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Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 2 years ago


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1961 1962196319641965 1966196719681969

Children & Families 

The emergency housing project in North Fitzroy demonstrated that emergency housing was an essential provision very much lacking in the welfare facilities of Victoria.  The Brotherhood funded this project, hoping to continue meeting this need until more realistic statutory provision was made to meet emergency financial situations and social service benefits were more adequate for certain groups. However, in 1969 the condition of the house and the cost of maintaining the lease and running costs resulted in the closure at the end of May.  Recommendations for meeting emergency problems in the future were based on a report on the thirty families who had used this resource. [1][]


In its second year (1968-1969) the Family Planning Clinic saw 381 new patients.  As well as advising on all methods of contraception, the clinic took routine cancer smears and referred for further investigation problems of infertility, and gynaecological conditions.  At the same time, the Brotherhood questioned whether it was appropriate for a welfare agency to provide a medical service, or whether this should be included in existing government health schemes.  [] [2]  In 1969 the Commonwealth introduced free health insurance, but the greatest number of family incomes fell within the $40-$49 range, missing out on that cover "by a hair’s breadth".  [3][]


The Sidney Myer Charity Trust gave the Family Planning Clinic $1,200 to provide an extra clinic session and to pay the salary of a social worker to do a survey of the attitudes of people attending the clinic.  (Some attended from as far away as Loch in the east, Seymour in the north and Bacchus Marsh in the west.)   [4]


The Brotherhood published a booklet Action for Family Planning, on sale at booksellers and newsagents (60 cents), recommending that the State Government accept the responsibility to provide, within the framework of existing medical services, family planning services for low income families.


Community Issues 

Social Service Bureau set up a branch in Broadmeadows in an attempt to learn more about the needs of communities and to decentralise the BSL's social work service to low income families [5]Janet_Paterson_describes_Poverty_1969-1.pdf


"Recent figures" cited in March 1969 revealed "that there are 42,000 children living in poverty in Melbourne".  [6]


Fundraising & Resources 

The Dalpatrick Fund was re-endowed for 1969 by the donor (Miss L.M. Henderson).  By June 1969 the fund had helped 102 families. [7]


The allocation of the 1969 grant by the Leith Trust of $5,000 for educational purposes, consisted of $1,000 to Princes Hill High School to assist them with their outpost school development at Merimbah, with a further portion used to set up a pilot project in another school with a high proportion of migrant children.  This allocation was to employ a Social Worker to work as a home visitor to migrant families, with the aim of also evaluation and recommendations for possible future action.   [8]Grant_to_help_Migrant_Families_1969-6.pdf


The Waverley Auxiliary (drawing members from Mt Waverley, Glen Waverley and Syndal) formed in April and the Caulfield Auxiliary (first formed in Armadale) decided to disband at the end of 1969 after 15 years, leaving a total of 27 auxiliaries.  [9]


Material & Financial support 

In 1968-1969 the BSL's social workers in Fitzroy & Broadmeadows provided more than $12,000 in aid to families with problems in areas such as housing, employment, health, education, marriage, child care and difficulties with court cases and debts.  [10][]


The Family Service Bureau organised the sale of Christmas toys in the soon-to-be-demolished Methodist Church hall in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.  "The Brotherhood is convinced that it is important for parents on low in comes to be able to choose and pay for their children's presents and so avoid the impersonal 'charity parcels'."   Over 280 families shopped for their children.  [11]


Older People 

Plans approved for the rebuilding of Collins Court at Carrum Downs  [12]


Concerned about the lack of suitable accommodation for single or widowed pensioners in the Fitzroy area, the BSL felt that the need for Hostel type accommodation was urgent.  The Housing Commission flats being built in Brunswick Street were for families and not replacing any of the single accommodation that was demolished to make way for them.  The BSL began considering the possibility of building a Hostel for pensioners at the rear of the Headquarters building, in conjunction with a planned extension and redevelopment of the Youth & Children's Centre. (This resulted in the building of Sumner House Hostel.)  [13]


Over 50% of the Brotherhood's expenditure was devoted to services for the aged.  The Brotherhood continued to give preference to persons who had very few capital assets over and above superannuation or the aged pension.  Of all applications in 1968-1969, nearly 30% were in need of hostel type accommodation.  "This trend is a matter of some concern … and, as a result, the Brotherhood is considering the advisability of erecting more hostel accommodation in the future." [14]


The Associate Director of Services for the Aged, Neville Brook, went on a 10-week fact finding tour to New Zealand, the USA, England and Sweden, identifying by contrast with overseas that Victoria's lack of coordination in overall planning is a key problem leading to duplication of services and confusion for those the services are meant to help. [15]


Organisational aspects (BSL) 



Bishop Geoffrey Sambell elected Archbishop of Perth in June 1969 and resigned as Executive Director from 30 September 1969 and in a farewell message, urged the BSL to retain its original purpose [16]Sambell_Brotherhood_should_retain_original_purpose_1969-9.pdf


David Scott, nephew of Father Tucker, appointed as the first non-clergy Executive Director, taking up his role on 1 October 1969 [17]


The BSL Board appointed three new Associate Directors, acknowledging the BSL's uniqueness in developing social services in the three areas of families, the elderly and young people – Associate Directors of Finance & Administration, of Services for the Aged, and of Social Services (including Research & Social Action).  The appointments grouped "the appropriate services together with one person responsible to the Executive Director and the Board".   [18]


The Brotherhood Board made the decision at the end of the 1968-1969 financial year that Morven be sold.  Holidays would "still be arranged for pensioners in need and the proceeds of the sale were to be applied to the provision of youth and aged services in keeping with the original appeal which helped to finance the property". [19][]


Planning began for the development of children’s and youth services, in the light of the estimate that there would eventually be over one thousand five hundred teenagers and children living on the estate, a significant increase over the estimate in 1967 of 300 to 500 school-aged children. [20]


The Social Service Bureau began an experiment with volunteers who had special skills, using them as case aides working in conjunction with a Social Worker  [21]


n relation to the dissemination of the findings from research, the Annual Report commented: "Communication and interpretation is becoming more complicated.  As 'the slums' are demolished there is a danger of narrow public stereotypes about poverty and delinquency transferring to 'the flats'.  The problem is aggravated because with few exceptions our clients cannot do justice to themselves on television.  If we do not continue to do the explaining, their problems will be overlooked." [22]



Father Tucker spent several months in hospital following a heart attack after the Lara bush fires in January and in his June editorial reflected on the difficulties confronting older people and the limits placed on their access to higher levels of care.  [23]Tucker_re_Hospital_Care_for_the_Aged_1969-6.pdf


Janet Paterson, Director of Research & Social Action, resigned from the BSL after eleven years  [24]


A member of the Heidelberg Auxiliary, Grace Hall, penned a poem On Being a Member of a BSL Auxiliary  [25]


Presentations & Publications 

Janet Paterson delivered a paper The Causes and Relief of Poverty to the Australian Institute of Political Science Summer School  [26]Summer_School_on_Poverty_1969-1.pdf


Following publication of The Cost of Free Education: Schools and low income families (Judith O’Neill & Janet Paterson), "so far (it) has not had a noticeable public impact but there have been questions arising from it in the Federal parliament and indications that many of the people directly concerned with education are finding it a valuable document". [27][]


Brotherhood Action first published in December (formerly known as The Brotherhood News).  In addition to news of BSL activities this carried articles contributed by people working in other organisations and spheres.  (Jill FitzGibbon editor until mid-1973, was responsible for public relations and fundraising).  [28]


Young People 

Eight mobile camps were held by the Brotherhood during January, some travelling as far as Mt Gambier and Wilson's Promontory.  Following introduction of the 'Mobile Camps' program, Morven was no longer used for children’s camps, but the facilities were made available to other youth groups.  In January the campsite was made available to the Church of England Youth Worker for the parishes of Broadmeadows and Glenroy who organised camps for children from those suburbs.  For the third year in succession groups of patients from Sunbury Mental Hospital had a holiday at the campsite in February.  [29]Camping_&_canoeing_down_the_Goulburn_1969-1.pdf



A 7-minute film Fitzroy: Coming up for Air was made by Peter Dodds, a student at the Swinburne Film & Television School.  This project was suggested by his Swinburne sociology lecturer, Brian Howe, in preference to submitting an essay on urban issues.  Those interviewed included Sister Rita of St Marks and Peter Hollingworth of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.  [30]


Visitors to page:  


  1. BSL Annual Report 1966-1967 p.3, 1968-1969 p.5
  2. BSL Annual Report 1967-1968 p.8
  3. BSL Annual Report 1968-1969 p.6 A grant from the Sidney Myer Charitable Trust made possible a survey of patient’s attitudes and opinions (begun in June 1969) and interviews gave "valuable information about the best location for family planning services and strongly pointing up the need for better sex education before marriage. The demand for the clinic is now sufficient to justify a strong voice calling for government assistance, the more so since the recent decision not to hold an enquiry into abortion." The National Council of Women decided to sponsor the establishment of a branch of the Family Planning Association of Australia in Victoria. The Brotherhood commented that "this, after all, is another voluntary body and family planning should not have to proceed without government support".
  4. "Grant for clinic", The Brotherhood News June 1969 (No.185) p.3
  5. "Broadmeadows has growing pains", The Brotherhood News March 1969 (No.184) p.3. See athis rticle in [Janet_Paterson_describes_Poverty_1969-1.pdf]. Also see BSL Annual Report 1968-1969 p.5
  6. "Now’s your chance", The Brotherhood News March 1969 (No.184) p.3. See article in [Janet_Paterson_describes_Poverty_1969-1.pdf]
  7. "Dalpatrick Fund", The Brotherhood News March 1968 (No.180) p.2; "Dalpatrick Fund helps Families", The Brotherhood News March 1969 (No.184) p.2; "Assistance to families", The Brotherhood News June 1969 (No.185) p.5 [Dalpatrick_Fund_Assistance_to_Families_1969-6.pdf]
  8. "Grant to help Migrant families", The Brotherhood News June 1969 (No.185) p.7 [Grant_to_help_Migrant_Families_1969-6.pdf]. The report was published as "Two Worlds: School and the migrant family - A look at the attitudes of eighty migrant children and their parents", Brotherhood of St Laurence, Stockland Press 1971 (BSL Library 371.9675 BRO)
  9. "Talk about Auxiliaries", Brotherhood Action March 1970 (No.188) p.10
  10. Brotherhood Action December 1969 (No.187) p.11
  11. "Toys for 1,000" Brotherhood Action December 1969 (No.187) p.12 and "What we've been doing" Brotherhood Action March 1970 (No.188) p.8
  12. Ben Bennett, "GK Tucker Settlement - An historical record 1935-1995: 60 years with the Brotherhood of St Laurence at Carrum Downs", Limited Edition, p.47. "New policy effects statement", The Brotherhood News June 1969 (No.185) p.3
  13. "BSL may build Hostel for Aged", The Brotherhood News June 1969 (No.185) p.3. See also Brotherhood Action March 1977 (No.215) for the opening of Sumner House Hostel
  14. BSL Annual report 1968-1969 p.8
  15. "We have to get co-ordinated" Brotherhood Action March 1970 (No.188) p.9
  16. For farewell message of Bishop Geoffrey Sambell see "Brotherhood should retain original purpose", The Brotherhood News September 1969 (No.186) p.1 [Sambell_Brotherhood_should_retain_original_purpose_1969-9.pdf]. Also see "Long association with BSL will end" The Brotherhood News September 1969 (No.186) p.2. For more on Geoffrey Sambell see Michael Challen "Sambell: A Man of the Word" 2008 (BSL Library 283.941092 CHA)
  17. "Nephew of Founder new Director", The Brotherhood News September 1969 (No.186) p.3. Also Catherine Magree (ed.) Looking forward, looking back: The Brotherhood’s role in changing views of poverty 1993 p.9 (BSL Library 362.506094 BRO)
  18. "Associate Directors", The Brotherhood News September 1969 (No.186) p.3
  19. BSL Annual Report 1968-1969 p.11
  20. BSL Annual Report 1966-1967 p.7, 1968-1969 p.3
  21. "Volunteers expand services", The Brotherhood News March 1969 (No.184) p.5 [Volunteers_expand_Services_1969-3.pdf]
  22. BSL Annual Report 1968-1969 p.7
  23. "Hospital care for the Aged", The Brotherhood News June 1969 (No.185) p.1 [Tucker_re_Hospital_Care_for_the_Aged_1969-6.pdf]. 'Father Tucker progressing well", The Brotherhood News September 1969 (No.186) p.1
  24. "Janet Paterson is going away" Brotherhood Action December 1969 (No.187) p.9
  25. "On Being a Member of a BSL Auxiliary", The Brotherhood News March 1969 (No.184) p.8 [On_Being_a_Member_of_a_BSL_Auxiliary_1969-3.pdf]
  26. "Janet Paterson describes Poverty", The Brotherhood News March 1969 (No.184) p.3 [Janet_Paterson_describes_Poverty_1969-1.pdf] and [Summer_School_on_Poverty_1969-1.pdf]
  27. BSL Annual Report 1968-1969 p.6. Judith O'Neill & Janet Paterson "The Cost of Free Education: Schools and low income families" 1968 (BSL Library 379.94 ONE)
  28. Brotherhood Action December 1969 (No.187) p.2. Also Brotherhood Action September 1973 (No.201 - sic) p.9 "Staff departures"
  29. "Camping and canoeing down the Goulburn", The Brotherhood News March 1969 (No.184) p.4 [Camping_&_canoeing_down_the_Goulburn_1969-1.pdf]
  30. "Those interviewed included Sister Rita of St Marks, local librarian E. Harridence, Peter Hollingworth of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Sister Payne of Fitzroy Day Nursery, Fitzroy's Town Clerk John James, the Housing Commission’s Bert Bennett, FRA member/co-founder Louise Elliot, who is not credited, and a number of other uncredited, and in some cases unseen, individuals. Dodds says that he also interviewed Howe - 'when Brian was wearing a collar' - but that this footage was excised due to time constraints." David Nichols "Urban Activist Films in Melbourne 1969–1972" in "Local-Global: Identity, Security, Community" Vol. 3, 2007 pp.115-116 at 28 October 2010

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