The Good Neighbour Council was established in Tasmania as part of the Australia wide Good Neighbour Council Movement in 1949 and was formed to provide voluntary services to the thousands of newly arrived migrants and displaced persons from War torn Europe and to help them settle in Australia. In Tasmania, the GNC Head Office in Hobart, was successfully operating for many years. The services of the GNC were mostly voluntary, with some funding provided by the Federal Government.
Change in Government Policy in 1978 saw the establishment of Migrant Resource Centres in Australia and the withdrawing of funding to the GNC. This signalled the end of the Good Neighbour Council Movement in Australia and indeed many Councils around the Country started to disband. However, the Good Neighbours in Tasmania did not give up. The knowledge and experience of the Good Neighbour volunteers could not be wasted. With a new Constitution in place and with great enthusiasm the Tasmanian Good Neighbours continued their work. The Good Neighbour Council of Tasmania in Hobart, (The Head Office) had branches in the North,( the present Good Neighbour Council in Launceston), there was a branch in George Town, one in Devonport and also in Burnie.
Unfortunately, old age was catching up with the Good Neighbour Council volunteers who found it difficult to continue visiting migrants at home, and perform other duties at the Day Centre. A number of regional Centres, including Burnie, Devonport, and George town closed down. The present Good Neighbour Council in Launceston is the only remaining Good Neighbour Centre in Tasmania and it still assists migrants. However, the Centre now provides services to migrants who arrived in Tasmania in the 1950’s and 60’s and they are now old or ageing. In 1994 the Council applied for a grant to employ a part time Coordinator to organise activities at the Centre and visit elderly migrants at home. The application was successful, and the Council has gone from strength to strength.
More that 50 elderly migrants from more 10 nationalities attend the Centre every week. The Centre provides the following services: Social Activities, Guest Speakers, trips and outings, Musical Events, Seminars and Workshops, visiting lonely people at home. We celebrate birthdays, we respect spiritual beliefs, and we do our best to prepare culturally acceptable food.
The Council’s mission is to address issues of isolation by providing opportunities for social support and interaction for elderly people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living within the Launceston Municipality.
A recent highlight for the group was the Celebration of “PEACE, is The Same in every Language” in partnership with the Migrant Resource Centre in Launceston. The word PEACE was written in the language of our clients and invited in their own language. The event was very successful.
To contact the Good Neighbour Council please telephone 03 6334 1239 or email Stella Gosier.