Meals on Wheels the legacy of Doris Taylor’s devotion to the aged and disadvantaged

Paralysed by a playground accident at the age of 12, Doris Taylor devoted her life to ensuring the needs of disadvantaged people were being met by governments and others.

Wheelchair-bound Taylor first showed her concern for the needy by organising a small soup kitchen for Norwood children during the Depression.
She became a vigorous campaigner for the aged and disadvantaged after World War II, as public relations officer for the South Australian division of the Australian Pensioners League.

Meals on Wheels as an organisation could be traced to a meeting in the Rechabite Hall, Norwood, in 1953 when Taylor outlined her idea to 96 pensioners. They confirmed that would rather have a meal brought to them than go to an institution. They gave £5 from their club social fund to start the movement.

The first Meals on Wheels kitchen opened in Port Adelaide in 1954. The organisation’s first chairman was the Member for Norwood and future premier Don Dunstan. Taylor, as secretary of the West Norwood Labor sub branch, was campaign manager for his election to the seat in 1952. Taylor spent her final decades travelling widely to speak and lobby for Meal on Wheels that spread state wide and expanded its services. Today it serves thousands of meals every day.

Other related ADELAIDEAZ articles

International Women’s Day breakfast in Adelaide is Australia's biggest: origins in 1938

The Adelaide International Women’s Day (March 8) breakfast has become the largest event of its type in Australia. This event was started in Adelaide in 1993 and has big support, attracting more than 2300 people in 2015 and raising $50,000, which was donated to UN Women National Committee Australia. In 2001, the International Women's Day Committee (SA) developed the first 20th Century Honour Roll for South Australian Women, complied by Betty Fisher.
 

Charles Kingston sees women's suffrage bill passed by parliament of South Australia in 1894

Premier Charles Cameron Kingston called women’s suffrage the colony’s “greatest constitutional reform”. Queen Victoria called it a “mad wicked folly” but she signed assent to the law in 1895. Kingston had initially opposed votes for women but he had brought in other important laws such as the Married Women’s Property Act 1883. He was persuaded by ministerial colleagues John Cockburn and Frederick Holder and lobbied by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union to introduce the suffrage bill. On August 23, 1894, when the Adult Suffrage Bill was read in the South Australian parliament, the women presented a petition with 11,600 signatures and 122 metres long. On December 18, women were granted both the right to vote and to stand as candidates for parliament – the first legislation in the world of its kind.

South Australian Film Corporation's Lottie Lyell Award 100 years after 'Woman Suffers'

The South Australian Film Corporation launched an award in 2018 to commemorate Lottie Lyell’s trail-blazing impact on the Australia screen industry and to give significant financial support to a female-driven screen project. The annual $20,000 Lottie Lyell Award will be for a female film practitioner, based in South Australia, to develop or deliver a work – feature film, TV series, documentary, script or game – that’s bold, ambitious and full of promise. The award marked a century since Lottie Lyell starred in Australia’s first feminist film The Woman Suffers, also the first feature made by Southern Cross Feature Film Co, the first production company founded in South Australia. Screen pioneer Lyell was a writer, producer, director, editor and art director, and an accomplished horsewoman who did all her own stunts. Together with her partner in work and life Ray Longford, she made 28 films. They had been working together since 1909 as actors in a touring theatre company. Longford directed her in the film of The Fatal Wedding in 1911. Their second film, The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole, established her as Australia’s first female film star. Lyell became Longford’s partner in the making of their films and in their private life. The Woman Suffers, filmed in Adelaide when Lyell was 27, was their 13th film together since 1911. The next year they made The Sentimental Bloke, the most successful Australian film of its day. She appeared in all of Longford’s films as director up until On Our Selection, made in 1920 ( he is credited as co-writer). Lyell died of tuberculosis in 1925, aged 35. 

Molly Byrne, Anne Levy lead Labor women into House of Assembly and Legislative Council

In 1965, Molly Byrne led the way for South Australian Labor female parliamentarians as a member of the House of Assembly for the seat of Tea Tree Gully. Anne Levy in 1975 was first Labor woman in the Legislative Council and, in 1986, its president. This made her the first presiding office of any house of parliament in Australia. Barbara Wiese (1985) was the first Labor woman and Legislative Council member to be a minister, from 1985 to 1994, mainly in the tourism portfolio.

Spence at centre of push for vote; the first female candidate for a political position in Australia

After seeing South Australian women gain the vote and right to stand as candidates in 1894, Catherine Helen Spence, with her niece Lucy Morice, founded the Woman's League (that later made way for the Women’s Non-Party Political Association) “to educate women politically and to work for the interests of women and children”. In 1897, she became Australia’s first female political candidate after standing (unsuccessfully) for office at the Federal Convention in Adelaide.

Elizabeth Webb Nicholls leads the temperance movement into broader range of social causes

Elizabeth Webb Nicholls was a founder of Adelaide's Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) branch.Elizabeth Webb Nicholls, daughter and niece of House of Assembly members Samuel and William Bakewell, made her public-speaking début at a Methodist women's conference in 1885. Nicholls took the temperance movement into wider causes, most notably votes for women. A councillor of the Women's Suffrage League, Nicholls helped gather, through the WCTU, 8,268 of the 11,600 signatures for the 1894 suffrage petition to parliament. Nicholls also campaigned on issues ranging from prison reform to sex education and working conditions.

Contact Us

We welcome positive constructive feedback