Gerard Tucker (1885 – 1974) founder of the Brotherhood of St Laurence
Founded in 1930, the Brotherhood of St Laurence was born in the Anglican parish of St Stephen in Adamstown, a working-class suburb of Newcastle in New South Wales. The founder, Father Gerard Kennedy Tucker, was an activist and social reformer.
Founded in 1930, the Brotherhood of St Laurence was born in the Anglican parish of St Stephen in Adamstown, a working-class suburb of Newcastle in New South Wales.
The founder, Father Gerard Kennedy Tucker, was an activist and social reformer. The Brotherhood he conceived back then, amid the social upheaval of the Great Depression, was a religious order of the Anglican Church – named after St Laurence, the patron saint of the poor.
In 1933 the Brotherhood of St Laurence moved to Fitzroy in Melbourne, where its headquarters remain.
In 1920 Tucker was appointed to a parish near Newcastle, New South Wales, where he met Guy Colman Cox who shared his dream of a community of serving priests and in 1930 they founded the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Its four original members pledged to remain unmarried while part of the brotherhood, to live frugally and to practise an active community life. The first B.S.L. Quarterly Notes were published in 1932 for their supporters; over the next forty years they aired many important social issues.
At the invitation of Archbishop Head, in 1933 the Brotherhood of St Laurence moved to Melbourne where Tucker became curate at St Peter’s Church, Eastern Hill, and missioner of St Mary’s Mission, Fitzroy. In 1937-42 he was vicar of St Cuthbert’s, East Brunswick. His first project was a hostel for homeless, unemployed men. In 1935 he devised a plan to move them and their families to a nearby farming community. Like his father’s earlier schemes, this project was not altogether successful, but Gerard’s settlement at Carrum Downs remained and by 1944 had become an effective community retirement village. It provided housing and activities for the elderly and later expanded to include self-contained flats for the infirm, as well as a cottage hospital.
First World War Embarkation Roll – Gerard Kennedy Tucker
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Oxfam Australia can be traced back to the work of Father Gerard Kennedy Tucker in the 1950s, who was concerned about poverty in Asia following the Second World War. The first local group was established in Hawthorn, a suburb of Melbourne, in 1953, as the Food for Peace Campaign. Local groups were established in Perth and Sydney, and in 1962 the name was changed to Community Aid Abroad to reflect an emphasis on developing whole communities more broadly than just providing food for peace.
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