The Home League
The Home League at Hurstville has a long and faithful history. It began in 1915 during the term of Ensign and Mrs A. Annetts. Sister Mrs Myers was the first Home League Treasurer and held the commission for 16 years.
Transportation was scarce in these early years and it was difficult to bring the women together for the weekly meetings. During the appointment of Captain & Mrs Charles Terracini (1920-1922), the Home League received the impetus that was needed to establish this very important ministry. In spite of the fact that 'Bill' Terracini was born during this term, Mrs Terracini's work amongst the women bore "rich fruit" and the Home League became an integral part of the Corps' outreach programme. The Home League Secretary was Mrs Gillott and the Treasurer, Mrs Simmonds.
The first of many accomplishments came in February 1922 when a member of the Hurstville Home League won first prize in an essay competition. The subject was "Keeping a Family (of two parents and three children) on £4 lOs. per week". Mrs D. Stewart of Hurstville entered with great success. The entries were published in The Local Officer and Bandsman and readers were asked to vote. Fifty per cent voted for Mrs Stewart's article, givingher outright victory and a prize of two guineas forher efforts.
From 1925, the Home League was ably led by Home League Secretary Mrs Nettleton, who regularly made requests to the local community (through articles in The Hurstville Propeller) to donate clothing, groceries and other necessities. The demands for these items were very heavy, due to the prevailing distress during the Great Depression.
The War Years
The war years presented some difficulties, with many women either working or being caught up in 'war work'. During 1941, under the instruction of Mrs Adjutant Packer, the ladies of the Corps started a 'sewing bee' for bomb victims in England, and sent several hundred articles to Headquarters for shipment overseas.
Throughout the duration of World War II, Hurstville Home Leaguers wrote letters and sent them to more than 250 servicemen and women whose names were listed in the Remembrance Book held at Hurstville. In 1944 the average attendance at Home League was eighty; the majority of these women would come specifically to hear their loved ones remembered in prayer. One mother was moved and encouraged when Mrs Brigadier Smartt read extracts from a letter sent by her son. "We appreciate your letter," he wrote "and the great job the Home Leaguers are doing to cheer us.... There is something in the letters which is difficult to describe, but somehow they seem to bring God much nearer."
Immediately following the cessation of hostilities, food parcels for Britain became a priority, with the Salisbury Corps, England, being especially adopted by the Hurstville Home League. Clothing and blankets were sent to be distributed throughout Britain and devastated areas of Europe.
Special projects were established on the local front such as help for the Arncliffe Girls' Home, Sunset Lodge and 'Christmas Cheer' at Waterfall Sanitorium.
Sis. Mrs Grace Pack took over the responsibilities of the Home League from Sis. Mrs Spence in 1944. She endeared herself to all with her bright and cheerful disposition. The Divisional Home League Banner was presented to Home League Secretary Grace Pack, who accepted it on behalf the Hurstville Home League, at the Congress Rally in March 1949.
April 1949 saw the 34th Anniversary of the Hurstville Home League, which was presided by Lieut.-Commissioner Mrs. James (Territorial President) and ably assisted by Brigadier Mrs. Scotney (Divisional Home League Secretary). Much interest was given to a resume of the history of the Home League, prepared and delivered by Mrs Grace Pack. Sis. Mrs Thelma Treffone gave an eloquent recital and two of the oldest members, Mrs Bright and Mrs Earnshaw Snr, and the newest member, Mrs King, were "on duty" for the birthday cake ceremony.
In July 1955 Hurstville Home League celebrated its 40th birthday in conjunction with the 56th Anniversary of the Corps. This birthday was commemorated by a luncheon attended by 143 women. The special speaker for this event was Mrs Colonel Dent.
Mrs Pack sailed to England in March, 1956 as Divisional Representative. This was an honour which had full backing by the Hurstville Home League, who did much of the fund-raising for the journey. She was abroad for six months.
Hurstville Home League became the first group of Salvationists to attend the Officer Training College to explain to the Cadets the practicalities of Corps life. Home League Secretary Grace Pack and a group of Home League Locals gave a presentation in June 1958 on the matters of running a Home League.
During the 1960s Hurstville Home League won the Territorial Premier Banner for being the largest and most efficient League in the Territory for at least six consecutive years.
The Home League Singers
Special mention should be made of the part played by the Home League Singers both in the Corps and in the Sydney Area, and even further afield. First begun by Mrs Brigadier Jennings in 1952, then carried on by Mrs Al McComb, the Brigade thrilled many and they were greatly honoured when asked to sing at a Great Women's Rally in St Andrews Cathedral in 1967 and then again in the Sydney Town Hall in 1969. In October 1967 the Home League Singers travelled to Canberra City for the weekend.
1969 saw a regular attendance of over 190 women and there were 23 faithful Local Officers who loyally supported this great evangelical work week by week, encouraging, entertaining and blessing all the women who were proud to belong to the Hurstville Home League.
Sister Grace Pack was suddenly Promoted to Glory in February 1977 during attendance at the Annual Home League Camp at Collaroy.
In 1980 the Home League celebrated 100 years of Salvationism in Australia by holding a Centenary show day, with wonderful stalls and displays of great talent from members who also participated in a fashion parade (even the local paper correspondent seemed impressed). After this, a delightful luncheon was enjoyed by all.
Hurstville Home League received the champion Home League Banner 'A Grade' for 1990, as they had done so many times before.
The Hurstville Home League continues to be a very important link to the local community and many women have come to know Christ through the fellowship and love of the women of the Home League.