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Florence Faithfull

The Home Front: Australia during the First World War

Florence Faithfull, fundraiser and volunteer

Florence Faithfull in a garden.
Florence Faithfull, 1918. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by James Maple-Brown, Diana Boyd and Pamela Maple-Brown. National Museum of Australia.

During the war, Florence Faithfull was president of the Goulburn, New South Wales, branch of the Red Cross Society.

The unmarried daughter of a prominent local family who owned the Springfield merino stud, Faithfull had long been a strong supporter of the local community. In 1914 alone, she donated £50 to the Patriotic Fund, £10 to the Regimental Comforts Fund, and gave items of children’s clothing to the Belgian Relief Fund. During the war, people contributed nearly £13,500,000 to the different comfort funds.

Across Australia, women echoed Miss Faithfull’s efforts, knitting socks and mittens for soldiers and organising fundraising events. They took to the task with a patriotic fervour.

More

Springfield collection, National Museum of Australia

History of the Red Cross, Australian Red Cross website

Front and back view of a cream cotton apron, with two patch pockets on the front, with red wool piping to these and to the waistband. The apron has three panels, four stitched pleats across the hemline, and no ties to the waistband.
Florence Faithfull wore this apron while fundraising for the Red Cross. One of her initiatives was to sell produce from Springfield, the family property, at a stall in Goulburn. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by James Maple-Brown, Diana Boyd and Pamela Maple-Brown. National Museum of Australia. Photos: Jason McCarthy.

Zoom in to see the details on these South Australian fundraising buttons

Display of South Australian fundraising buttons, assembled 1926. From 1915 to 1919, South Australians spent £230,000 on buttons sold by organisations like the Red Cross. Even after the war ended, buttons were sold to fund the rehabilitation of soldiers and to erect war memorials. National Museum of Australia. Photo: Jason McCarthy.