As Great Britain marks its declaration of war against Germany in 1914 (and thus the involvement of Australia in the Great War), it’s interesting to note that against this backdrop, Twilight Aged Care – or the Twilight League as it was first known – was already two years into planning its first home. The development of Twilight Aged Care (as it is now known) is a fascinating reflection of the social history of the times. The Sydney Morning Herald of 27th November, 1912 reported as follows …
The Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday 27th November, 1912
A large number of ladies met yesterday in the Lady Mayoress’s rooms, in the Town Hall, to consider a proposal to establish an association to be known as the Twilight League, for the purpose of maintaining a home for educated women whose age had necessitated their giving up their former profession. Miss Florence Clarke, Lady Mayoress, was in the chair.
Various speakers dwelt upon the desirability of such a home and the unhappy circumstances which too often surrounded the declining years of elderly ladies of small incomes. Mrs. Mackinnon moved that the meeting express its sympathy with the proposal, and that those present should pledge themselves to help forward the movement as far as possible, which was seconded by Mrs. Swift. A committee, moved by Mrs. C. Walker, Mayoress of North Sydney, and seconded by Miss Rose Scott was formed, and it included Miss Clarke, Lady Cullen, Lady Carruthers, Miss Rose Scott, Mrs. C. Walker, Miss Sutherland, Miss Bedham, Mesdames Yuill, J. U. Maclean, Goodlet, Newman, Swift, A. H. Austin, E. J. Carter, Neville Mayman, E. C. V. Broughton, Innes Noad, R. J. Lukey, Miss Montefiore, and Miss Compton Legge. Miss Liggins and Mrs. Waugh were appointed respectively secretary and treasurer pro tem.
Mrs. Mackinnon said that she had found that the working women were always caring for others. The case of the aged mother, the younger children, and so on, always fell, not on the married members of the family, who went their own gait, but on the patient, hard-working daughter who contributed to the support of the rest out of her own small earnings. The home would provide each woman with a room, at a rent of from 10s to 15s a month, of which she would be absolute mistress. One good meal daily at cost price would be provided. She hoped eventually to see the home established where there was sufficient space for each of the inmates to have her own little garden plot.
Miss Rose Scott said that she knew of elderly women who were practically dependent on the old-age pension. If the members of Parliament were raising their own salaries, she thought they might raise the old-age pension. (Laughter and applause).
A discussion took place concerning the proposed name for the home, several ladies objecting that “Twilight” conveyed a too melancholy suggestion. The names “Sunshine Home,” “Florence Clark Home,” and “Hunter Home.” The last after the name of Madame Hunter to whom the origin of the scheme is due, were proposed, and the question was finally left in abeyance until a later stage.