Help the boys in the trenches: Lady Mayoress's Patriotic League...

Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number ARTV07669
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 8 x 48 cm
Object type Poster
Physical description chromolithograph on paper
Maker Unknown
Australian Comforts Fund Victorian Division
Place made Australia: Victoria
Date made c. 1916-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Australian First World War banner poster issued by the Victorian Division of the Australian Comforts Fund (A.C.F) on behalf of the Lady Mayoress's Patriotic League. The banner features two small illustrations showing the work of the A.C.F. The first, positioned on the left side is of the A.C.F distributing parcels and letters from Australia to soldiers in the trenches. The other illustration, positioned centre right is of an A.C.F coffee stall at the front. The text is printed in red in a series of sky blue ribbon banners and a heraldic shield. The emblem of the Lady Mayoress's Patriotic League is positioned on the right side flanked by sprigs of wattle flowers, as is the heraldic shield. The Australian native wattle flower came to symbolise patriotism and love during the First World War. The Lady Mayoress's Patriotic Fund was founded in early August 1914 after a public meeting at the Melbourne Town Hall by Lady Mary Hennessy, wife of Sir David Valentine Hennessy, Mayor of Melbourne (1912 - 1917). The Fund set out to provide tobacco; cakes; puddings; condensed milk; biscuits and newspapers to supplement the rations and personal kit of Australian Soldiers at the front. It was the first such volunteer organisation established in Australia for war service. By 1916 the organisation had grown and became the Victorian Division of the Australian Comforts Fund. Lady Hennessy was awarded the Order of the British Empire - Commander (civil) in 1918 for her war work and was honoured by the Governments of France and Belgium. The Australian Comforts Fund (ACF) was first formed in August 1916 from a number of individual state based organisations that had been created at the beginning of World War I to send comfort to the troops. Many local women's groups formed early in the war to provide various 'luxury items' to supplement the Australian soldier's army rations and personal kit. The Australian Comforts Fund quickly grew into a fundraising, collecting, sorting and distributing machine which rivalled the scope of the Red Cross. At the conclusion of World War I, the ACF officially dissolved. However it was revived in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II to provide comforts to a new generation of soldiers. It ceased operation again on 27 June 1946. According to the obituary for Lady Mary Hennessay in 'The Argus' of 1 February 1937, " She was believed to have been the first woman in the British Empire to volunteer for patriotic service in the war, Four days after war was declared in August 1914 she convened a meeting of women in Melbourne to launch a fund to supply comforts for the soldiers and her Lady Mayoress' fund was the first of its kind to be opened in the British Empire...... She received the CBE for her services during the war and was also decorated by the French and Belgian governments." The activities of the Australian Comforts Fund in Victoria were managed by the Lady Mayoress' Patriotic League and even though she was the Lady Mayoress of Melbourne the League managed activities throughout Victoria.