The orthodox version of the origins and history of the Kew Elder(ly) Citizens’ Association was established by Cr. W. D. Vaughan in his book Kew’s Civic Century (1960), when he wrote that: "When Mrs. C. H. Simpson was Mayoress in 1952 she set up the Elderly Citizens’ Association to care for the needs of ages persons in Kew. The idea was strongly supported and a start was made by providing social afternoons for elderly folk at Southesk. Visiting sick people in their homes, providing firewood where needed, and other activities were undertaken by the Association. The aid of Council was sought to further the work. It was decided that a social unit for elderly folk be established at Southesk." (p.126-7). In the following pages, he describes in detail Council’s role in formally establishing the Association. This ‘official’ version was reasserted in the later Thematic Environmental History of the City of Boroondara (2012). However the origins and gestation of community of organisations is rarely straightforward. In 1965, five years after Vaughan’s book was published, the author of East Kew Women’s Club : Twenty Years : 20-7-1945-30-7-1965, writing about the period July 1947 to July 1950, described the role the Club played in establishing the Kew Elder Citizens Association. The author wrote: "At a meeting of the Kew Community Aid, the plight of many elderly people in Kew who were dependent on pensions was raised and in order to ascertain their needs the practice was begun of serving morning tea at the Masonic Hall in Walpole Street, where pensions were then paid. From this beginning the Kew Elder Citizens Association was formed in Kew with wide support, and Club members gave willing support on the committee, in helping serve afternoon tea and in entertainment." (p.4) Photographic evidence also leads to questions about Vaughan’s version of events. A framed photograph in the Society’s Collection shows a Public Meeting to form the Kew Elder Citizens Association in a room at Southesk a year earlier in 1951. Whatever version of the origins of the Association is correct, a later framed photograph in the Society’s collection shows the opening of the completed Clubrooms of the Kew Elder Citizens at South Esk by the Hon. E.P. Cameron M.L.C, Minister of Health, on 12 November 1956. The Association is still active in Kew and is currently located at Hamer Court, opposite the Boroondara General (Kew) Cemetery in High Street, Kew.
Historic early photograph from the archives of the Kew Elder Citizen's Club
Framed photograph of six women who it is presumed were the candidates or finalists in a competition to be the Queen of Southesk. At this time, Southesk in Cotham Road was home to the Kew Elder Citizens Club, now known as Kew Senior Citizens Centre Inc.
Inscriptions & markings
Front mount: "Queen Competition 1967 - South Esk - Won by Mrs Harkansee." Reverse: "L-R: -. Miss Knox, Mrs Emmerson, Mrs Higgins, Mrs Moyle, Mrs Harkansee"