When Jay Miller, Curator at the Mission to Seafarers in Flinders Street, and her volunteer Ros Fletcher were tackling the Mission’s closetful of old, unsorted photos, documents, scrapbooks and memorabilia, they found much that they knew would interest us. That’s because the Mission first developed at Sandridge.
Curious to hear what PMHPS knows, Jay got in touch last November to invite a few members around to have a look at some things they’d found, and to exchange information and learn what each group had in its collection.
We were excited, as our knowledge of our own Seamen’s Institute, Sailors’ Rest and early Bethel is scant. We agreed to meet in February at the Mission and bring what we could to show them. In the meantime we exchanged all the digital material we could.
Graham and Pat were able to meet with Jay and Ros on the 8th February. An enormously lengthy table was spread with intriguing items and the four spent hours in discussing them, exchanging their knowledge, pouring over bulging 19th century scrapbooks that contained too much enlightening information to take in. Ros had photocopied some of the Sandridge material for us. Questions were answered, mysteries explained. It was a really useful session but scarcely touched the surface before it had to end, after talk over a light lunch.
Ros and Jay had gone to a great deal of trouble but it was certainly to our mutual benefit. We were surprised to find how little they knew of our 1937 Mission (which they referred to as ‘the King George V Memorial’). When it was built the 1920s Flinders Street Mission was already in operation.
There will be further explorations. Jay and Ros hope to visit us around Easter as Ros is especially keen to view Capt Gray’s scrapbook. They also want to see Alison Kelly’s Mission Arts Centre album of 1987 to ’91 activity as well as our own collection of items from the demolished Mission.