The Girls' Friendly Society (GFS) was established in Victoria in 1883. The movement was originally established in England in the 1870s. It had strong links to the Church of England. In Melbourne, the GFS provided accommodation and services to immigrants and female travellers. According to O'Hanlon, the Girls' Friendly Society 'operated a system whereby unchaperoned young women would be met and protected as they travelled nationally and internationally in search of work, or to take up positions already promised. From 1925 to 1935, the Girls' Friendly Society ran the School of Homecrafts Hostel in East Melbourne. The Girls' Friendly Society still exists in 2018 as a worldwide organisation, that no longer focuses solely on girls.
Sources used to compile this entry: Carey, Jane, 'GFS Australia (1879 -)', 2004, http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0753b.htm; O'Hanlon, Seamus, 'For the upholding of womanhood: Melbourne's interwar hostels for 'business girls' [Edited text of a lecture given to the Royal Historical Society of Victoria on 15 June 1999]', Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 70, no. 2, 1999, pp. 116-127; Servants' Training Institute, East Melbourne Historical Society, https://emhs.org.au/history/buildings/servants_training_institute.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 25 July 2018