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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.


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.


BSL relocates to Fitzroy, Victoria

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


BSL establishes a settlement for unemployed families in Carrum Downs

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


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.


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.


Activism and innovation


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.


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.


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.


Melbourne’s first Alcoholics Anonymous group formed

This is a photo of BSL's building in Fitzroy


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.


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.


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.


BSL on the radio

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


Growth and expansion


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


Free legal aid service

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


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.


BSL helps facilitate the establishment of the Ecumenical Migration Centre

A black and white photograph of the Ecumenical Migration Centre


BSL's Donated Goods division set up

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


Increasing demand


Seven Opportunity Stores in operation

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


Demand for aged care grows

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


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


Sumner House development commences

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


Building for the future


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.


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


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.


SPAN Project commences

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


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.


Caring for older Australians


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.


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'


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


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.


Wintringham Hostels established

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


No child left in poverty


Report: Aboriginal Child Poverty

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


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.


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.


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.


Building Better Lives Appeal

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


Jobs, jobs, jobs


BSL launches Hunter Gatherer fashion label

The storefront of the Hunter Gatherer store in Fitzroy


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


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.


Establishment of the Prue Myer Fund

A portrait photo of early feminist and philanthropist Prudence Myer


BSL helps establish Goodstart Early Learning

Goodstart Early Learning logo


Aspiring to greater heights


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.


BSL develops Stepping Stones program

Stepping Stones participants


National Energy Saving Initiative launches

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


Education First Youth Foyers project commences

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


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.


BSL offers Transition to Work program

Transition to Work Logo


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.


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.


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.


Strength and resilience, the COVID-19 pandemic


In 2020, resilience was tested at a personal and societal level, and the true impact of the Coronavirus crisis was yet to be seen

A group of bicultural BSL staff standing in front of a residential tower block wearing masks.


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.


Improved our connection to the community with a new website

A screenshot of the BSL website.


BSL turns 90

A screenshot of the BSL 90 Years website.


HIPPY Research studies launch

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Minister for the Department of Social Services speaking at the BSL HIPPY studies launch in 2021.


Further embedded action on reconciliation through our stretch RAP

BSL Stretch RAP logo.


New Executive Director appointed

Portrait photo of Travers McLeod, Executive Director of BSL.

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

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