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Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 10 months, 1 week ago


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1971 1972 19731974 | 1975 1976197719781979

Children & Families 

Objectives for the Family Centre Project "laid down" in April. [1]Family Centre activities increased to include a Management Committee (with sub-committees) and” a range of social, craft, educational and action groups and activities … developed in response to the initiative of families”. [2]


The Family Day Care program, halfway through the 3-year project, had forty children cared for by twenty-two local women, and the Commonwealth Government gave a financial grant to assist with continuation for eighteen months.  In May, again with funds from the Australian Government, a house was purchased in Napier Street, Fitzroy (Limurru) for the Family Day Care project in order to see if the benefits the children were receiving in personalised family care could be translated into group care in a home-like setting.  The hope was for the majority of staff to come from the same group of women who were providing Family Day Care (see 1974 for further development).  [3] Read the Proposal for Limurru Neighbourhood Centre 24 November 1982


Research (by Carol Ride) commenced on the experiences of  60 low-income families in seeking housing which satisfied their needs during three years. This report was published in March 1976.  [4]


Community Issues 

The BSL made a salary available to the Broadmeadows Welfare Advisory Committee to assist in developing community initiatives and regional planning strategies.  This funding drew a grant of $1,000 from the National Social Welfare Commission with the hope of a block grant in 1974 of $10,000 under the Australian Assistance Plan. [5] 


The BSL presented its views to the Commonwealth Commission of Enquiry into Poverty (also known as the Henderson Enquiry) in two parts - the first dealt with general perspectives, while the second outlined specific proposals for the eradication of poverty. [6]


The article The Poor Pay More highlighted the risks of 'easy' credit for low-income people The_Poor_Pay_More_in_Action_Dec_1973.pdf


Employment & Training 

The BSL’s Sheltered Workshop (later renamed Laurence Industries) was "officially recognised by the Department of Social Service and became eligible for subsidies which enabled installation of mechanical handling equipment for moving processed newsprint.  Over 100 patients from Larundel, Mont Park, Janefield & St. Nicholas Hospitals, Clarendon & Ernest Jones Clinics, Turana and the Brunswick Intervention Unit have worked with the division."  Twenty-two graduated to full-time employment and 25 moved from their institutions to a boarding house.  Newsprint was collected by schools and church youth groups of all denominations and service groups including Leo (the youth service program of the Lions), Rotaract (the Rotary-sponsored service club for young men & women) and the Young Liberals.  [7]


Fundraising & Resources 

Frankston's Brotherhood Bazaar opened a few doors from Myers at 46 Beach Street, Frankston.  It sold good-quality clothing and household goods stocked from the surrounding area and from the Bentleigh Home Collection Service. The first Brotherhood Auxiliary in Frankston was established mid-year to support the shop.  (May) [8]


The six months experiment in recycling steel cans, bottles and newsprint collected through the Home Collections based in East Bentleigh  recorded "a fairly heavy loss owing to high collection and handling costs".  However, this led to the establishment of a "highly efficient service in collecting clothing and household goods covering 90,000 homes in the south-eastern area.   Every three months a plastic bag was left at each home and then collected the following day ensuring a reliable regular service to householders." [9]


BSL shops were in Bentleigh, Dandenong, Fitzroy, Frankston, Glenroy and Malvern; Auxiliary shops at Ivanhoe, Ormond, Preston and Waverley.  The Preston Shop Auxiliary moved to new and larger premises at 336 High Street, Preston. Auxiliaries held a range of fundraising events including luncheons, a pancake party and a Bingo night.  The Valentines - a small group "somewhat scattered over Melbourne" formed and began their fundraising with a theatre night in August. A new auxiliary formed to support the Material Aid Service in Fitzroy.  [10] 

Donations to The Better Way Fund increased substantially and made possible the financing of two further units as part of a flats development adjacent to the Fitzroy Head Office. [11]


Brunswick Bazaar, a 17,000 sq. ft. warehouse at 132 Barkly Street, Brunswick, opened mid-December as a "trash and treasure" type of outlet [12]


Material & Financial Support 

The Income Supplement Scheme implemented as an essential part of the Family Centre Project.  A minimum needs subsidy was based on the minimum wage and child endowment which was adjusted for the number of parents, the type of accommodation, the number of children and the work status of the parents.  A rent subsidy was based on the assumption that no family should pay more than a quarter of its income on rent.  The subsidy was calculated by subtracting a quarter of the family’s minimum need level from the actual rent paid and the deficit, if any, was paid as the rent subsidy.  Support was also available for housing improvements. (January) [13]


Report on the first six months of the Brotherhood's new Material Aid Service, with comments on the values and philosophy of the service and previously-hidden community attitudes about people who use the service. [14] Read what was said in 'Action' September 1973


The Christmas Toy Club operated from the Material Aid Department, with voluntary assistance, and approximately 700 children received toys. [15]


Older People 

The first of 56 residents moved into "Hume Court", the new personal care hostel at St Laurence Park, Lara.  In the presence of several descendants of the explorer, Hamilton Hume (some travelling from western New South Wales) it was officially opened by Richard Austin in April. [16]


Block of six single flats purchased in Moor Street, Fitzroy for independent living in an endeavour to increase the stock of housing for the aged in the inner city, funded by a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation.[17]


Organisational aspects (BSL) 

Establishment of the Social Issues Department, grouping together research, social action and community education activities, headed by Peter Hollingworth. [18]



Deaths of two of the early members of the Brotherhood :


David Scott (Executive Director) appointed head of an Advisory Council on Social Security and Welfare established by the then Federal Minister for Social Security, Bill Hayden.  It consisted of ten representatives of groups concerned with social welfare issues, an ACTU representative, a member of the Minister's personal staff and officers of the Departments of Social Security and Labor.  [21]


Concetta Benn was appointed as a member of the Commonwealth Government's Migration Task Force headed by the Minister for Immigration, Mr A.J. Grassby. [22]


Presentations & Publications 

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.  (See the entry at the National Film & Sound Archive ) [23]


The BSL commissioned mid-year by the Australian Government Social Welfare Commission to prepare a report on Emergency Relief (author was David Griffiths, BSL staff member) [24]


BSL reports included


Young People 

The Brotherhood decided to support the work of the Fitzroy Community Youth Centre by subsidising the cost of an extra Youth Worker on their staff. (March) [27]


Youth worker in Broadmeadows, Mike Bullock, working with the Broadmeadows Youth Services Group and funded by Leith Trust through the BSL  [28] Read what was said in 'Action' June 1974


  1. Michael Liffman "The Family Centre Project: A First Overview" (Family Centre Project Research Report No.1) July 1974 pp.7-8
  2. Michael Liffman "The Family Centre Project: A First Overview" (Family Centre Project Research Report No.1) July 1974 p.15
  3. Limurru Child Care Centre in Napier Street, Fitzroy was "a small-scale children’s nursery" in a local house. It was originally established to support & complement the BSL's Family Day Care program. "The Family Day Care type of model has many positive features as a form of child care, but it is important that these features are tried in a group care setting." Three of the staff were local mothers and the fourth a mothercraft nurse. Limurru - an aboriginal word meaning "let us share together". See Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No.201) p.8, BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.5 and BSL Annual Report 1973-1974 p.4. Also see proposal for Limurru Neighbourhood Parent & Children's Centre (24 November 1982) [BSL_Limurru_Neighbourhood_Centre_Proposal_1982-11-24.pdf] (This Family Day Care program was handed over to Fitzroy Council in 1982). See also Brotherhood Action Autumn 1992 p.2 (no numbering).
  4. Carol Ride "The Housing Battle: A study of the housing difficulties of 60 low-income families" March 1976 pp.5-6
  5. Brotherhood Action December 1973 (No.202) p.4.
  6. Brotherhood Action September 1973 (No.201 - sic) pp.1 & 3 [ See also "Brotherhood of St Laurence Submission to the Commonwealth Commission of Enquiry into Poverty" (BSL Library 301.441 BRO)
  7. BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.5 (no numbering)
  8. Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No.201) p.8 and Brotherhood Action September 1973 (No.201 - sic) p.11
  9. BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.6 (no numbering)
  10. Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No.201) p.11, Brotherhood Action September 1973 (No.201 - sic) and Brotherhood Action December 1973 (No.202) p.10-11
  11. BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.9 (no numbering)
  12. "Large volumes of furniture, bric-a-brac and household goods have been sold to those who are keen to do their own creative repairs and restoration." BSL Annual Report 1973-1974 p.6 (no numbering)
  13. Michael Liffman "The Family Centre Project: A First Overview" (Family Centre Project Research Report No.1) July 1974 pp.46-50 See also Carol Ride "The Housing Battle: A study of the housing difficulties of 60 low-income families" March 1976 pp.5-6 and also p.10 re The Dalpatrick Fund
  14. "Material Aid Service - first report uncovers disturbing facts and attitudes" Brotherhood Action September 1973 (No.201 - sic) pp.3 & 5.
  15. BSL Annual Report 1973-1974 p.5 (no numbering)
  16. Brotherhood Action March 1973 (No.200) p.8 and Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No.201) p.8. Also (19 Feb 2009)
  17. "Although all flats recently purchased are completely self-contained, the residents who, so far, are all members of the Coolibah Centre, need varying degrees of support. As the units are close to the Centre, the required supervision and assistance can be readily provided." BSL Annual Report 1973-1974 p.2 (no numbering)
  18. BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.1 (no numbering); Brotherhood Action December 1973 (No.202) p.3
  19. Michael John Clarke, co-founder of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, died on 13 August 1973. Michael came to Australia from England in 1929 first at Adamstown and then joined Father Tucker in Fitzroy. In 1934 he was admitted to the Chapter of the Brotherhood. He worked at Fitzroy, Keble House and Carrum Downs until 1937 when he took over the work at St Cuthbert's East Brunswick. He served as Chaplain in the AIF during the war and from 1949 to 1961 he was incumbent of St James, Dandenong. Michael Clarke continued his association with the Brotherhood as a member of the Board of Directors until he went to the Diocese of Newcastle. BSL Action December 1973 (No.202) p.2 [Obituaries_Clarke_&_Bishop_1973-12.pdf]
  20. G.A.(Tony) Bishop died in Sydney on 15 July 1973. His association with the Brotherhood began in November 1941 when he came to Melbourne to join the Pacifist Service Community. By 1943 he was a member of staff as a Welfare Officer and was also Secretary of the Fitzroy Citizens’ Housing Committee. In 1944 he took part in the De Campo case. He also took part in the 38-day "Verandah Vigil" which resulted in changes in Housing Laws and brought the Brotherhood into public view. Tony worked for the Brotherhood again from 1949 to 1953, and from 1955 to 1961 in Administration. Brotherhood Action December 1973 (No.202) p.2 [Obituaries_Clarke_&_Bishop_1973-12.pdf] Also see [Coaldrake_&_pacifism_2003-9-30.pdf]
  21. Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No. 201) p.2: The initial brief was for recommendations in three areas: 1 - The elimination of instructions from the lengthy and complex departmental manuals which make value judgements or which are intrusive and subjective, and to see that the manuals are relevant to and reflect the philosophy of the Government. 2 - A system of appeals so that people who feel that they have been treated unfairly can take action against their grievances. 3 - The effect that maintenance procedures have on payment of social security entitlements. Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No. 201) p.2
  22. Inaugural meeting on 19 April 1973. Alan Matheson, from the Ecumenical Migration Centre was also a member. For other members see Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No.201) p.8.
  23. 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.
  24. David Griffiths "Emergency Relief - A report by the Australian Government Social Welfare Commission" April 1975 (BSL Library 361.62 GRI)
  25. BSL Annual Report 1973-1974 p.7 (no numbering)
  26. BSL Annual Report 1973-1974 p.7 (no numbering)
  27. Brotherhood Action June 1973 (No.201) p.8
  28. Brotherhood Action June 1974 (No.204) p.9

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