South West Anglican Mission – Annual Conference – November 7th to November 9th 1966

South West Anglican Mission – Annual Conference – November 7th to November 9th 1966

Monday, November 7th.

His Grace the Archbishop led the first discussion with a series of questions:-

  1. What should our aim for the Aboriginals and how can we fulfil it?
  2. How far does the ‘spiritual’ enter into our work? What should the relationship with the parish Church?  How far should we be undenominational?
  3. Would the Department of Native Welfare do what we are doing if we ceased to work on the reserve?
  4. Should we have teams with a specialised approach to the various aspects of the work? If not, how should we deal with the pressing questions of drink, gambling, sanitation and hygiene, education, employment?
  5. Are we too kind? Are we guilty of a paternalism that stifles initiative? Do we ‘prop up’ rather than challenge and give responsibility?

Each team then gave an account of its activities: –

Pinjarra:

Until the beginning of this year the complete administration of the reserve had been in the hands of the Missioner.  Food rations, railway tickets had been issued and rents received.  Kindergarten, women’s social club, homework classes were arranged.  Employment found, domestic problems discussed, clinic visits arranged, sick taken to hospital, furniture and clothing provided; broken doors and louvres fixed, taps adjusted and replaced, rubbish clearance arranged.  Arrangements with Rector for confirmation, baptism, Sunday school, etc.

Mt. Barker:

Additional to above:  Hold sewing and cooking classes weekly, provide lunch for kindergarten children, visit Albany and Kendenup reserves.  Sunday school weekly on reserve and regular Church services.

Northam:

See children onto school bus. Interviews with local and government officials.  Visit and encourage natives in town houses.  Vandalism creates continual maintenance of louvres, fly-wire, electric light globes and fittings.  Hospital and gaol visiting.  Picking up gifts of clothing and furniture, and conducting sales of same.  Sewing class on the reserve and in town.  Arranging employment; conducting ‘Evenings’ on the reserve on Friday and Saturday evenings.  Weekly Sunday School. Arranging sporting activities.

Gnowangerup:

School homewrork; liaison with hospital, school, local committee, police; First-aid and dressings, building maintenance such as louvres, drains, demolition of houses; welfare and domestic problems.

East Perth:

Welfare problems; house-hunting; provision of furniture; co-operation with school; Infant welfare Clinic; Immunisation Clinic; kindergarten; local council and health authorities.  Bathing facilities provided; assistance given in handling money.

Hostel:

Boys found apprenticeships and semi-skilled jobs; treated as a family; taught how to save.  Hostel vehicle used for picking up clothing, furniture, etc. for the Mission from donors in thE Metropolitan area, and delivered to field teams.

Discussion on the various points followed during Monday evening and Tuesday and the main conclusions were as follows:-

  1. The aim of the Mission: is to assist the natives to become full members of the community, in Church life as well as in the economic and social spheres.
  1. on the part of the natives.
  1. Acceptance cannot be imposed by law: it must be created and must come from a genuine desire to accept.
  • Our task is to impress upon the community that the natives have the same civil privileges and so must accept the same responsibilities: i.e. compulsory voting, national service, observance of laws.
  • We must interest the Shire Councils and other local authorities in the whole orbit of welfare work. Inspections by local health officers or other local government authorities to be encouraged.
  • We must establish a close co-operation with local organisations: e.g. schools, police, Justices of the Peace, hospitals, clinics, Apex, Rotary, etc.
  • We must create informed interest among the local Church people and others, the elected representatives of governing bodies and Parliaments.
  1. Acceptability: This was considered under separate headings, but it was emphasised that it was not easy, nor even desirable to make divisions in the overall approach to the task of turning outcast people into acceptable citizens. However, the discussion under different aspects of the work did help us to crystalize our ideas.

The barriers to Acceptance were considered as follows:-

  1. Drink: It was unanimously agreed that the natives should try to offset the evils of drunkenness in the following ways:-
  • By striving for an enforcement of the laws regarding drinking, especially under-age drinking.
  • By using such propaganda as was available resecting the evils of excessive alcohol.
  • By trying to improve the living conditions
  • By the provision of Hostels for boys and girls leaving school, in order to get them away from degrading influence of the reserves.
  • Above all, by personal example and the individual contact with the people on the reserves
  1. Gambling: Al the above in regard to drink applies equally to gambling. However, there were one or two additional thoughts.
  • To substitute one type of gambling for another was not the answer.
  • Occupation for the women on the reserves should be arranged and organised.

Hospital Costs:  It was realised that it was practically impossible to persuade the natives to join a Hospital Benefits Fund, when they knew the Dept. pays for their hospitalisation

Other subjects discussed were:

Christian Witness: It was generally agreed that no amount of teaching, preaching, or services on the reserve would influence the people, unless there was a change of heart among them, individually.  The Missioners’ task was to show them the love of Christ in word and action.

 

This document is from the personal papers of Mary Elliott – the language is that of the author

Stephen Hall
Stephen Hall
Lives in Perth, Western Australia.

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