The Guild was established in 1945 in Victoria by Mrs Jessie Mary Vasey, widow of Major General George Vasey who was killed en route to New Guinea during World War II.
It began with the smallest of beginnings focusing on craft 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 the guilds numbers are steadily declining with approximately 24,000 members of the Guild remaining across Australia.
Going forward into the future the guild is looking to modernise and consolidate ensuring that there is always a service to look after War Widows in need and advocating on behalf of all War Widows to the National Government.