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The Hobart City Mission was established in 1852
Established in 1852, the Hobart City Mission (HCM) was the first City Mission in Australia and is the third oldest Mission in the world. At the time, poverty and vice were prevalent in Hobart Town, with the rise of the whale and gold industry. The London City Mission had been operating for seventeen years and a number of concerned citizens saw the need for similar work in Hobart.
On November 23rd, 1852, a public meeting was held at the Mechanics’ Hall, on Melville St, with the objective of forming a city mission, not associated with any particular denomination of church, and based on the London City Mission model. A committee was formed with sixteen members of the Hobart community.
Hobart City Mission appointed its first missionary
Hobart City Mission appointed its first missionary, Mr H.B. Giles, formally from London City Mission, followed by Mr R G Gray and, Mr W Goggin.
The Mission played an important role in the early education system, establishing a ‘Ragged School’ in 1853, which provided education, clothing and assistance for neglected and destitute children and helping to keep them from poverty and crime.
“We are happy to learn that a school upon the same plan as the Ragged Schools in London was opened for the first time last Sunday (5/6/1853) in Watchorn Street under the superintendency of Mr. Giles of the City Mission” – Hobart Town Advertiser, 7th June 1853
Mission held worship services
From the start, the Mission held worship services at the Mechanics’ Institute, in chapels and school rooms. Its missionaries visited homes, befriending those in need, providing groceries and clothing and assisting the poor in any way required. Many sailors attended services as it was ideally situated on the New Wharf, Salamanca Market.
Hobart City Mission Annual Report 1859 – “28 friendless children admitted into the orphan School or otherwise provided for … 380 cases of temporal distress relieved … 93 sick persons admitted into Hospitals through the Missionaries” all this in addition to the spiritual work of the Mission. Apart from this the Mission Ragged Schools provided education and often clothing and food for poor children.”
Hobart was dealing with years of severe unemployment and hardship
Hobart was dealing with years of severe unemployment and hardship. Hobart City Mission did its best to help where they could. However, even the Mission itself was not exempt from these hardships, with the committee requiring assistance from the community to help pay the Missionaries a salary so that they could continue their great work.
“all who can assist them in carrying this good and Christ-like work” – Mission Committee
After a generous donation of £400
After a generous donation of £400 by a gentleman in Sydney and the guidance of one of the longest serving Missionaries, Mr William Lake, the Mission was set to house its own building.
At a foundation stone-laying ceremony on October 25th, 1910, the Governor, Sir Harry Barron commended the work of Hobart City Mission, saying, “It tries to help all – not only morally, but socially…not only for religious purposes, but for assisting the poor in any direction in which assistance may be required.” He hoped that the new hall would soon become too small for the work required of it and would need to be enlarged.
HCM establishes clubs
HCM established a ‘Girls Club’, and a few months later a ‘Boys Club’ for teenagers. The clubs met once a fortnight, and provided opportunities for the teenagers to do activities that were an extension on the day-to-day activities of HCM, such as providing assistance to children in a remote mission cottage in Darwin.
HCM officially opened the Glenorchy City Mission
The devastating 1967 fires in Tasmania
HCM played an integral part of the relief to the devastating 1967 fires in Tasmania, known as Black Tuesday. In support of other local community organisations, HCM provided emergency relief to the community. This included support to the fire fighters with HCM’s Superintendent, Les Batchelor fighting fires around the city.
The people of Hobart provided an overwhelming support for those affected by the fire with donations of clothing, furniture and household items, as well as their physical assistance.
As a result of this overwhelming support, HCM established its first Op Shop with the remaining donated items. This first store was on the corner of Liverpool and Barrack St. Since then, HCM has expanded City Mission Op Shops around greater Hobart.
Tasman Bridge disaster
HCM was affected greatly by the Tasman Bridge disaster in January 1975, when a ship struck Hobart’s major thoroughfare bridge, disconnecting the Western and Eastern shores of the Derwent River. The affect felt by HCM was not only an increase in relief requests, but also the ability for the organisation to provide their vital services on both sides of the river. HCM was granted a ‘Priority Pass’ by the Tasmanian Police, assisting the Missioners to travel across the temporary Risdon Ferry Bridge to provide emergency assistance to the community and continue the chaplaincy program at Risdon Prison.
HCM bought the small cottage that neighboured the Chapel
HCM bought the small cottage that neighboured the Chapel, with the plan demolish and build a new building. The new building was officially opened on November 30, 1984 and was used as a store front and sorting room for the Op Shops. It has since been utilised for many purposes, including HCM’s PerMission to Eat Café.
HCM opened the ‘Dog & Partridge “The Good” News Agency’
HCM opened the ‘Dog & Partridge “The Good” News Agency’ on the corner of Barrack and Goulburn. This corner store provided much more than the staple food items to the surrounding community. It helped to provide fresh produce for those who were doing it tough, as well as work experience for those who were unemployed.
HCM began providing Disability Support
HCM began providing Disability Support to the Southern Tasmanian community.
160 years of caring
In 2012, HCM celebrated 160 years of caring for the people of Southern Tasmania.
Small Steps was launched
In June 2014, HCM launched an innovative accommodation program for teenage Mums and their children who are at risk of being separated due to a lack of appropriate accommodation, Small Steps.
HCM opened PerMission to Eat
In an effort to provide employment training and nutritional food for those in need, HCM opened PerMission to Eat in 2015. The social enterprise café was opened next door to the Hobart Office and provided a ‘pay it forward’ system where customers could purchase a meal for someone in need. After two great years of the explorative venture, PerMission to closed its doors on Thursday 13th of April 2017.
DIY Dads was launched
Hobart City Mission launched a second innovative accommodation program in April 2017. DIY Dads provides supported accommodation for Dads with children.