Fundraising by the Ladies Aid Society

Ad for Church Soiree

Led by Mrs. Robson, the Ladies Aid Society of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church raised funds to pay off church debts and building costs. Fundraising activities included: sewing, knitting, cooking, baking, planning events, hosting bazaars, and providing lunches and special dinners. (1) The Ladies Aid Society promised to raise $1,000 for the new building fund in 1888 (1) which equals roughly $124,000 today. (3) In the following year the Ladies Aid Society raised $400 by hosting a dinner and bazaar featuring plain and fancy textiles, books and flowers, and ice cream and lemonade.(1) A newspaper article the next morning bestowed glowing praise to the Ladies Aid Society and its twenty plus contributing members to the event, and, indeed, the evening was so successful it was held a second night. (4) The Ladies Aid Society was publically recognized and given special thanks in 1900. By this time, all outstanding debts other than the building costs had been paid. (1)

Fundraising brought the Ladies Aid Society satisfaction since they helped the construction of St. Andrew's, but also empowered the women, utilized their domestic skills, enlarged the public dimension of their lives, provided companionship, and a sense of community. (2) Ladies Aid Society members gained some power within the church too with their fundraising. (2) St. Andrew's members who belonged to the Ladies Aid Society were primarily women already active in the church and, thus, a list can be derived from the Church Communion Rolls.(1)

1. The Kirk That Faith BuiltThe Kirk That Faith Built: St. Andrew's on Douglas Street, 1890-1990. Published by the Session of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. Morriss Printing Company, Victoria, 1989. , pp 24-61
2. O'Brien, Anne 'Faith, Fetes and Domesticity in Australia', Women's History Review, 15:5, 719-735
4. View Online: British Colonist, 21 Nov 1889, pg 4