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Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 2 years, 6 months ago

Homepage - Brotherhood timeline  | Service areas - home | Fundraising and campaigns - home



After a visit to a slum mission, F. Oswald Barnett, a public accountant and a member of the Methodist Church, became involved in the establishment of the Methodist Babies’ Home in 1929.  In 1934 Barnett formed a study group focused on housing reform, including slum demolition and the establishment of a state financed housing authority.  The Barnett Study Group, which included in its membership, G.K. Tucker, founder of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, became the driving force behind a campaign which led to the establishment of the Housing Commission of Victoria in 1938 [1]



Tucker began a long campaign by the Brotherhood against the slums of Fitzroy



First social action campaign undertaken, the so-called "Battle of King William Street" against unfair Landlord and tenant regulations, followed by the "The Veranda Vigil" in Armadale



Campaign Rooms open in Royal Arcade as a "shop window", Fr Tucker has office above the famous spiral staircase

Housing Campaign Appeal to raise money to deal with the housing of the “problem family” [2]



Victorian Council of Social Service established at a public meeting at the Melbourne Town Hall in December 1946



‘Food for Peace’ campaign (later Community Aid Abroad) founded at Carrum Downs  by Father Tucker  (NB Oxfam website gives 1953)



Slum Abolition Campaign' launched. Brochure


Holiday Scheme for Aged Pensioners began following a radio appeal in April.  From May, each week groups of pensioners went to guest houses in the country or by the sea for week-long holidays.  Semi-invalid Coolibah members were taken to a rented country house and cared for by BSL staff. [3] 



The Better Way Fund (to provide accommodation for elderly people) commenced as an alternative to sending floral tributes to funerals [4]



£50,000 Silver Jubilee Appeal launched as a Talent Drive based on the parable of the Talents in the Gospel of Matthew (Ch 25, verses 14-30).  At a meeting in the Melbourne Town Hall, addressed by Father Tucker and the Reverend Geoffrey Sambell, one thousand £1 notes were given out to individuals to put to good use on behalf of the Brotherhood.  Model cottages had been made and painted at Carrum Downs as collecting boxes



The first “Better Way” cottage opened at Carrum Downs in May.  Three new cottages were financed by the Voluntary Helpers’ Shop (Camberwell). [5]



The second cottage to be funded by the Better Way is built at St Laurence Park, Lara


Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Frank Woods, establishes The Church of England Social Service Advisory Council with the purpose of consulting on areas and problems of common concern, advising the Archbishop in matters relating to the social welfare of the Church, coordinating action as required and strengthening the social service of the Church.  (The Brotherhood of St Laurence became a member.) [6]



BSL at first supported, then withdrew from, the pre-election campaign of the Victorian Committee Against Poverty & Social Injustice on the grounds of maintaining political neutrality. 


National Campaign on increasing inadequate pensions  (Holden)



Through the Pensions Reform Campaign the Brotherhood, in conjunction with other organisations, attempted to persuade the Commonwealth Government of the need for a thorough review and reform of social security programs in all areas of social welfare. [7]   Statement by Peter Hollingworth as Intersate Secretary for the Pensions Reform Campaign 07/07/1971, Press Release by the Pensions Reform Campaign ( formally known as Pensioners Little Budget Campaign)28/05/1971, Bulletin of the Pensioners' Little Budget Campaign 13/11/1970. Letter to Supporters asking them to support the campaign both morally and financially and asking them to send the Postcard to Prime Minister of Australia issued by the Australian Commonwealth Pensioners' Federation. Proposal by Pensions Reform Campaign for an independent enquiry into the social security system.



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.



‘Promise the Children’ - Action on Child Poverty, a major national campaign was launched by Hazel Hawke, wife of the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke. The campaign was run in conjunction with the Councils of Social Service throughout Australia (early May) [8]



In 1990, as part of the ‘Promise the Children’ - Action on Child Poverty campaign an Australia-wide campaign for postcards registering concern for child poverty brought twenty-six thousand in response. These were presented to Prime Minister Bob Hawke who was more than displeased to be reminded of his 1987 promise that “no child shall live in poverty by 1990”.


McDonalds agrees to use its tray mats in Victorian stores to support the BSL’s Promise the Children campaign initiative to promote the Federal Government’s Family Allowance Supplement (its effectiveness was seen in Department of Social Security reports of 80 calls a day from women and men) [9]



Food for All Appeal launched by the BSL and six other Anglican welfare agencies as part of the Support the Jobless public campaign (discontinued in 1993 and replaced by foodbanks run cooperatively by local agencies including Foodbank Victoria).  The aim was to raise awareness in the community of the plight of jobless people while also providing necessary and practical help.  The second stage was a program of community education and political advocacy, together with a “pledge a job” scheme. [10]

BSL Income Supplementation Services 1972- 1996



Food for All campaign, launched in July 1991 as a joint initiative with six other Anglican welfare agencies, was progressively wound down and replaced by food-banks run cooperatively by local agencies  [11]



Following the August 1996 Federal Budget announcement of the demise of the Commonwealth Dental Health Program, the BSL in conjunction with many other community service providers and dental organisations launched the Bite Back campaign with the aim of restoring the program [12]



Wearable clothes for welfare campaign



Public transport campaign conducted by the Craigieburn development Group (a group facilitated by the BSL)  (May)



Launch of Giving Tree gift donation campaign partnership with ABC Local Radio 774 (November)


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  1. Evan Walker The Second F. Oswald Barnett oration - Where are today’s Os. Barnetts? 9 November 1995, p.3 [2nd_Oswald_Barnett_Lecture-Evan_Walker.pdf] See also [Oswald_Barnett_Memoir_Extracts.pdf]
  2. See BSL Annual Report 1952, p.27
  3. BSL Annual Report 1952 pp.19-20
  4. “The ‘Better Way’ was established by the Brotherhood four years ago.” BSL Annual Report 1958-1959, p.11
  5. BSL Annual Report 1957-1958 p.9
  6. Helen M. Hughes A Survey of Anglican Social Work Agencies, The Church of England Social Service Advisory Council 1967, Pt.1 p.1 [Hughes_AnglicanSocWelfareAgencies_section1_1967.pdf]
  7. BSL Annual Report 1970-1971 p.4
  8. BSL Annual Report 1988-1989 p.12
  9. BSL Annual Report 1990 p. 12
  10. BSL Annual Report 1991 p.7 and BSL Annual Report 1992 p.7. During 1991 volunteers collected, sorted, packed and distributed food to 45 agencies for distribution to 17,500 people. See BSL Internal Working Paper No.2 Overview and History of Income Supplementation services in the Brotherhood of St Laurence (1972-1996) p.31
  11. 1993 Annual Report p: 10
  12. BSL Annual Report 1997 p.11.

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