Faith in Action

Faith in Action

Meredith Lake
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: UNSW Press
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    Faith in Action
    Book Description:

    Maverick Archdeacon Robert Hammond, Minister of St Barnabas’ Church, Broadway, established Hammond’s Pioneer Homes during the depths of the Great Depression to provide affordable homes for struggling families. By 1940 Hammondville, on the outskirts of Sydney, had 110 homes, a school, general store, post office and church, and was a nationally recognised model for small-scale land settlement. In the early 1950s the organisation established Hammondville Homes for Senior Citizens, one of Australia’s first integrated facilities for disadvantaged elderly people. Today, HammondCare serves a wide range of people with complex health and aged-care needs, through dementia and aged-care services, palliative care, rehabilitation, and mental health programs.

    eISBN: 978-1-74224-616-1
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Christian charity from Sydney to eternity
    (pp. 1-9)

    Arthur Stace was barely fifteen when he was first arrested and charged for drunkenness. The son of chronic alcoholics, he had been introduced to intoxicating liquor as a small child and, like his older siblings, quickly developed his own habit of heavy drinking. A state ward with very little formal education, he found his first job at a coal mine. The young teenager celebrated his maiden pay cheque with a beer purchased in the adult way, over a hotel counter. But Stace failed to hold that job, or any other, for very long. Apart from a stint in the army,...

  5. I ‘A practical and splendid scheme’
    • [I Introduction]
      (pp. 11-13)

      Tom Elkington was fourteen years old when he was compelled to quit school. The Great Depression had set in, his family was struggling to make ends meet, and his unemployed father could no longer afford to send him to class. Like hundreds of other boys, Tom began searching for work. Each morning he walked a few kilometres to St Barnabas’ Anglican church on Broadway, in the hope that its minister, Robert Hammond, would be able to find him some work. Hammond often had odd jobs that needed doing around the church and he was well connected to Sydney business people...

    • 1 A practical Christian tackles the Depression
      (pp. 14-69)

      Jesus was right when he said ‘the poor will always be with us’. The meanings of poverty, like the identities and experiences of its victims, have varied considerably throughout history.¹ But there have always been needy people and this helps explain why individuals famed for helping them – from Calcutta’s Mother Teresa to Kings Cross’s Ted Noffs – have an apparently timeless appeal and quality. Their examples resonate beyond their deaths into an uncertain present and inspire others to care for the less fortunate members of the community. This is certainly true of Robert Hammond, whose Depression-era relief for the poor was...

    • 2 Life at Hammondville
      (pp. 70-107)

      Labourer George Payne was only twenty-eight, but he knew the feeling of ‘sheer desperation’. By September 1937 he had been unemployed for five long years. He had occasionally secured government relief work, including as a station hand in Moree. But food rations and the child endowment were the only regular source of support for him, his wife and their four young children. Unable to meet the cost of their rent, the family had been compelled to move in ‘with my wife’s people’. In that cramped and unsustainable situation, George applied for a Pioneer Home. Hammond judged him an ‘urgent case’...

  6. II ‘Adding life to their years’
    • [II Introduction]
      (pp. 109-110)

      On Tuesday 14 May 1946, the streets of Sydney were lined with people. As Canon Hammond’s funeral procession made its way from St Andrew’s Cathedral, many of the city’s poor stood and watched ‘just to give acknowledgement to the fact that they’d had some association with him and he’d done some good to them’. Tom Elkington recalled ‘thousands there, thousands … I can still see it today’. ‘All these poor old no hopers, in ragged clothes, down at the heel, with tears in their eyes.’¹

      Inside the church, the Anglican Archbishop, Howard Mowll, had declared his abiding admiration for Hammond...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
    • 3 Navigating change
      (pp. 111-150)

      The Englishman Howard Mowll, who delivered the eulogy at Hammond’s funeral, was a towering figure in wartime Sydney. Imposingly tall and remarkably energetic, he had been elected to the position of Anglican Archbishop when only in his mid-forties. Well travelled, warm hearted and blessed with a hospitable spirit, Mowll had been recruited from the Chinese mission field – where he and his wife Dorothy had once been taken hostage by bandits. He had arrived in Sydney in late 1933 to lead a diocese distressed by the effects of the Depression and whose clergy were divided over liberal developments in theology and...

    • 4 Caring homes for senior citizens
      (pp. 151-188)

      Harriet Birks, an invalid pensioner, spent twelve years in a convalescent home. The matron was kind, but there were not enough nurses to attend properly to the old people living there. ‘Often, I would be sharing a room with a woman and she would die in the night’, Miss Birks recalled. With little choice, she made the best of these depressing circumstances throughout the 1940s and into the early 1950s, when things changed dramatically for the better. When the Hammondville charity opened a cottage for single women pensioners in mid-1952, it welcomed Miss Birks as one of its first residents....

  7. III ‘Making the place run better’
    • [III Introduction]
      (pp. 189-192)

      On 17 March 1983, Florence Wilder celebrated her centenary. Born and raised in Birmingham, England, she migrated to Sydney with her new husband, William James Griffiths, in 1910. The couple built a house on Hillard Street in Lakemba, an embryonic suburb newly tethered to the city by the extension of the railway from Belmore to Bankstown. Florence threw herself into church work and regularly sang as soloist with the Lakemba Methodist church choir. William joined the local branch of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society which, like other mutual benefit societies, played a key role in both the social life and...

    • 5 Revitalising a flagging operation
      (pp. 193-232)

      Ageing was a difficult experience for Bernard Judd. In 1978, he entered his sixties as busy as ever. He continued his popular weekly broadcasts on the Christian radio station 2CH and maintained an active interest in those moral issues of lifelong concern to him: gambling, temperance and Sunday observance. He remained rector of St Peter’s East Sydney until his retirement from parish work in 1986, aged sixty-eight, and continued as Hammondville’s managing director for some years after that. But by the time he reached his seventies, his characteristic verve and energy were clearly waning. More confrontingly, his wife Ida was...

    • 6 Leading the way in dementia care
      (pp. 233-261)

      Old Arch Palmer had an infectious smile. He was warm, vital, intelligent – a wonderful companion to his wife Jean. But dementia robbed him of almost all that. Over a period of twelve years, the disease gradually destroyed his memory and his communication skills, to the point that an occasional smile was all that reminded Jean of the man she had married. The loss was devastating. ‘All the problems associated with the disease – the loss of memory, the continuing questions, the behaviour problems – all those separate things I have learned to cope with’, Jean reflected. ‘It’s the loss of Arch the...

  8. IV ‘Without apology, Christian’
    • [IV Introduction]
      (pp. 263-267)

      Hazel Hawke went public in November 2003. The ex-prime minister’s wife had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a leading cause of dementia. ‘I was with Mum when the doctor told her’, Sue Pieters-Hawke recalled. ‘I think we both felt like we’d been hit by hammers. She didn’t say much … I remember walking out of the doctor’s surgery with her and at the door we just stopped and she said: “Oh, bugger, bugger, bugger”.’ A couple of years later, Mrs Hawke decided to share her story to help counter stigma associated with the disease. ‘I feel as if … my...

    • 7 God and Mammon
      (pp. 268-293)

      Jesus did not mince words:

      No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.¹

      Later in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was just as decisive:

      The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.²

      In passages like these, the Christian Scriptures suggest a fundamental opposition between serving God and serving Mammon. And for a...

    • 8 Christian in word and deed
      (pp. 294-320)

      Stephen Judd could have been forgiven for thinking, during 2001, that things were falling apart around him. Outside the office, in the world of Anglican church politics, Peter Jensen replaced Harry Goodhew as the Archbishop of Sydney. This was a source of some regret to Judd, who had been thickly involved in Goodhew’s original election campaign and an active supporter of his moderate evangelical leadership.¹ At work, Judd had political troubles of his own, as his efforts to lead HammondCare into the future as a boldly pioneering, financially secure and effectively Christian care provider became mired in internal strife. He...

    • 9 Caring for ‘one of the least of these’
      (pp. 321-335)

      Throughout the changes of the new century, HammondCare’s greatest challenge was to stay focused on the needy people it was helping. After all, as Judd once put it, ‘it is people, real people, that we are here for’.¹ Or as Jesus had said, care ‘for one of the least of these’. Keeping this focus was essential to the charity’s Christian mission, but it was by no means easy. Without careful attention, HammondCare’s worthy effort to operate more efficiently could eclipse its effort to provide excellent services to the needy. Similarly, the internal reform of its employment practices and staff culture...

    • 10 HammondCare and the future of independent Christian charity
      (pp. 336-345)

      Canon Hammond had been dead for more than sixty years when one of the boys he had helped into a job during the Great Depression began receiving HammondCare’s support as a dementia carer. Tom Elkington was almost ninety years old by then. His wife Vi, already ninety-four, had lived with dementia for at least four years. Though the Elkingtons remained in their own home, the effort of showering and changing Vi, in addition to cooking and cleaning the house, was proving overwhelming for Tom. ‘When we had the opportunity to get into HammondCare, that just suited us’, he reflected.


  9. Notes
    (pp. 346-376)
  10. Select bibliography
    (pp. 377-390)
  11. Index
    (pp. 391-404)