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Did You Know?

Salvation Army Labour Bureaux

Line up of men 1907Unemployment in the wake of the serious 1890s and 1930s depressions threatened the very survival of middle and working class Australians. The Salvation Army, along with other churches and civic groups, struggled valiantly to fill the gap that existed in this country before government benefits were available.

In 1889 the first Salvation Army "labour bureau" (the first such bureau in Australia) was opened in Melbourne. In a time of deep privation and stark hunger, men from the country entered the cities in droves to seek work. Their city counterparts scoured the goldfields in hope of the means to support their loved ones and themselves. Soon there were Salvation Army labour bureaux in Sydney and Adelaide. As well as acting as jobfinding agencies, the bureaux served thousands of meals to people out of work. The Victorian Government, seeing the need for such a service, took over the running of the labour bureau in 1892.

With the government's move into the labour market, The Salvation Army - while continuing to help in finding people jobs - concentrated on providing practical relief necessitated through unemployment. The Salvation Army's example here in Australia led to the first British employment program. 

If you, or someone you care about, needs to find a job, caring staff at The Salvation Army's Employment Plus ( are here to help.