EVERYMAN'S WELFARE SERVICE
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2
"Evereyman's - A Home away from home"
In 1936 the Campaigners of Christ erected a small hut in the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds. The Campaigners of Christ was made up of a group of businessmen and some Christian Laymen. The hut was used to provide light refreshments, literature, Christian entertainment and witness.
During WW2 the Melbourne Showgrounds was used by the RAAF as a transit camp and training school. The Campaigners for Christ obtained permission from the RAAF to provide a service to the RAAF Personnel based in the Showgrounds.
One of the foundation members, Leonard Buck, travelled to the Malayan peninsular and provided a similar service to military personnel there using a specially fitted out mobile van. As the Japanese advanced down the Malayan Peninsular, Buck escaped from Singapore on the ship the "Empire Star". He arrived in Perth where he was interviewed by Frank Sinclair, the Secretary for War.
Meanwhile two other Campaigners for Christ attempted to establish a hut in Smith Street, Darwin. Their site was hit during the early Japanese bombing raids on Darwin. The two men were then requested to supervise a train load of women and children headed for Melbourne.
Leonard Buck shared his vision of how he could serve the men and women of the Military at public meetings in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Townsville. This vision involved establishing Everyman's Huts at various locations to provide light refreshments, literature, Christian entertainment and witness. This service was provided under the guise of the Everyman's Welfare Service.
They established their first Everyman's Hut in Albury at the soon to be finished Bonegilla Army Camp, 15kms east of Wodonga. in Victoria. An Everywoman's Hut staffed by women was established at Bandiana, 5kms from Wodonga. The organisation also established Tea Rooms in capital cities around Australia.
The Huts were manned by ministers of religion, and civilian men and women volunteers. They wore a pinky grey Military style uniform and were given the status of an Officer by the local Military Commander.
Everyman's Welfare Service established an Everyman's Hut in Stanley Street, Townsville during WW2.
Everyman's Tent at the Amberley Air Show on 4 October 2008
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"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 26 June 2004
This page last updated 16 January 2020