Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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GFS Australia (1879 - )

From
1879
Occupations
Religious organisation
Alternative Names
  • Girls' Friendly Society
Website
http://www.gfsaustralia.org.au

Summary

Originally known as the Girls' Friendly Society, GFS Australia began as a local branch of the Girls' Friendly Society founded in England in 1875 by Mary Townsend. This was an Anglican Church group which formed to give maids and female domestic staff spiritual guidance and social activities for their days off. The Society later also functioned in part as an employment agency. The first local Australian branch was formed in Adelaide in 1879, with branches being established in all states by 1901. It aimed to facilitate friendship between ladies (Associates) and working girls (members). Associates would help find members jobs and encourage them in Christian behaviour. By 1910 there were 329 members in Sydney. The activities of local groups varied considerably. However, in its early days, branches generally held meetings for working girls and several also ran hostels to provide them with accommodation. More recent programs have included camps and leadership courses. The Society no longer focuses solely on girls. As of 2004, its stated aims were 'to minister to children, youth and their families', and there were 14 branches of the Society across all Australian states.

Related entries

Archival resources

Anglican Church Diocese of Grafton

  • North Grafton Girls Friendly Society, Grafton Cathedral Parish, Anglican Church of Australia, 1959 - 1970; Anglican Church Diocese of Grafton. Details

Archives Office of Tasmania

  • Girls' Friendly Society [of Tasmania?], 1913 - 1978, NS 604 and 698; Archives Office of Tasmania. Details
  • Girls Friendly Society, All Saints Parish, Tasmania, 1910 - 1924, NS 354/80-82; Archives Office of Tasmania. Details
  • Girls' Friendly Society, Church of St Michael and All Angels, Hobart, 1926 - 1940, NS 1241/107 and 119; Archives Office of Tasmania. Details
  • Girls' Friendly Society, Latrobe, 1913 - 1921, NS 945/5-6; Archives Office of Tasmania. Details
  • Girls' Friendly Society, St John the Baptist Church, Hobart, 1907 - 1928, NS 1241/70; Archives Office of Tasmania. Details
  • Girls Friendly Society, St Pauls, Church of England, Launceston, 1909 - 1934, NS 472/45; Archives Office of Tasmania. Details

Australian Historic Records Register

  • Girls' Friendly Society, Ballarat Diocesan Council: community organisation records, 1882 - 1981, 2496; Australian Historic Records Register. Details

John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection, State Library of Queensland

  • Papers of the Lady Musgrave Lodge Committee, 1887 - 1922, 6745/R382; John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection, State Library of Queensland. Details

JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia

  • Collection of material relating to the Girls Friendly Society, 1907, PR9514; JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Girls' Friendly Society (WA), Minute books, 1893 - 1967, ACC 1943A; JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details

Jane Carey

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124