The Blue Ribbon Gospel Army was established by Sydney philanthropist and evangelist George Edward Ardill in 1882. It provided a range of services to the destitute of the city, including the Open All Night Refuge, the Jubilee Home for Domestic Servants and the Home of Hope for Friendless and Fallen Women. It seems that Ardill merged the Blue Ribbon Gospel Army into the Sydney Rescue Work Society around 1890.
The emphasis of the Blue Ribbon Gospel Army was campaigning for temperance and the reform of alcoholics, as well as protecting women and children from domestic violence and rehabilitating prostitutes. Members campaigned on city streets and across the state. The personal drive of George Ardill and his wife Louisa were essential elements of the organisation, but it did have a committee of management, drawn from the New South Wales Government, Sydney City Council, the Baptist ministry and various philanthropic circles.
The institutional work of the Blue Ribbon Gospel Army was taken over by the Sydney Rescue Work Society, which was founded by Ardill in 1890.
Sources used to compile this entry: Annual Report of the Home of Hope for Friendless and Fallen, Discharged Prisoners' Mission, and Open All Night Refuge; together with the general agencies of the Blue Ribbon Gospel Army, Blue Ribbon Gospel Army, 1884-1887; Radi, Heather, ''Ardill, George Edward (1857-1945)'', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Melbourne University Press, 1979, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ardill-george-edward-5048; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf; Thornton, Bruce, George Edward Ardill and the Sydney Rescue Work Society (now Communicare Sydney) [also titled "Haste to the Rescue"], Baptist Historical Society of New South Wales, Sydney, 2008, 118 pp.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 22 March 2011, Last modified: 30 August 2013