60 years of Footscray and Yarraville Juniors Auxilary

Article from 2019/2020 Auxiliaries Annual Report

Lifelong friendships are a by-product that no one anticipated when the Footscray Yarraville Juniors Auxiliary first came into being 60 years ago.

The Auxiliary still has many of the founding members, including Auxiliary Secretary, Margaret Plowright, who has been heavily involved since its inception in 1960.

“We could not have known then, that helping the hospital and working for a good cause would lead to 60 years of fun and friendship,” said Margaret.

“The hospital and our monthly meetings have given us a focus and we’ve stayed together and formed enduring friendships. We’ve learnt that we all have strengths and how to pool our resources to raise money and hold each other firm.”

President of the Auxiliary, Shirley Jenkins along with Margaret Day, Margaret Howe, Margaret McPherson and Margaret Plowright recently all received 60 year service awards, having also been with the Auxiliary since its infancy.

The first Footscray Yarraville Auxiliary began in 1933. In 1960, when the hospital was being built on the original Parkville site, more funding was needed, and some of the Footscray Yarraville Auxiliary members suggested to their daughters that they form a junior group; and the Juniors Auxiliary was born.

Over the years the Auxiliary has held hundreds of monthly fundraising events, including luncheons, art exhibitions, auctions, fancy dress parties, progressive dinners – and even a baby show. Their longest running fundraiser has been the Easter stall in the hospital foyer.

“40 years ago, hot cross buns were only eaten on Good Friday and we sold them by the truckload. More recently we were delighted when some of our grandchildren came to help us sell our buns and chocolate eggs,” said Margaret.

The Auxiliary’s relentless fundraising efforts have meant current and former members have raised around $600,000 for the hospital. Whilst COVID-19 has slowed fundraising for the group’s white diamond anniversary year, the lockdown has given the Auxiliary time to come up with new fundraising ideas.

“We have found some gems among our things and we are hoping to come back with a bric-a-brac stall at future market days,” said Margaret.

Footscray Yarraville Juniors Auxiliary raises money for the RCH (through untied funds), and most recently purchased an Infant Warmer for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“For 60 years and counting we’ve watched the children’s hospital grow and are honoured to be a part of it,” said Margaret.