AGY-2043 | Housekeepers Emergency Service of New South Wales

NSW State Archives Collection
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The NSW Housekeepers Emergency Service was established on 25 October 1943 to provide housekeeping assistance in circumstances such as illness, childbirth or other emergencies. (1) The service was not formally constituted by legislation or proclamation.

During the 1950’s the service operated mainly by full time live-in housekeepers especially during confinements. (2)

The States Grants (Home Care) Act, 1969 (Cmwealth) allocated $2 Commonwealth funding to each $1 spent by the State on Home Care services and therefore assisted the development of home help services for the aged.

By 1973 the recipients of the service made a small payment (which was means tested) In many cases there was no charge. Normally the housekeepers (full time or part time) were recruited from the immediate geographical area. At 30 June 1973 there were 52 branches in the Metropolitan and country New South Wales. (3)

A home aid service to assist elderly or disabled people with domestic chores on a longer-term basis was also operational. In country NSW home aid was also available to people following surgery or childbirth. A total of 33,513 cases was attended to in the year ended 30 June 1973 of these 32,064 were for home aid. Shortage of housekeepers meant that not all requests for assistance could be filled. (4)

Government funding increased ten-fold from $130,000 to $A1.3M between the years 1974/75 and 1975/76. However, this was met by a widening demand for the service. There were 95 branches throughout New South Wales. (5)

In 1976 the a new Constitution of the Service was drafted service changing its name to the Home Help Service of New South Wales and proving for a an enlarged Executive Committee with representatives of Government and Private Sector, branch representatives and the Health Commission. (6) By the time of its demise the Service received secretariat and advisory services from the Department of Youth and Community Services. It is unknown whether this relationship existed throughout the life of the agency.

(1) Home Care Service of NSW Annual Report for the year ended 30 June, 1990 p. 5
(2) Loc. Cit
(3) Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare of New South Wales Annual report for the year ended 30 June, 1973 p. 17)
(4) Loc. Cit.
(5) Department of Youth and Community Services Annual Report for the year ended 30 June, 1976 p. 20
(6) Ibid. P. 21

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