State Schools' Relief was founded in 1930 during the great depression, by Anton Vroland a Head Teacher from Elsternwick State School. On June 12 1930, Anton Vroland organised a meeting with fellow teachers and principals who were concerned about the students living in the barges along the Yarra and huts around the Dudley Flat tip. At the conclusion of this meeting, the State Schools’ Relief committee was formed to undertake any relief possible to Victorian students.
Teachers often "knew" which children had the greatest need, so an arrangement was set up where more prosperous schools helped those less fortunate. SSR coordinated the provision of practical help - like giving clothes, shoes and food to students who needed it so they could continue their education.
Much of the early assistance came in the form of material rather than of money as, for example 5 crates of eggs from Manangatang and 3 tons of potatoes from the Western District. Such articles were not always used; if no immediate application could be seen some might be sold and the proceeds applied to clothing materials, and more urgently required commodities, or ones which could be more easily divided.
The wide-spread job loss and hunger of the Great Depression is no longer and we have entered the 21st Century of technology and opportunity. Yet, problems of poverty, neglect, family illness, abuse, homelessness and natural disasters continue to affect too many families.
The program is still 100% donation based with the bulk of the donations coming from the schools themselves - “from children to children”. It would, be almost impossible to find a State School, no matter how prosperous, which has not had at least one pupil who has received assistance at one time or another and it is unlikely that a school has been so “disadvantaged” that it has never forwarded a donation to help others little worse off than its own pupils.
The concept is a unique one; no other Australian State - and many will claim no other country in the world - has a similar organisation. We continue to offer assistance through the school anonymously, protecting the child and families dignity.
Since 1930, successive governments have provided operational costs. This means that 100% of donated funds are used to purchase quality clothing and footwear. State Schools' Relief acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.