Voluntary Action and Welfare in Post-1945 Australia: Preliminary Perspectives

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Australian welfare history in the twentieth century has not focussed to any great extent on voluntary action. The relationship of voluntary action with the state, and its influences on social welfare have been sidelined by a preoccupation with the role of governments, and from 1945, the rise of the welfare state. This article will argue that the voluntary sector, buoyed by its successes during World War II - a high point of civilian volunteer action - continued on into the post-war period, tackling specific areas of social welfare need at both a local and national level. Using contemporary arguments of William Beveridge and Lloyd Ross, and the case study of Marriage Guidance Counselling, it is argued that voluntary action, alongside government, was an integral feature of, and played a significant role in, the structure and delivery of a broad range of social welfare programmes in post-war Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82.1-82.16
Number of pages16
JournalHistory Australia: Journal of The Australian Historical Association
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • social welfare
  • voluntary sector
  • history


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