St Vincent de Paul Society

About the Hawthorn Conference

St Vincent de Paul Society 2020 Winter Appeal


Thank You !

The Hawthorn Conference of St Vincent de Paul would like to sincerely thank our parishioners yet again for their wonderful response to our recent Winter Appeal; despite the difficulties due to Covid-19 in reaching out to all parishioners, the total raised has achieved a wonderful outcome given the circumstances. 

We would also like to wholeheartedly thank the students, parents and staff of our local primary school, St Joseph’s, who again responded so generously by donating two large carloads of non-perishables to be distributed to those less fortunate in Hawthorn and Fitzroy; and a special thanks to Jack O’Toole and Claire Harrison who coordinated the appeal at St Joseph’s.


To Request assistance

Contact St Vincent de Paul - Box Hill call centre

Tel  1800 305 330

Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm

To enquire about the Hawthorn Conference or ask about joining our Volunteer members

Peter W (Conference President)


Peter McD (Conference Treasurer)

Tel 8862 4000 (Parish Office)


The Hawthorn Parish Conference provides assistance for people in need of food, clothing, household items, furniture.  


The Hawthorn Parish provides weekly financial assistance to several rented house projects of the Hawthorn Conference in the local area. 


The Conference is also involved in the Vinnies Shop at 254 Auburn Road, Hawthorn.  The donation of items for the shop is always welcome and a pick-up service operates when necessary. 


Members of the Parish conference visit the needy and lonely in their homes and also offer support for the unemployed.

What activities require volunteer assistance?

  • Home visitation

  • Delivery of food and clothing

  • Shop volunteers

  • Collection of donations

  • Work for the unemployed

  • Other areas of need as they arise - see in the weekly Parish Bulletin

  • Contributions in cash or kind are always welcome.

New members are always welcome to join our Conference!

The Hawthorn Conference of St Vincent de Paul Society holds its meeting at 7:00 pm on the 1st Monday each month (except January; Public Holidays moved to 2nd Monday), in the Immaculate Conception Church Presbytery.


We would like to encourage prospective new members and people wanting to participate in our visitation program to join us. 

After a busy year of assisting people in need in Hawthorn and Inner City area, St Vincent de Paul’s Hawthorn Conference held their last meeting for the year.

Vinnies Bushfire Assistance Line

Meet Sue-Anne, a dedicated volunteer in our Bushfire Assistance Call Centre and member of Hawthorn Conference of St Vincent de Paul Society. Other volunteers from Hawthorn Conference and Conferences across the State are also assisting in this vital work.

Watch the video interview 

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia has more than 40,000 members and volunteers, who work hard to assist people in need and combat social injustice across Australia. Internationally, the Society operates in 150 countries and has over 800,000 members.


The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation that aspires to live the gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice, hope and joy, and by working to shape a more just and compassionate society.

St Vincent de Paul Society Hawthorn


There are three categories of membership of the Society:

Conference members are those who belong to the grassroots groups within the Society known as conferences. They live their Catholic faith in action through the spirit of Christian charity.

Associate members are those who are committed to the ethos, mission, aims and objects of the Society and who assist the work of the Society, but do not attend conference meetings.

Volunteer members are those who respect the ethos, mission, aims and objects of the Society and who volunteer in any of the Society’s works.

Amelia House - Helping Refugees

Amelia House in East Hawthorn, managed by the Hawthorn Conference, has been providing short term accommodation for families in need since 1990.


Jointly owned by the Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Society, this special work was initially established to house single mothers and their children. The focus changed after threatening behaviour from some former partners or boyfriends to the women in the early years.


From 1995, refugee families, recently arrived in Australia, were given the opportunity to spend about 12 months in the house, settling into the country and then moving independently into the community. Since then around 15 families, from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and West Irian have found Amelia House their first home in Australia.


Rental is kept low to enable families to save for the future. The conference provides moral support, friendship and advice where required. Regular contact with many former residents provides a positive picture of how these ‘new’ Australians have progressed, with good jobs, tertiary qualifications and settled lives. All have very fond memories of their first home in their new country

St Vincent de Paul Society, Hawthorn Conference

The Society was founded by 20 year old Frederic Ozanam and 6 companions in Paris in 1833. It spread rapidly through the world. The first conference (branch) was founded in Australia in Melbourne in 1854.


The Hawthorn Conference was established on March 1st, 1900 and is the third longest continuous conference in Victoria, having been active for all its 119 years.  Founding President was V.E. (Eddie) Henderson, Tax Commissioner for Victoria at the time, who presided for 22 years. Other outstanding members have been John Connell, president for 33 years, (1930-1963), Charlie Murphy (1978-1986), who had served as the Member for Hawthorn in the Victorian Parliament, 1952-1955, and Peter Murphy who was responsible for opening the Vinnies Store in Auburn Road in 1972, and for building the VincenPaul Hostel and St Vincent de Paul Nursing Home, in Box Hill. Amazing service over the years has been provided by 50 year members, Leo Blood and the recently retired, but still inspirational,  Bill Pierse.


The Conference‘s prime focus has always been to provide relief to the needy of Hawthorn, whatever form that might take.  In the earlier years of last century, conference members often visited prisoners at Pentridge, cared for foreign seamen on ships passing through Port Melbourne and served meals to the homeless at Ozanam House in North Melbourne. Outstanding work was done by members during the harsh years of the Depression. Clothes, blankets, boots, firewood and meals were supplied where needed. Many were helped with medical aid, rent payments and funeral expenses. Nursing accommodation was found for pensioners, and scarce jobs for the unemployed.  Activities were financed for the most part by a ‘charity sermon’ preached once a year by a distinguished Melbourne priest.

V.E. (Eddie) Henderson, founding president

Today the Conference continues to support the needy of Hawthorn, ‘wherever there is a need’, and attends to calls from the inner city areas of Prahran and South Yarra at the weekend. A special interest is the care of refugees and asylum seekers. A home for refugee families in East Hawthorn has been managed by members since 1990. 


As well, Hawthorn parishioners volunteer on one of the Society’s soup vans which nightly provide meals to the needy and homeless in Collingwood and Fitzroy. Quarterly, Christmas and Easter grants are provided to eight overseas conferences in India, Myanmar, the Philippines and Pakistan. Nowadays, activities are financed through the generous donations of Hawthorn parishioners at the annual Winter Appeal in June.

© 2020 Hawthorn Catholic Parish;                   Version 1.0.3