Since the last meeting in December 1966 of the A.M.C. several aspects of the work of the Mission have been brought into prominence.
- The need for pastoral care among the coloured people in the Metropolitan area and for more evangelistic work generally has led to a more specific activity in this regard. I have already baptised one child and expect several more baptisms. A committee of the Mothers’ Union, under the guidance of Mrs. Drage, has undertaken a personal sponsoring of the children thus baptised, and this is bringing about a closer bond, not only between the Mothers’ Union and the families, but also with the Church organisations generally. I have also joined actively in the evangelistic work of Mr. Ben Mason and his ‘Nungar Church’ with services being held in Claisebrook Rd. East Perth on a Thursday evening, and the Beaufort St. Centre on a Sunday evening. The country centres have been visited by another coloured evangelist, Mr. Ron. Williams, and I joined him and Mr. Wrightson for Mission services in January.
- The threatened eviction of several families from houses in East Perth, and the fact that one whole family is living in the backyard of another house rented by a large family has made obvious the need for a concerted effort for housing for the coloured people. Nor is the problem confined to the Metropolitan area, for all our teams are constantly beset by it. What is needed is a short term action to meet the present situation and long term planning to meet the problems of the future. The Mission can little more than a pressure group; the responsibility must rest with the governments and departments concerned.
- Our hostel in Mt. Lawley is now full with ten boys. There has been, as always, at the end of a year, some coming and going of boys, and two whom we accepted were unable to reach the standard or to accept the discipline required of them. However, four new boys are settling down into the routine and the work which Mr. Warren finds for them. There is no doubt in my mind that the hostel is our greatest contribution towards acceptance and integration, even if it is our costliest.
- During the last three months the activities of the East Perth Centre have been many. As already indicated housing has been a vexing problem. Recreation and baths for the children have been in constant demand. Sister Butcher of the Infant health organisation, although officially at the Centre only once a week, has been almost a daily visitor, and immunisation clinics have also been held there. This ‘health and hygiene’ drive creates new problems and more contacts, and makes us realise the merits of this material aspect of our work. Sister MacDonald is now out of hospital and should be back at work in about a month.
- At the end of December last year the Commissioner for Native Welfare indicated that he was not very satisfied with the basis of the Department’s subsidy for the work of the Mission. Initially, the subsidy at the rate of 5,000 pounds ($10,000) for eight teams was granted because the teams carried out maintenance to buildings on the reserves. The Department officers claim that maintenance is not being done as much as in the beginning; (we disagree with this), and so the Commissioner has suggested that a new basis be considered, more consistent with the Welfare work done by the teams. We welcome the idea and await the Commissioner’s suggestions, but would add that we have no intention of handing any of the control of the Mission over to the Department – (although this could possibly be suggested by the Commissioner). Increasing costs have led to a gradual decrease in the number of missioners, although I would point out that at our peak we had seven teams of two, and a married couple running the hostel – -a total of 16., whereas now we have four country teams and two teams of three, one at East Perth and one running the hostel- – a total of 14.
- There have been two resignations from the board during the past month: viz. Mrs. David Kirkman, who has represented the Diocese of Kalgoorlie for some years resigned because of prolonged absence from the State; and Mr. George Harwood, an aboriginal co-opted by the Board, has resigned owing to pressure of work.
This document is from the personal papers of Mary Elliott – the language is that of the author