Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- Social support organisation
- Alternative Names
- Melbourne Ladies Welfare Society (1964 - 1983)
In response to the perceived needs of the 'deserving poor', the Melbourne Ladies Benevolent Society (MLBS) began operations as the Presbyterian Female Visiting Society in August 1845. By 1851, it was known as the MLBS, and retained that name until 1964, when it became the Melbourne Ladies' Welfare Society. The Society supplied food, clothing and other necessities to the respectable poor at home, particularly women in the Fitzroy and surrounding areas. The MLBS was acknowledged as Melbourne's principal relieving agency and played a major role in dispensing social service benefits until the 1940s, when the Commonwealth Government assumed a greater responsibility for social welfare.
Sources used to compile this entry: Kennedy, Richard, 'Poor relief in Melbourne: the Benevolent Society's contribution, 1845-1893', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 60, no. 4, 1974; Swain, Shurlee and Howe, Renate, Single mothers and their children: disposal, punishment and survival in Australia, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1995.