Wesley Mission Reflects: NSW History Week
As NSW celebrates ‘History Week’, now in its 19th year and a significant event in NSW’s cultural calendar, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect and share Wesley Mission’s rich and diverse history.
From our humble start in The Rocks, to our sprawling presence today in centres across NSW and in Sydney’s CBD, Wesley Mission’s story has been, and continues to be, the story of the people and communities we have walked alongside for more than 200 years. Our story is represented in the expansion of our services, which have grown with the changing needs of the communities we serve.
Wesley Homeless Services
Our dedication to supporting people experiencing homelessness began with Wesleyan, George Lucas, back in1864, who had a tent at his house where men without a home were welcomed to stay.
Our commitment to supporting people experiencing homelessness continued with the development of the Sydney Night Refuge for homeless men, which opened in 1866.
Homelessness has always remained central to our mission and in 1979 we opened Edward Eagar Lodge on Bourke Street in Darlinghurst. Today, it continues to be a home for men and women in Sydney who have nowhere safe to call home.
Wesley Disability Services
Wesley Mission aims to enhance the wellbeing and promote independence of those with disability and that has been part of our story since 1948 when Lottie Stewart Hospital opened in Dundas to provide care for people within a Christian environment.
Continuing our story, in 1973, David Morgan Enterprises opened its doors in Rydalmere to give those with disabilities the opportunity to achieve independence through meaningful employment. Further to this, in 1988 Wesley Disability Services opened eight residential houses and today our services and initiatives continue to grow and innovate to meet changing needs.
Wesley Family and Youth Services
Forever at the heart of Wesley Mission has been helping families, children and young people.
From the 1800’s, when we opened Waverly House in Woolloomooloo, a place for those in need of a safe and warm bed for the night, our services have grown and continue to grow, to meet the needs of the community.
Through youth outreach activities like Teenage Cabaret and the Wesley StreetSmart program, developed in response to the growing number of young people living on the streets, to 120 years of caring for children and young people through our foster care service Wesley Dalmar, Wesley Mission aims to provide immediate and crisis care to longer term outreach. Because every life matters.
Wesley Mental Health Services
In 1988, The Hills Family Centre opened in Castle Hill to provide counselling and support services and Waddell House (now Wesley Hospital) opened in Ashfield in 1946 and was the first private Christian psychiatric hospital in NSW.
Lifeline telephone counselling services launched in 1963 to provide a 24-hour continuous service for people in a crisis. This idea then spread globally, saving an untold number of lives. In response to the growing number of suicides in Australia, we began ‘Hearing the Cry’ in 1995 which later became what we now know as the Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Program.
Today, we support suicide prevention networks across Australia and through Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland where we answer more than 35,000 calls for help each year.
Here we are, 200 years on, still meeting together and united by the same purpose; to do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.