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Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 1 year ago



The Brotherhood came to St Mary’s Mission House, Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy on 18 June 1933


Establishment of the "Single Men's Unemployed Housing Scheme," with the House of St Francis at 31 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.  Rent was covered through three groups of "Friends" from Anglican parishes  -  St Mary's Mission, St Peter's Eastern Hill and St George's Malvern (Father Tucker's first newsletter from Melbourne in October 1933). 



St Francis’ House, Fitzroy transferred to 2-8 James Street where the first Brotherhood property was purchased  (check date - Holden Divine Discontent says 1936)



First shop auxiliary formed in Fitzroy and conducts first Brotherhood shop in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy   

Buildings in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy - three shops with residences and a woodyard, all of which backed on to St Mary’s Mission - purchased for £3,000 (Carter 1967, God and Three Shillings, pp.50-51).  



Hostel for homeless boys (“lads”) opened at 65 Brunswick Street.


First “Op shop" opened in Gertrude Street, later transferred to Brunswick Street (1936 acc. to 1952 Annual Report, but 1937-Holden Check other sources - Brotherhood Notes? )


Guidance Centre established in Fitzroy for families with problems


Children’s Health Clinic started at Fitzroy. 


The first Commission estate was the mid 1950s St. Laurence Estate, off Hanover Street.  This consisted of 60 (approx) walk-ups in the estate bordered by Fleet and Hanover Streets. These include 8 elderly person's units at 45 Fleet Street.


Salvage Division set up as Australia's first large-scale recycled clothing operation at 75 Westgarth Street, Fitzroy with two vans collecting goods across Melbourne (slogan - “We treasure your waste”). Cartons and parcels from the country are carried free of charge on Victorian Railways.  Social workers have first call on donated clothing and the remainder sold through the Opportunity Shops to help finance the social service work.  “Sorting is carried out by groups of voluntary ladies.
Silver Jubilee Building Appeal raises £12,000.  Construction begins on first stage of master plan for extensions to the Coolibah Club, Children’s Centre and Offices at the Brunswick Street headquarters


New headquarters building at Fitzroy, with ground and first floors completed in October.  The ground floor housed a new Social Service Bureau, a waiting room and Chapel, with  a shower and change room for the Coolibah Club.  The first floor offices accommodated Social Workers of the Family Service Project, along with the Accountant and Organiser who had been in rented premises in East Melbourne (BSL Annual Report 1957-1958 p.3. The Accountant was Mr P.J. Stanley and Miss M.E. Rawlins was the Organiser). 


Master plan drawn up for 15-20 self-contained flats “in North Fitzroy” (became Keble Court in East Brunswick) financed by money donated by the Voluntary Helpers’ Shop (initial donation of £7,000) and subsidies from the Commonwealth Government
The second floor extension to the Children’s Centre completed at the headquarters building, including an open-air playground area on the flat roof to provide for basketball and “other more vigorous ball games”, financed through a special appeal (the Children’s Centre & Clinic Appeal) to Trades Unions and Business Houses (BSL Annual Report 1957-1958, p.3; and BSL Annual Report 1958-1959 pp.7, 12).  


Creative Leisure Centre for children opens in Fitzroy in the new section of the Children’s Centre.  During the school holidays an average of 75 children attended each day, with an average of 65 boys & girls attending after school (BSL Annual Report 1961-1962 , p.7).  


Figures collected by the Social Service Bureau from March-August 1963 show that Fitzroy is the single suburb from which the largest group of clients come, but the BSL is also reaching many in the outer Eastern suburbs (eg Canterbury, Blackburn, Jordanville etc) and in the new northern housing areas (eg Preston, Reservoir) (BSL Annual Report 1962-1963, p.14). 


A block of land was purchased in Palmer Street, Fitzroy.  “This adjoins the existing Brotherhood land and so lends itself to future expansion.  At present it is in use as a car park for the Brotherhood vehicles.”  (BSL Annual Report 1964-1965, p.12). 


The need for emergency accommodation led the Brotherhood to rent a two-storey house in North Fitzroy which was fully occupied through the year, with many applications having to be refused.  “The project has demonstrated that emergency housing is an essential provision very much lacking in the welfare facilities of this State.  Financial aid to the extent of $13,000 was provided and the (Social Service) Bureau will have to continue meeting this need until more realistic statutory provision is made to meet emergency financial situations and social service benefits are more adequate for certain groups.” (BSL Annual Report 1966-1967, p.3). 


BSL’s Family Planning Clinic established in Fitzroy in July 1967


The emergency housing project in North Fitzroy (1966) 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 (BSL Annual Report 1966-1967 p.3; 1968-1969 p.5).


Housing Commission High Rise tower on Atherton Gardens Estate at 95 Napier Street, Fitzroy, completed. 
Youth and Leisure Centre attendances jump due to the impact of a sudden increase in population when families moved into the new Fitzroy Housing Commission flats. 
Social Work Service closed in Fitzroy.


High-rise towers completed on Atherton Gardens Estate at 125 Napier Street and 90 & 140 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (a total of 184 dwellings & 561 people removed in 1966-1969 for 4 towers and 800 flats)
Shops in Footscray and Westgarth Street, Fitzroy, were closed (BSL Annual Report 1970-1971, p.7).  


Brotherhood offices rebuilt at 67 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, including completion of stage one of the Coolibah Centre (including craft room, television and sitting rooms, showers, a communal laundry and a large dining area).  The second stage under construction will house the sick bay, clothing store, changing room with shower, chiropody section, an additional sitting room and offices (BSL Annual Report 1971-1972, p.3).  
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. A special auxiliary was developed to support the work of the service. (November) (Benn, Connie 1972,  The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept First Report, p.12).  
Three terrace apartment houses in historic Glass Terrace in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, were offered 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 are selected on their needs (BSL Annual Report 1972-1973, p.3). 


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. 
Limurru Child Care Centre (“a small-scale children’s nursery” in a local house purchased by the Brotherhood with funds from the Australian Government) opened in Napier Street, Fitzroy, originally established to support & complement the BSL’s Family Day Care program. 
Block of 10 flats purchased on the corner of Fitzroy and Palmer Streets, Fitzroy for independent living.  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, overlooking the Darling Gardens.
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, made possible by a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation.  “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.”


Sumner House hostel in Fitzroy for the frail aged - named after Miss Jessica Sumner a Brotherhood employee for 23 years before retiring in 1972 - was opened on 21 March by the Mayor of Fitzroy.  This was largely funded by the Australian Government, with grants from the Voluntary Helpers Shop and the Ian Currie Trust.


The Unemployment Rights Service opened in Fitzroy - a specialist service to help people to deal with social security matters by providing information, advice and advocacy for unemployed people of all ages.  Assistance was provided for both personal and telephone callers, with more than half contacting by telephone from country centres and the metropolitan area


The Unemployment Rights Service closed at Fitzroy and moved to Footscray in October as an independent service run by the Western Region Right To Work Committee (BSL Annual Report 1981-1982 p.7).  


The Fitzroy Auxiliary, founded in 1936 to open the Brotherhood’s first shop, disbanded.  The group continued to work for the Brotherhood as the Donated Goods Volunteers


Following negotiations with Fitzroy City Council and the Ministry of Housing about ways of preserving the whole of Glass Terrace in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, the Ministry of Housing agreed to purchase the three Brotherhood boarding houses in order to restore the entire terrace (BSL Annual Report 1982-1983, p.4) 
The Sharing Centre closed at the end of 1983 and the Material Aid Service moved to a shop at 79 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. 


St Mary’s Mission House, Fitzroy was converted into a rooming house for 25 people and renamed Millott House in honour of Jessica Millott who worked with the Coolibah Club for thirty years.  A group of long-standing Fitzroy residents moved in from the rooming houses in Glass Terrace.


The Fitzroy shop closed in March.


Construction of the BSL and the Victorian Health Department joint building development (on the site of 73-79 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy - later known as 75 Brunswick Street) began with the clearing of an adjoining vacant block of land and demolition of two old shops (BSL Annual Report 1985-1986 p.2.; BSL Annual Report 1986-1987 p.16 - Notes to the Accounts, n.6 Fixed Assets: “The Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Fitzroy Community Health Centre are contributing to the project according to a pre-determined formula.  A trust known as the 73-81 Brunswick St. Trust has been established for this purpose).  
New building opened adjacent to 67 Brunswick St, with ground floor leased to Fitzroy Community Health Centre, under a joint venture with the then Victorian Health Department. 


Chapel of St Laurence dedicated and opened at Brunswick Street, Fitzroy on 2 February
Service provision by the Family Services Division was consolidated into two areas: Napier Street Cottage Child Care Centre developed a style of program to assist children from particularly disadvantaged Fitzroy families - high staff-child ratio, outings for children, culturally relevant meals and activities, yoga and creative movement, and programs to assist children experiencing developmental delays. Napier Street Family Centre aimed to assist low income families in the inner urban region to establish strong and positive social networks.


Employment Action Centre (EAC) opened in Victoria Street, Fitzroy


Life Chances of Children longitudinal study began following the lives of babies born in Fitzroy and Collingwood in 1990/91 to enable a comparison of three groups - very poor, poor and better off families.



Brotherhood established an infant health centre in Brunswick Street (BSL Media Release).


Major celebration in Fitzroy of 60th Anniversary of BSL in Melbourne with procession around the streets and unveiling of a bronze medallion of Father Tucker on the façade of 67 Brunswick Street by the Governor-General, Bill Hayden (18 June 1993)
Father Tucker Shop (a catering enterprise training unemployed people for work in the hospitality industry) opened on 2nd floor of 67 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, operating Tuesday-Friday, 7.30 am - 2 pm.  (October)
Sumner House, Fitzroy, underwent major renovations to improve safety and access for residents .


First Hunter Gatherer store opend in Fitzroy.


Second stand-alone Hunter Gatherer store opened in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.


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