Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinPausePlay

90 years of impact

The reach of BSL’s work over 90 years has created untold impact, with its many firsts having shaped the landscape of the Australia that we have today. See the moments throughout time of BSL’s work to prevent and alleviate poverty across Australia.

1930s

In the beginning

8 Dec 1930

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) was founded on 8 December 1930

This is a  black and white photo of the founders of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence. From left to right, they are Michael Clarke, Gerard Tucker and Guy Cox at St Cuthbert's in East Brunswick in 1936.

1933

BSL relocates to Fitzroy, Victoria

This is a black and white photo of a young boy playing in a puddle in a Fitzroy laneway.

1935

BSL establishes a settlement for unemployed families in Carrum Downs

This is a black and white photo of cottages in the Carrum Downs Settlement.

1937

Hostel for homeless boys ('lads') opened

This black and white photograph is of seven young men playing billiards and sitting around the table in the club room at the boys hostel in Fitzroy.

1938

BSL opens its first shop

This is a black and white photo of a few female volunteers sorting clothes and other second-hand items in a warehouse facility.

1940s

Activism and innovation

1943

BSL employs its first Social Research Officer

This is an illustration of a household in the 1940s with a mother cooking in the kitchen and a child playing with a wagon. The illustration is a covere of a report called Housing the Forgotten Tenth.

1944

Father Tucker participates in a sit-in for 37 days

This is a black and white photograph of Father Tucker under a blanket, Frank Coaldrake and Tony Bishop sitting on the verandah of an Armadale house in protest.

1946

The Coolibah Club opened in Fitzroy

This is an image of Aged Care officer Jess Millot serving Christmas pudding for Coolibah Club members at Christmas time. They are happy and joyful in this black and white photograph.

1946

Melbourne’s first Alcoholics Anonymous group formed

This is a photo of BSL's building in Fitzroy

1946

BSL opens first residence for aged persons

This is a photo of Father Tucker talking to a resident from the aged care residences at Carrum Downs Settlement.

1947

Father Tucker commissioned films to highlight the living conditions of the poor

This is a still image from the film Beautiful Melbourne. It shows a toddler crawling with house lice on him.

1948

Free Milk Day

This is a black and white photograph of children enjoying free milk at school There are about 8 children in the photo and they are happy and smiling.

1948

BSL on the radio

This photo shows Father Tucker at the microphone at 3XY radio station in the 1950s

1950s

Growth and expansion

1952

BSL opened a Children’s Health Clinic

This is a photo of a nurse helping a child at the Children’s Health Clinic in 1952

1952

Free legal aid service

A worker meeting with a client at the Social Service Bureau where BSL's legal aid service was conducted

1953

BSL’s Food for Peace Campaign grew into Oxfam Australia

This is a photo of Neville Brooke and Father Tucker on the Food for Peace campaign trail. They are standing together looking at a large document.

1956

BSL helps facilitate the establishment of the Ecumenical Migration Centre

A black and white photograph of the Ecumenical Migration Centre

1957

BSL's Donated Goods division set up

A photo of BSL's Donated Goods division on Westgarth Street in Fitzroy with volunteers sorting goods

1960s

Increasing demand

1960

Seven Opportunity Stores in operation

A photo of the exterior of the Brotherhood Salvage shop in Dandenong, Victoria

1960

Demand for aged care grows

A photo of the accommodation at aged care residences in St Laurence Park in Lara

1967

Victoria’s first successful family planning clinic established

This is a black and white photograph of a mother and her young son talking to staff at the Family Planning Clinic

1969

Sumner House development commences

This is a black and white photo of residents at Sumner House

1970s

Building for the future

1971

In the 1970s Brotherhood shops rebranded, now with 11 stores in operation

This is a photo of a woman putting her home collection bag into a Brotherhood Bin. She is donating used goods.

1971

BSL incorporated by Victorian Act of Parliament

This is a picture of the first page of the document outlining the incorporation of BSL by Victorian Act of Parliament

1972

BSL launches Family Centre Project

This is a photo of children enjoying a play group in the park, organised at the Family Centre. They are happy and smiling.

1972

SPAN Project commences

This is a photo of the members of SPAN community house in Thornbury.

1978

Building commences on Sambell Lodge in Clifton Hill

A photo of a resident in her room at Sambell lodge an aged care facility. She is smiling at the camera.

1980s

Caring for older Australians

1980

BSL builds community housing for people with dementia through the 1980s

A Photo of Geelong's St. Laurence House which offered day and respite care for the elderly suffering from confusion.

1981

BSL’s First Sambell Oration

This is a black and white photo of Lillian Holt addressing the audience at the 1993 Sambell Oration. She is standing in front of a banner that says 'Adding justice to care' and '60 years in Victoria'

1984

An open letter to Prime Minister Bob Hawke

This is an image of the front page of the age newspaper depicting the letter to Bob Hawke

1986

Employment Action Centres launched

This is a black and white photo of an employment officer teaching job seekers. There are about 10 people listening to the employment officer. She is standing in front of a whiteboard.

1989

Wintringham Hostels established

A photo of a room in the Wintringham Hostel. The room has two beds.

1990s

No child left in poverty

1990

Report: Aboriginal Child Poverty

This is an image of the front cover of the report called Aboriginal Child Poverty.

1991

BSL launches Homework Club

This is a photo of a homework club participant working on a maths problem with a tutor at a table. They are both happy and engaged in what they are doing.

1992

Banksia Adult Day Centre introduces overnight respite care

This is a photograph of an older couple standing outside the Banksia Centre. There are gardens in the background. The couple is smiling.

1998

BSL brings HIPPY to Australia

This is a photograph of a mother and her young daughter playing and participating in the HIPPY program. They are playing on a mat on the floor with smiles on their faces, looking happy and engaged.

1999

Building Better Lives Appeal

This image depicts an artist impression of the MIllot House redevelopment from the BSL newsletter.

2000s

Jobs, jobs, jobs

2002

BSL launches Hunter Gatherer fashion label

The storefront of the Hunter Gatherer store in Fitzroy

2002

Given the Chance is born

This is a photo of Given the Chance employer, Outlook Environmental,  whohas helped us find work for people seeking asylum. A man is wearing safety gear and working

2003

Saver Plus launches in 2003, supporting Australians to save

This is a picture of a family at the dining table with the children doing their homework and the mother is paying bills.

2007

Establishment of the Prue Myer Fund

A portrait photo of early feminist and philanthropist Prudence Myer

2009

BSL helps establish Goodstart Early Learning

Goodstart Early Learning logo

2010s

Aspiring to greater heights

2010

BSL launches Brotherhood Books

This is a photo of two volunteers sorting books for Brotherhood Books at the warehouse. They are both smiling and happy.

2011

BSL develops Stepping Stones program

Stepping Stones participants

2011

National Energy Saving Initiative launches

This photo is of solar panels on a roof with a blue sky in the background.

2012

Education First Youth Foyers project commences

This is a photo of three young people sitting outside laughing and smiling.

2013

Let’s Fully Welcome Refugees Campaign

This is photograph of the Lets Fully Welcome Refugees banner that was hung on St Paul's Cathedral. It shows a refugee child and has logos of the Anglican Church and BSL on it.

2016

BSL offers Transition to Work program

Transition to Work Logo

2016

BSL starts to roll out the National Disability Insurance Scheme

This is a photo of an NDIS Participant standing with his bag and smiling at the camera. He is in front of a pool.

2016

BSL’s first Reconciliation Action Plan

This is a photo of CareerTrackers interns Stephany and Jamarl undertook internships with our youth programs. They are smiling and the camera and are standing in front of Aboriginal artwork.

2017

BSL opens the David Scott School

This is a photo of students heading to class outside the David Scott School. There are about 8 students and a teacher is guiding them and smiling.

2020

Clifton Hill Residence Opens

This is a photo of a resident's room at BSL's aged care residence in Clifton Hill. The decor is yellow and white, and the room is bright and inviting.

Got a question or special moment from BSL’s history to share?

Email us