Travellers Aid Helping Women for 100 Years
You may have noticed the assistance buggies at Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross station and wondered who the wonderful people were who got struggling traveller's safely to their destination point? Pondered over who the team was behind the lounge areas, restroom amenities and luggage storage facilities? Not surprisingly the history behind the service is rich and longstanding.
The YWCA started meeting women off boats in 1882 in Port Melbourne, carrying out supportive assistance for travellers. After decades of service, the Y called on a group to join us and make a new organisation in 1916....which was called Travellers Aid. On 7 July 1916, the YWCA hosted a meeting of representatives from various Melbourne charitable societies to form the Travellers Aid Society of Victoria.The organisation celebrated it's 100th birthday this year.
The YWCA was engaged in aiding travellers pretty much as soon as it was founded in Melbourne, as the idea of “homeless waifs” wandering the streets or, especially, being lured or tricked into an immoral lifestyle was a huge issue for them. It became a separate department, with its own reporting by the fifth year of operation, 1888. And, of course, separated from the YWCA in 1916.
Traveller's Aid was created under the auspices of the YWCA to support and protect women and girls arriving in Melbourne from overseas, interstate and rural destinations. The mission of the organisation is provides servies to people in need, encouraging independent lifestyle choices to people who may otherwise feel like they have no option.
Starting off by assisting migrants with basic facilities such as rest rooms on arrival, the organisation expanded in 1920 with the development of the Traveller's Aid Hotel to house women in need of accomodation on arrival.
Pivotal in the aid of abandoned children and women during the Great Depression, the team at Traveller's Aid pride themselves on providing direction and kindness to victims of domestic violence and homelessness by relocation.
Continuing work through the Second World War and the Post-War Migration period, Traveller's Aid opened it's arms to men, prodiving financial aid and referral services during the 1970's. The assistance was again expanded to have a disability-friendly service operation during the 1980's. From the 1990's until the present, the organisation has been working to build and maintain it's services at the Flinders Street and Southern Cross Station locations.
The aim of Traveller's Aid is to make everyday travel easy and feasible for all people by providing pragmatic transport-related support that helps individuals travel assertively without discrimination. A service that is crucial to the assistance of women in situations of distress, escaping domestic violence or unfavourable living situations is one we can all get behind at the Y.
For more information about the Traveller's Aid services check out their website here.