The History of Anglicare Southern Queensland
Who would have thought in 1870 that the focus and determination of five ladies who founded a women’s refuge in Brisbane would be the beginning of a 150 year journey of caring for Queenslanders. Read about Anglicare Southern Queensland’s journey, from humble beginnings as a community-run women’s refuge in Brisbane to one of Queensland’s most trusted community support organisations. Today our services include home and residential aged care, mental health, youth support, homelessness, foster care and family support.
The Early Years
– 1870 to 1900 –
The late 1800s are best remembered for the Great Flood of 1893 and the passing of the Federation Enabling Act that paved the way for Queensland to join the proposed Federation of the Australian colonies.
Changes to community support for women also featured during this time. A few women associated with the Anglican Church of Southern Queensland who often made charitable visits to women in gaols and lock hospitals decided there must be a better way forward for these women. Mrs Ann Drew, Mrs Coley, Mrs Suter, Mrs Turner and Mrs Stanley began work to create a Female Refuge Home in Ann Street, Brisbane. The Home was to service ‘those (women) who have lost their character and wish to reform.’
It was hard work to secure funds to keep the Home open, so after 12 months of operating it was closed. However, luck was on their side, an anonymous donation of £50 was made the day after the closure announcement. Mrs Drew went on to secure Government, Anglican clergy and parishioner donations to keep the home open. Twelve years later the home was self-sufficient, housing both women and children.
– 1870 to 1900 –
– 1870 –
An anonymous donation of 50 pounds helped secure a more permanent Female and Infants Refuge in Brisbane, transforming the current School of Arts in Ann Street into a women’s refuge, often referred to as Mrs Drew’s home. Newly widowed Mrs Drew single-handedly secured donations from the Government, Governor, Anglican clergy and parishioners in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Ipswich to keep the Home open.
– 1882 –
Records show that 725 women and 736 children had passed through the Female and Infants Refuge since it opened. The following years saw Mrs Drew work tirelessly to ensure that the Home was self-sufficient, and she continued to support the home for almost 40 years.
A New Era of Caring
– 1901 to 1932 –
Motorcars started to appear on Brisbane streets, and electricity and telephones were now available to those who could afford them. Despite improvements in infrastructure and living standards, the demand for district nurses was on the increase, with dengue fever peaking in 1905 and later the Spanish Flu pneumonic epidemic, which would claim more than 12,000 lives Australia-wide.
The Mothers’ Union District Nursing Association was formed in response to the increasing needs in the community. This would later be widely known as St Luke’s Nursing Service. As well as visiting patients in their home, the Mothers’ Union District Nursing Association established a maternity hospital. The association was also commissioned by the Brisbane City Council “to visit and nurse, free of charge, persons in a destitute condition”.
Additional care options for children and the elderly also featured during this time. Tufnell Home for Children expanded during the war to care for children of soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War. The establishment of St John’s Home for Aged Men saw the start of further care options for the elderly.
– 1901 to 1932 –
The Tufnell Home for Children expanded to meet the needs of the Brisbane community. Money was donated by Mrs Tufnell (wife of the first Bishop of Brisbane) to enable the home to move from rental premises to four acres at Nundah. The home housed 50 children and was officially opened on 6 February 1901.
– 1904 –
The origins of Brisbane’s oldest community nursing service can be traced to Christ Church in Milton. Dismayed by the mortality rates of children and their mothers, the women of Christ Church Parish took action and appointed a nurse to care for the sick. Sister Emma Jane Packer started on a six month trial as a ‘district nurse’, using her own bicycle to ride from client to client around Milton.
Hitting the Road
– 1935 to 1960 –
Although the first petrol driven car arrived in Brisbane in 1900, nurses would continue to use bikes and trams to visit clients until the Mother’s Union District Nursing Association purchased an Austin 10 Sedan in 1935. The onset of World War ll saw rationing of essential items including petrol. The government assisted with the purchase of new tyres and an extra petrol ration for the Austin to help maintain visits to the sick in their homes.
By the 1950s the District Nursing Association had purchased a new Sunbeam Hillman for £779 (equivalent to $41,000 in today’s terms), thanks to a generous donation by Farsley Motors and the State Government. The new car joined a Vanguard and a Volkswagen in the ‘fleet’ of cars that enabled the nurses to continue their community nursing. Almost thirty voluntary drivers offered their own cars (and petrol) to complete the fleet. With a more mobile service, nurses collectively travelled 57,837 miles (93,080 kilometres) and making 20,000 home visits to 2,231 patients by 1957.
– 1935 to 1960 –
– 1935 –
The first car was bought, a new Austin 10 Sedan. The funds to purchase it were raised by a fashion parade staged by the Queen Street department store Finney Isles.
– 1937 –
The Mother’s Union District Nursing Association shortens its name to District Nursing Association.
Aged Care Reform
– 1961 to 1999 –
The late 1960s saw more than 90% of Australian voters choose yes to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the census and for Indigenous people to be subject to Commonwealth laws, rather than just state laws. A giant leap forward with technology saw the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969 and the birth of the internet that same year. The World Wide Web connected the world on a new level 20 years later.
In 1968 the District Nursing Association changed its name to St Luke’s Nursing Service. Our commitment to supporting the aged continued with four new aged care homes opening in southern Queensland and an expanding home care service. This commitment to care for vulnerable groups of the community saw St Luke’s providing specialist care for people living with HIV/AIDS in Queensland in the mid-1980s, and increasing support with homeless youth and relationship support for families.
The Whitlam Government had introduced the domiciliary care benefit by 1973, providing financial assistance to those who cared for the sick aged in their home. St Luke’s Nursing Service benefited from this scheme, with patient numbers increasing by at least 12%. The availability of HACC funding, Community Aged Care Packages, and Veterans Home Care led to the rapid expansion of community nursing services after 1985.
– 1961 to 1999 –
– 1961 –
District Nursing Association President, Mrs Edaline Thomason, was awarded an MBE for her outstanding contribution to the cause of district nursing in Queensland.
Symes Thorpe Home for the Aged opens in Toowoomba.
Four Volkswagens were traded in and replaced, with thanks to a large donation from the Courier-Mail.
– 1962 –
47,919 visits were made to 4,528 patients and the nurses collectively travelled 121,889 miles (196,161 kilometres).
The Association now had five cars, and Mrs R Magoffin donated a sixth car in 1962, a 1957 Hillman Minx. Despite now having six cars, voluntary drivers in their own cars were still required. Volunteers also helped with the driving of the association’s cars, as only eight of the 20 nursing staff had their driving licences.
2000 and Beyond
– 2000 to now –
Important milestones of this period include Australia’s celebration of the centenary of Federation in 2001; the ‘apology speech’ by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for the mistreatment of Indigenous Australians in 2008; and the introduction of the Commonwealth Government’s ‘My Aged Care’ initiative in 2013 to make it easier for older people, their families, and carers to be assessed and access aged care services.
The caring service that the Anglican Church provides in the Queensland community enters its second century.
The Anglican Community Services Commission (ACSC) brought together all of the services including Anglican Care of the Aged (ACOTA), St Luke’s Nursing Service and Anglicare (Southern Queensland) in 2005. The following year these services merged under the name Spiritus.
By 2012, the name Anglicare Southern Queensland is officially adopted, replacing Spiritus. This reflects Anglicare’s connection with the Anglicare Australia network and better identifies its services with the mission of the Anglican Church.
This year Anglicare Southern Queensland celebrates 150 years. Although there have been a few name changes over the years, our 3,000+ staff and 639 volunteers commitment remains the same – to connect with people at every stage of their life journey, responding with love, care, hope and humility to the needs of community members who require support.
– 2000 to now –
– 2000 –
St Luke’s Volunteer Program started.
The Homeless Project began operating in Brisbane South, Brisbane North and Townsville.
– 2002 –
Anglicare Age Advantage is established, offering employment services to the Gold Coast’s mature-aged unemployed.
St Luke’s Longreach sub-branch opened.