Established in 1945 in Victoria by Mrs Jessie Mary Vasey, widow of Major General George Vasey, from the small beginnings of a craft guild which taught weaving and other handicrafts to members so that they could augment their inadequate pensions, the War Widows’ Guild of Australia is a group which promotes and provides companionship, counselling and support for its members.
As Guilds were established in all States, the organisation became a powerful lobby group which was consulted by Governments on all matters concerning War Widows. Each State made its own arrangements to cater for their members’ needs, but all made housing a priority. By 1954, the Guild was in a position to take advantage of the Aged Persons Homes Act and go on to make provisions for housing for their members.
From humble beginnings, its membership grew, and in 1985 had a membership of 65,000. Today there are approximately 27,000 members of the Guild across Australia.
Every second year in October, the Guild holds a National Conference where Ordinary members of the Guild Branches can attend and listen to debate on issues which affect them and their dependants.