Lifeline for a lonely town

Once the ceremony was over, a team of volunteers manned the phones for the first of a series of continuous shifts.

The Lifeline Center was built by the Central Methodist Mission at a cost of £42,000.

It is housed in a 100-year-old building that was once a Methodist Sabbath and day school.

The building has been completely rebuilt. The facilities offered include:-

A telephone counseling service.

  • Mobile trouble teams.
  • A home nursing service.
  • A clothing distribution center.
  • A foot clinic

“A definite upsurge in psychological, emotional and spiritual poverty.” Commuters on Elizabeth Street, Sydney on 2 July 1962.Credit:Staff Photographer

Fifty in the night call for help
(the 14th of March)

Fifty phone calls from those in need came to the Central Methodist Mission between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m. on the night their Lifeline Center number was announced.

Rev Alan Walker said so last night at a private reception at the Center on Flinders Street, Darlinghurst.

The £40,000 center is officially opened by Lord Mayor Ald. HF Jensen, on Saturday.

Mr Walker said the center’s phone number (31-0971) was released ahead of schedule last Wednesday.

Wide range of activities

When the Lifeline Center begins operations, 96 volunteers will be on the phone 24 hours a day.

The volunteers give advice and comfort over the phone to people in need, such as those at risk of suicide, alcoholics, drug addicts or people with family or social problems and help if necessary.


“The City of the Lonely Crowd…” Rev. Alan Walker in 1963.Credit:Staff Photographer

There will also be social workers in radio-controlled cars, an extensive clothing store and fitting rooms, social counseling and psychiatric counselors, and facilities for group activities.

About 200 people, mostly volunteers, will help run the center and services include home nursing and podiatry for pensioners.

Health Secretary Mr WF Sheahan congratulated Mr Walker on the opening of the center last night, saying: “I think we can see the genius, organizational skills and speaking skills of Rev Alan Walker, whose name has become a household word in Sydney , in this center.”

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. HR Gough, who also attended the reception, described the center as “one of the greatest experiments or adventures in evangelism that the church has undertaken in Sydney in a long time.”

£37,000 raised for Center

A total of £37,000 has been raised for the centre, mainly through public subscriptions, Mr Walker said.


The Central Methodist Mission was hoping for a total of £50,000 so there would be a surplus to cover the first year’s running costs, he said.

Lifeline continues to offer free 24/7 crisis phone support. The telephone service can be reached by phone 13 11 14 within Australia. Lifeline for a lonely town

Justin Scaccy

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