500th Christmas pudding for the 1980 (and her 29th) Coolibah Club Christmas dinner






(Photos of Jess Millott with Peter Hollingworth at the dinner & making puddings with Harry Bates) [12]


Organisational aspects (BSL) 

Jubilee of the Brotherhood celebrating 50 years since the Foundation on 8 December 1930.  Commemorative events included a service of thanksgiving at Christ Church, South Yarra with Archbishop Geoffrey Sambell as preacher and a Jubilee photographic display shown in various locations in Melbourne, Geelong and Frankston.  The Jubilee slogan was "50 years for people 1930-1980".  As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations the BSL organised a two-day conference to examine the extent to which recommendations from the 1975 Commission of Inquiry into Poverty had been implemented and to review the current situation of poor people in Australia (22-23 September). A Jubilee Luncheon was held at the Victoria Hotel on 17 October with Hugh Stretton as guest speaker with the topic Brotherhood in the 80's. [13]50th_Jubilee_Events_1980-10.pdf  Stretton_BSL_in_the_80s.pdf  Brotherhood_Action_Jubilee_Issue_1980-12.pdf Second Poverty Inquiry Conference_1980.pdf


Jessica Millott, manageress of the Coolibah Club for 23 years, was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours list. [14] 


David Scott relinquished the position of Executive Director on 1 February after 10 years and accepted the role of Social Issues Associate.  Canon Peter Hollingworth was appointed as Executive Director. [15]


David Scott wrote a (then) Confidential paper A Proposal for Renewal detailing a course of action "if (the Brotherhood) wants to retain the thrust and characteristics that have made it unique in many respects".


Archbishop Geoffrey Sambell, former Board member, Bursar and Executive Director of the BSL 1947-1969, died in Perth on 19 December.  Read the obituary.  [16]   


The Social Action Unit was established in March to strengthen the Brotherhood's promotion of reforms to assist low-income and unemployed people.  Before the October 1980 Federal Election the Brotherhood ran a Fair Deal for the Unemployed campaign to make the issue of unemployment a high priority.  Posters, car stickers and 3,000 copies of the campaign booklet were distributed. [17]


David Green, formerly Director of Regional Services with the Victorian Department of Community Welfare Services, appointed as the BSL's Associate Director - Social Services (May) [18]


Following an initial visit of Queensland social workers to the BSL a venture in inter-agency cooperation was launched in Queensland after 18 months.  The formation of the new organisation - BREAD (Basics, Research, Education, Action, Development) - was assisted with a small amount of backing from the BSL and an active interest was to be maintained through joint membership on its Board and by offering research assistance and advice. [19]BREAD_in_Queensland_1980-4.pdf


The BSL opened shops in Sunbury, Heidelberg and Clayton [20]


First woman appointed to the BSL Board (Barbara Spalding, 1980-1986) [21] 


People with disabilities 

Laurence Industries expanded and moved from West Heidelberg to Preston, with larger premises giving the opportunity to expand the programs for men and women in the "sheltered workshop" environment [22]Laurence_Industries_1980-6.pdf 


Presentations & publications 

The Third Year of the Action and Resource Centre - Casting off the shackles: implementing a structure of action and independence by a low-income organisation David Brous [23]


Feature article in Brotherhood Action on Family Day Care and Limurru after nine years of operation [30] 


  1. Brotherhood Action August 1980 (No.230)
  2. Feature article "Out of Institutions Into the Workforce", Brotherhood Action June 1980 (No.229) [Laurence_Industries_1980-6.pdf]
  3. See Brotherhood Action September 1979 (No.225) for the original concept and Brotherhood Action September 1979 (No.225) for announcement of Victorian Government support [Neighbourhood_Employment_Develt_Program_1979-12.pdf]. See BSL Annual Report 1979-1980 p.6 (no numbering) and BSL Annual Report 1980-1981 p.6: "The most promising areas of potential job development at this stage (1981) appear to be in the areas of home nursing and handyman services, urban forestry and work cooperatives. NED forms one part of the Brotherhood's conviction that direct job creation is a key element in any strategy to reduce unemployment." Also Brotherhood Action February 1981 (No.233) for first training program [NEDP_Home_Health_Aide_Training_1980-12.pdf] and Brotherhood Action April 1981 (No.234) re the Box Hill Work Co-op.
  4. BSL Annual Report 1981-1982 p.15
  5. Sunbury opened in April at 49 O'Shanassy Street - Brotherhood Action June 1980 (No.229). The Heidelberg shop was at 101 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg and the Clayton shop at 286a Clayton Road - Brotherhood Action August 1980 (No.230).
  6. Brotherhood Action April 1980 (No.228). See the item in [BREAD_in_Queensland_1980-4.pdf] also "Quietly they sow ... for others to reap" in The Age, 1 January 2009 at 16 November 2009
  7. Meg Montague "Give and Take - An evaluation of the Material Aid Service", January 1980 p.88 (BSL Library 361.05 MON). Meg Montague (1980) 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_Supplementation_Services_1972-1996.pdf]
  8. Brotherhood Action October 1981 (No.237)
  9. Brotherhood Action April 1980 (No.228)
  10. BSL Annual Report 1987-1988 p.7. Also Ben Bennett, "GK Tucker Settlement - An historical record 1935-1995: 60 years with the Brotherhood of St Laurence at Carrum Downs", Limited Edition, p.57. The advantages of the Settlement Private Hospital were spelt out in an article in Brotherhood Action September 1988 p.5.
  11. BSL Annual Report 1981-1982 p.7
  12. Brotherhood Action February 1981 (No.233) and Brotherhood Action August 1981 (No.236)
  13. Brotherhood Action August 1980 (No.230), Brotherhood Action October 1980 (No.231) [50th_Jubilee_Events_1980-10.pdf] and Brotherhood Action December 1980 (No.232) [Brotherhood_Action_Jubilee_Issue_1980-12.pdf]. For the text of Hugh Stretton’s address see [Stretton_BSL_in_the_80s.pdf]
  14. Brotherhood Action February 1980 (No.227)
  15. Brotherhood Action December 1979 (No.226), Brotherhood Action February 1980 (No.227) and BSL Annual Report 1979-1980 p.1 (no numbering)
  16. Brotherhood Action February 1981 (No.233) [Sambell_Obituary_1980-12-19.pdf]
  17. Brotherhood Action October 1980 (No.231)
  18. Brotherhood Action April 1980 (No.228)
  19. Brotherhood Action April 1980 (No.228) [BREAD_in_Queensland_1980-4.pdf]
  20. Sunbury opened in April at 49 O'Shanassy Street - Brotherhood Action June 1980 (No.229). The Heidelberg shop was at 101 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg and the Clayton shop at 286a Clayton Road - Brotherhood Action August 1980 (No.230).
  21. Brotherhood Action December 1980 (No.232)
  22. Feature article "Out of Institutions Into the Workforce", Brotherhood Action June 1980 (No.229) [Laurence_Industries_1980-6.pdf]
  23. Brotherhood Action February 1980 (No.227) (BSL Library 362.82 BRO)
  24. Brotherhood Action October 1980 (No.231). Published by Hyland House (BSL Library 301.441 BRE)
  25. Brotherhood Action December 1980 (No.232) (BSL Library Archive, 1980.23)
  26. Published by Hyland House (BSL Library 361.75 HAN)
  27. Brotherhood Action December 1980 (No.232) (BSL Library Archive, 1980.28)
  28. Brotherhood Action June 1982 (No.241) [Caring_&_Sharing_BSL_Principles_1980-4-10.pdf]. See also [Caring_&_Sharing_Society &_BSL_1983-1.pdf]
  29. Memo from David Green (Director, Community Services) to Coordinators of Services (27 October 1980) [Green_memo_re_Saying_No_1980-10-27.pdf]
  30. Brotherhood Action October 1980 (No.231) [Family_Day_Care_1980-10.pdf]

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