Over a century of community service and aged care
In 1907 the Albert Street Uniting Church's long history of compassionate work was formally recognised and was renamed as the Central Methodist Mission – and is now Wesley Mission Brisbane.
1847 The work Wesley Mission Brisbane does actually started with Reverend William Moore who came to Brisbane in 1847 to take up his post as the first Methodist Minister in Brisbane.
Before he held his first church session, before any hymns were sung or sermons delivered, this newly arrived minister conducted his first official duty - a funeral service for a prostitute who had died penniless with no one to mourn her.
That compassion, which was shown by the Reverend Moore toward someone who was so harshly judged in nineteenth century society, is the seed from which the Wesley Mission Brisbane has grown and it is reflected in all we do.
From its inception, Wesley Mission Brisbane has maintained a commitment to furthering social justice through improving the lives of those in need in the community and assisting people to regain independence, dignity and self-sufficiency.
1906 In 1906, the newly appointed Reverend George Rowe launched the Mission's work, inviting young and old to participate in giving and receiving care, in visiting county parishes to generate financial support and in encouraging the city's youth to find a safe haven and healthy activities at the Mission's centre.
1907 In 1907 he established the Sisters of the Mission to dispense food, clothing, blankets, medical and health care to women and children in need. In its very first year the Mission relieved 500 cases of poverty, ill treatment and neglect and provided 235 food parcels, 224 meals and beds and 1083 articles of clothing.
Reverend Rowe also invited all of the newspaper boys in Brisbane to attend a supper in the local social hall. These newspaper boys were particularly vulnerable and many of them were homeless or living in perilous situations. Crowds of lads turned up, some well dressed, others barefoot and poorly clothed.
As a result of this meeting a penny savings bank was established to help the boys manage their money and to escape the cycle of poverty which many of them faced. In addition, a new swimming club was started to provide social interaction and promote healthy living. Today this is known as community consultation and community action.
Depression years (1930’s) During the Depression, Wesley Mission Brisbane provided meals, shelter and emergency relief to men who had lost their jobs, self-esteem and dignity.
1936 The opening of Queensland's first aged care residential village by Governor Sir Leslie Orme, was the realisation of a dream for the congregational Minister, Reverend Harold Wheller.
At the time, the Garden Settlement (now Wesley Mission Brisbane’s Wheller Gardens) was considered a challenging, even dangerous, experiment.
Wesley Mission Brisbane’s Wheller Gardens was built on land donated by Brisbane soft-drink manufacturer, Mr George Marchant, a strong supporter of Reverend Wheller's vision. Wesley Mission Brisbane relied on donations to support its endeavours.
The generosity of this well-known philanthropist strengthened the foundations for Wesley Mission Brisbane to expand and build its reputation as a leading provider of quality, innovative aged care and community services.
Present day Public support has always been crucial to the work of Wesley Mission Brisbane.
For more than a century we have coordinated donations of time, goods and money – redistributing these gifts to the places they are most needed.
After more than a century, Wesley Mission Brisbane continues to meet the needs of people in the community who may be marginalised, disadvantaged or in need of assistance.
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