Wesley Central Mission came into being in 1893, as the response of Wesleyan Methodists in Victoria to the severe economic depression and associated inner-city poverty of the early 1890s. In 1977, with the creation of the Uniting Church in Australia, its name changed to Wesley Central Parish Mission.
Wesley Central Mission came into being in 1893, as the response of Wesleyan Methodists in Victoria to the severe economic depression and associated inner-city poverty of the early 1890s.
In 1977, with the creation of the Uniting Church in Australia, its name changed to Wesley Central Parish Mission.
The Wesley Central Mission was established in 1893 on a site next to the Wesley Church in Lonsdale Street. At that time, the area was known as the 'back slums' of Melbourne and was notorious for opium dens, gambling houses and places of ill-repute.
The Mission established a range of institutions which have supported single mothers, orphaned or abandoned children (most famously through the former Tally Ho Boys' Home), helped victims of domestic violence, and provided support for alcoholics and work for unemployed people with special needs.
In the Mission's centenary history, Howe and Swain note that it was a 'highly gendered organisation'. The male Superintendent led the Mission, assisted by two or three male ministers and a male committee. A notable superintendent minister of the Mission was Irving Benson, who held the position from 1933 to 1967.
The congregation and staff of the Mission were predominantly female, and women were prominent in activities to assist women and children. Male managers ran the institutions for men and boys.
The operations of Wesley Central Mission were governed by a General Committee, which met quarterly from 1893 until 1939. The major decision-making body was the Executive Committee, also established in 1893 and comprising the Superintendent minister, the Organising Secretary, the Honorary Treasurers and representatives from the General Committee.
In 1939, these two bodies were superseded by a new Managing Committee.
Sources used to compile this entry: Howe, Renate; Swain, Shurlee, The Challenge of the City: the centenary history of Wesley Central Mission 1893-1993, Hyland House, Flemington, 1993; Howe, Renate, 'Benson, Sir Clarence Irving (1897 - 1980)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition, Australian National University, 2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/benson-sir-clarence-irving-9493; Howe, Renate, 'Methodism', in eMelbourne: the city past and present, Encyclopedia of Melbourne online, The University of Melbourne, 2008, http://www.emelbourne.net.au/biogs/EM00973b.htm.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 20 August 2009, Last modified: 31 October 2017