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History of Crossroads Family Violence Service

The Salvation Army has a long and proud history of providing services for women and children.   These early homes were multi-functional.  These services included the first women’s refuge to be established in Melbourne Victoria.  The services were all innovative and continued evolving to provide contemporary services for women and women with children.

Prison-Gate Brigade Homes took in women needing refuge. Fallen Sisters Home opened in Collingwood  as a refuge.

Womens  Rescue Home opened  in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy (possibly the first dedicated only to being a only a women’s refuge).

The Harbour Rescue Home opened in Brunswick (multi-use, was also an Industrial Home for Girls)

Initially known as the Melbourne Receiving Home, and then the Melbourne Womens  Shelter, it was soon renamed Hope Hall.

Home for Women in Little Collins Street

Hope Hall opened in Drummond Street, Carlton

The first Mary Anderson Lodge opens in Burnley

The  Mary Anderson Lodge continued this history of evolution and innovation.

The Lodge was redeveloped and commenced providing the high security family violence refuge accommodation in 12 self-contained units. 

The Salvation Army Crossroads Network undertook a comprehensive evaluation  and review of the Mary Anderson Lodge. 
A report and associated recommendations was prepared.

Based on the recommendations in the 1997 report the Mary Anderson Lodge was redeveloped.

Twelve self-contained community accommodations were purchased and the first dispersed refuge program commenced in Victoria. 

At this time the program was renamed Mary Anderson Family Violence Service.

The Mary Anderson Family Violence Service is providing a diverse suite of programs including family violence refuge and support. 

This resulted in a change of program name to The Salvation Army Crossroads Family Violence Service. 

The family violence refuge component of the Service retains the name Mary Anderson Family Violence Refuge Program.

Major Mary Anderson

Mary Anderson was a Salvation Army Officer and her first 12 years after graduating from The Salvation Army’s Training College in 1901 was in Corps work. Her concern was always for the poor, the disadvantaged and those with special problems. In 1913 she was appointed to the Melbourne Police Court to assist women and girls in distress.

The stories of her work in the courts are legend. She was never concerned with religious denomination, and she never gave up! She had a wonderfully spontaneous sense of humour and also the knowledge and tenacity of purpose to see a task through, which meant that many of the women and girls who came before the magistrates were able to be assisted and rehabilitated.

The officers of the court and police force placed great reliance on her judgement and many women were kept out of prison by her intercession and acceptance of responsibility for them. From 1917 the matronship of Salvation Army women’s shelters were added to her responsibilities.

Mary Anderson was a highly respected Justice of the Peace, was given a Life-Governorship of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, invited to become an Associate Member of the National Council of Women, appointed a Life Member of the Honorary Justices Association, and was the first Vice-President of the Probation Officers Association of Victoria.

Mary Anderson, in 1943, was the first Australian woman to be awarded the Order of the Founder. The Order of the Founder is The Salvation Army’s highest honour.

She retired in 1935, but continued her police work for a further 11 years, and was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1956, receiving the MBE from the Governor of Victoria.

 Mary Anderson (“the Little Major”) died in 1956. On the day of her funeral all of the Courts in Melbourne closed for the morning, and many judges and magistrates attended her funeral service at the  Melbourne City Temple.