Ten Years of the Y.C.W. Movement in Melbourne

7th National Conference Opens in Brisbane on Sunday Under the presidency of his Grace Archbishop Simonds, Episcopal Chairman of the Young Christian Workers, a hundred lay-leaders and priest-chaplains from all parts of Australia will meet in Brisbane next Sunday for the opening of the seventh national conference (September 9-15).

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the foundation of the movement in Australia, his Holiness Pope Pius XII is sending a special message and a recorded message has been received from Monsignor Cardijn, founder of the J.O.C. The main address at the conference will be given by Archbishop Simonds.

THE Young Christian Workers’ Movement on September 8, Our Lady’s birthday, celebrates the tenth birthday of its foundation in Australia. On September 8, 1941, the Young Christian Workers’ Movement received official mandate for Catholic Action from his Grace Archbishop Mannix.

From the very beginning, the Y.C.W. directed its efforts to the formation of leaders who would be truly apostolic. As early as Christmas, 1940, before the actual formation of the movement, an experimental leaders’ training camp was held at Mornington. The second leaders’ camp was held at Hanging Rock in Easter, 1942.

This work received a tremendous boost in 1943 when the Y.C.W. acquired its first property—a leadership training centre “Maiya Wamba” (House of Youth) occupying nine acres at Cheltenham. Since then, approximately twenty-five leaders from throughout the archdiocese have been in training at “Maiya Wamba” each week-end.

The purchasing of this property during the war and at a time when the Y.C.W. was having a battle to build up a stable organization was a sign of courageous confidence in the future of the movement.

The raising of the necessary finance for this venture was largely due to the efforts of the Melbourne Y.C.W. Men’s Extension Committee. This committee had originally been formed in 1942 to assist in the organization of the Xavier Youth Rally.

Mr. Frank Murphy was its first honorary secretary. Mr. Bernard Foley later became the full-time secretary of this committee. In 1947, Mr. Reuben Quirk succeeded him in this position.

Since their inception, both the men’s and ladies’ extension committees have made tremendous efforts to raise finance necessary for many of the Y.C.W.’s projects—including the purchase of the Albert Park Y.C.W. Hostel for underprivileged youth, the Hawthorn Y.C.W. Migration Hostel, and the staging of the Xavier youth rallies. This committee has so far raised over £100,000.


While these activities were taking place in Melbourne, the Y.C.W. had been spreading to other dioceses throughout Australia. In 1943 the Episcopal Committee of Catholic Action made it a National Movement and appointed his Grace, Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., as episcopal chairman.This was a historic year for the Y.C.W., as in addition to the

development previously mentioned, it was the occasion of the first national meeting of the Y.C.W. chaplains. On this occasion 110 priests from all over Australia were in conference for two days at the Convent of the Good Shepherd, Abbotsford. Largely due to the inspiration of his Grace, Dr. Simonds, this meeting was a huge success.

In 1943 the Y.C.W. in Australia appointed its first full-time worker; Frank McCann, now secretary-manager of the Y.C.W. Co-operative Trading Society, was appointed as national secretary by the episcopal chairman. The following year a preliminary national conference of chaplains and leaders was held at “Maiya Wamba.”

The first full-scale national conference was held at Brisbane in 1945. One hundred leaders and sixty chaplains from all over Australia were present, and his Grace Dr. Simonds presided. Subsequent national conferences have been held in Newcastle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. In June, 1947, a great Y.C.W. international conference, was held in Montreal, Canada, to mark the fifteenth birthday of the Y.C.W. in that country, 42 countries were represented.

Ted Long, Melbourne diocesan secretary, and a member of the national executive, was seint to represent the Australian Y.C.W. at the conference.

It was as a result of ideas brought back from this conference that the Pre-Cana Conferences for engaged couples were started later in the same year. Since then the Pre-Cana Movement has spread throughout Australia. Some thousands of engaged couples have availed themselves of this tremendously important service since its inception.

In 1948 Frank McCann, national secretary, was sent by the Australian Government as a representative to an international youth conference in London. While Frank was in England the information he gained of the English Y.C.W. proved a great assistance to the movement when he returned.

In 1949 Frank McCann retired as national secretary to take over as secretary of the Y.C.W. Cooperative Trading Society in Melbourne. Terry Barker, who had been a full-time Y.C.W. national field-officer since 1947, was appointed national secretary in May, 1949.

In 1950 Terry Barker attended an international Y.C.W. conference in Brussels to mark the’ silver jubilee of the Y.C.W. The same year, the national chaplain, Rev. Father Lombard, returned to Australia after having studied youth and migration problems in the countries overseas at the request of the Australian Government.


Right from the beginning of the national movement in 1943, the Y.C.W. realized the need for publishing a newspaper which would be the voice of the movement in bringing Christian values to the young worker and the public in general. New Youth, a monthly paper, was first published in 1943. The appointment of Ken Treacey as full-time editor of New Youth in 1948 was immediately reflected in the standard of the paper.

The Y.C.W. is immensely grateful for the assistance and advice given New Youth at the time by the late Alan Powell, a prominent journalist on a leading Melbourne daily. David Burke succeeded Ken Treacey in February, 1949, until .February, 1951, and further improved the quality and standing of the paper.


Since Father Lombard s appointment as full-time Melbourne chaplain in 1944, and the appointment of Ken Treacey as fulltime Melbourne secretary in 1945, the Y.C.W. progressed rapidly in the archdiocese. Ted Long, who had been acting national secretary while Frank McCann was ill, became Melbourne secretary when Ken Treacey was appointed editor of New Youth in 1946. Noel Murphy, Frank Quinn and Bill Davies increased the Melbourne staff and led to a further expansion of services.

In 1946, the Y.C.W, acquired a hostel at Albert Park for under privileged youth. This hostel was later extended and accommodates 22 youths from St. Augustine’s Orphanage with Rev. Colin Miller as resident chaplain. In the same year, 1946, the first Y.C.W. Co-Operative Housing Society was registered. This has developed until at the present time, the Housing Co-Operative have a guaranteed capital of £3,000,000 and 2260 members; 720 homes have already been completed. In 1947 the Y.C.W. established an accommodation bureau as well as an apprenticeship and employment advisory bureau. These services did much to meet some of the major current problems of youth in Melbourne.

The Y.C.W. Migration Hostel at Hawthorn for young worker migrants from the British Isles was first purchased in 1948. The first batch of 34 migrants arrived in 1950. Regular batches of young workers from overseas have been arriving since that time. Rev. J. A. Carroll is resident chaplain at the migration hostel Another important development was the. purchase of a 25-acre property at Phillip Island in 1949 as a permanent camp-site for young workers.

Also in 1949 the Y.C.W. Co-Operative Trading Society was formed with Frank McCann as secretary. Since then 500 young families have obtained their home furnishings from this society on a co-operative basis.

The years 1949 and 1950 saw a considerable change-over of staff at Melbourne headquarters. Frank Quinn in 1949 was succeeded by Peter O’Donnell. In 1950 Dan Callahan and Ivor Davis joined the staff, replacing Ted Long, Noel Murphy and Bill Davies, who took up other positions, but continued to assist the development of the movement. Ted Long who joined the staff of the housing co-operatives, has recently returned to the Melbourne staff. Peter O’Donnell, who joined the Redemptorist Order, and Ivor Davis later left the staff in 1950.

The present fulltime workers at Melbourne headquarters are Ted Long, Dan Callahan, Bill Bainbridge, Bill Ginnane and Peter Kelly.

Rev. Father F. W. Lombard, National Chaplain, Australian Y.C.W., with Monsignor J. Cardijn, founder of the Y.C.W.


Ten Years of the Y.C.W. Movement in Melbourne (Thursday 6 September 1951, page 8) (Trove)

£1700 prizes in YCW raffle

The raffle now being conducted by the Y.C.W. Men’s Extension Committee, to be drawn on May 24, is well under way.

Prizes are: First, Holden Motor Car; 2nd, “Dream Holiday for Two” to the Great Barrier Reef by car and plane; 3rd, Lounge and Bedroom Suite; 4th, Refrigerator; 5th, Dining-room Setting; 6th Crystal Cabinet arid Buffet; 7th, Electric Cookery; 8th. Electric Washer; 9th, Stainless Steel Sink and Cabinet; 10th, Canteen of Cutlerv; 11th, Innerspring Mattress; 12, Electric Mantel Clock.

The proceeds from this raffle go to build a convalescent camp on Phillip Island, on the shore facing Smith’s Beach, for Y.C.W. returned servicemen, sons of deceased servicemen, and sons of ex-servicemer,, particularly those in necessitous circumstances. Tickets can be purchased in this raffle for 1 /-each at the various position^ in the city: “Miss Modern” Shoes, Swanston-street; Fred Hesse, Mercer, Elizabeth-street; Melbourne Coffee Palace, Bourke-street; under dome at Flinders-street Station; Smith s Royal Arcade Milk Bar, Elizabethstreet. , ….

These positions have been kindly donated by the various proprietors, and are deserving of your support. To make this raffle .the success it deserves, we are appealing for voluntary workers to assist in the sellinq of tickets at the positions mentioned. Any person interested should contact the organizer, T. R. Quirk, or members of the ladies’ committee at 312 Elizabeth-street, Melbourne (Cent. 5180).


Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 21 April 1949, page 22

Opening of YCW Youth Hostel extension

The official opening of the new extension to the Y.C.W. Hostel for underprivileged youths at l/l Beaconsfield-parade, Albert Park will take place at 3 pan. on Sunday October 23, by his Grace the Archbishop, Most Rev.” D. Mannix. • Visitors will include priests from various parishes, Mr. J. L. Cremean, M.L.A., the Mayor of South Melbourne, Cr H. A. Layfield, councillors from South Melbourne and Port Melbourne, and members of the Y.C.W. Men s Extension Committee. Mr. P. J. Mitchell will be chairman.



Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 20 October 1949, page 22

English Y.C.W. Leader in Melbourne

Splendid Example of Workers’ Movement


G UEST speaker at the Melbourne Y.C.W. Leaders’ Communion breakfast in the Cathedral Hall, on Sunday, September 30, was Vin. Mc-Kenna, a 21-year-old leader of the Y.C.W. in England. Vin’s ship is at present based at Sydney, and he has just spent a fortnight’s leave getting to know the Australian Y.C.W. in Melbourne. One hundred and fifty leaders participated in the Melbourne Y.C.W. Leaders’ General Communion at the 9.30 a.m. Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Celebrant of the Mass was Rev. F. W. Lombard, diocesan chaplain of the Melbourne Y.C.W. Fr. Lombard based his sermon on the text from St. John’s first epistle, chapter 2: “I write unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.” Lekders of the Y.C.W., Fr. Lombard said, could take those words of St. John as being addressed to themselves to-day. The challenge had gone out to youth today. It was up to youth to respond to that challenge, by increasing their faith, by their loyalty to their Catholic Action Movement, and by having the courage to live Christ always. In proposing the toast of “The Hierarchy and Clergy,” at the subsequent Communion breakfast, Ted Long reminded leaders of what they owed to the Hierarchy and clergy, and asked them to have an even greater loyalty to their Archbishop and priests. – Fr. Lombard, in reply, thanked the Y.C.W. executive, the Extension Committee, Frank McCann, and all present for what they, had done for the Y.C.W. Frfmk Dunn extended a warm welcome to the following guests at the breakfast: Miss Eileen CDonoghue (N.C.G.M.), Miss Shirley Howard (Y.C.S.), Mr. Frank McCann (National Secretary, Y.C.W.), Messrs. F. Mur-

phy and T. Gannon (Extension Committee), Noel Merchant (Newcastle Y.C.W.), and Vin Mc-Kenna (English Y.C.W.), Miss Eileen O’Donoghue, Messrs. F. Murphy and F. McCann suitably responded. INSPIRING ‘EXAMPLE Vin. McKenna then addressed the leaders. He asked them if they were prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to build their movement. It was on the answer to that question that the future of the movement depended. Vin. held up to all leaders the example of Y.C.W. leaders in Belgium and in England. In Belgium, leaders had been shot dead because they had the faith and courage to live up to their obligations as leaders; in England, leaders had overcome a hundred and one practical war-time difficulties to keep their movement alive. They had succeeded, and with the coming

of peace, the fruits of their great sacrifices were beginning to bear. Continuing, Vin. praised the working conditions in Australia, and then warned the leaders to work to ensure that they were improved. There’s a danger that we would be satisfied with what we’ve got; that would enable bad influences in our midst to rob us of our high standards, and degrade the workers. In conclusion, Vin. appealed to the leaders to prove that they had the faith, courage and generosity to see their job through. Bad leaders, he warned, were like bad twigs on a tree—the tree was better if the bad twigs were cut off. Therefore, each leader must use prayer and the Sacraments to develop himself in the spirit of Christ. That Vin’s talk made a great impression on those present was evidenced by the spontaneous and prolonged applause that followed. Eddie Walsh moved a vote of thanks to Vin. McKenna for his excellent address and for the

time he had devoted to the Y.C.W. in Melbourne during his short leave. Vin. in Melbourne had proved himself a worthy international ambassador of the Y.C.W.

Portion of the procession in honour of the Blessed Sacrament through the grounds of St. Potrick’s Cathedral on Sunday last, during the Forty Hours devotion.


Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 10 October 1945, page 5 (Trove)