Thursday, 31 December 2015

Meals on Wheels - Townsville

Townsville's first meals on wheels were delivered to an elderly couple, aged 86 and 84, when the service began operating in mid-September, 1964. Townsville Daily Bulletin photographer Alex Trotter captured this image of the first meals being loaded into a car, ready for delivery.
First meals on wheels being loaded, ready for delivery. From left to right are: Mrs W. Johnson (driver's assistant), Mrs R.W. Gerard and Mrs E.G. Besser (cooks), Mrs A.V. Greske (driver's assistant), Mrs C. Hotz and Mrs N. McKillop (drivers, holding food containers), Mrs K. Stephens (vice-chairman of the committee), Mr D. Thompson (supervisor), and the Rev. K. Stephens (convenor of the committee).
Photo: Alex Trotter, held by City Libraries Townsville.
On the 15th September, 1964, the Townsville Daily Bulletin ran a small report with the photo, that read:

"The service has been started by the St. Andrew's Meals on Wheels Committee, operating under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church.

The three course meals are cooked by voluntary workers at a central kitchen, located at the Presbyterian Church Hall in Warburton Street, North Ward. Each meal consists of soup, meat and three vegetables, and dessert.

The meals are then transported in private cars to elderly or sick people who are unable to prepare meals for themselves. A nominal charge of 2 /- is made for each meal.

Applications must be made for the meals, and each applicant must forward a medical certificate, which also serves as a guide for preparation of meals for persons on diets. Applicants are interviewed by a member of the committee, Mrs Underwood, a trained nurse.

The service is available to all needy people, irrespective of colour or creed.

Meals will be delivered to such people in any part of Townsville. The inaugural meals on Monday went to people in Garbutt, North Ward, Melton Hill and Railway Estate.

For a start, meals are being delivered three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Later, as the organisation is developed, the service will extend to five days a week.

The food is carried in special vacuum containers, each holding five meals. At present the committee has two containers, and has another on order. This will enable it to serve up to 15 meals a day."
According to the City Libraries Townsville catalogue, the back of this photograph contains a notation that reads: "Day Meals on Wheels reached 100 meals a day". The photo is not dated.
Source: City Libraries Townsville
If you know the people in this photograph, please leave the details in the comments section below!

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