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Brigadier Doreen Griffiths

Brigadier Doreen Griffiths provided over 60 years of caring for people in crisis since commencing her vocation as a Salvation Army Officer.

Honour Roll

Doreen Evelyn Griffiths was born in Melbourne on 3 March 1921. She came from a large family, and early in her life made links with the Salvation Army. She worked as a domestic until eighteen years of age.

She was commissioned as an officer in the Salvation Army in 1940. From 1940, she served at various Salvation Army church and community centres in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. She came to Victoria in 1966 where she commenced fourteen years distinguished service in the Family Welfare Service, based at 69 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Her work for families in crisis was unceasing. She was non-judgemental and positive in her response and had a special capacity for expressing compassion. Her service was practical, sometimes needing to shovel filth and dirt off the floor for people who simply did not know how to cope. Then there was the unforgettable day when she embraced a premature baby born to heroin addicted parents just before he died. Her love was not given sparingly, time was not counted, her financial rewards were small, but she brought hope to many.

She was awarded the Salvation Army's Long Service Award in 1965 and awarded the Long Service Star in 1975. In 1980, Doreen took up an appointment as the Children's Court Welfare Officer in Melbourne. In this role she has given completely selfless service to the young people coming before the courts, to their families who so very often need guidance and support at a traumatic time in their lives. Also the magistrates, court officials and departmental officers have found the Brigadier an unfailing support. She became an honorary probation officer in 1980, and this position was gazetted in 1981. She continued in her appointment at the Children's Court until her official retirement on 1 January 1983.

Many letters of appreciation for her work were read at her retirement, and Commissioner (later General) Eva Burrows paid a personal tribute to Doreen. However, because of the effectiveness of her ministry, many requests were made for her to continue with her work of love and compassion, and so the Brigadier gladly agreed to continue on in retirement. She often works 80 hours a week, meeting the needs of children and teenagers who find themselves caught in the legal process. Often they need clothes, some have not eaten for days, but most of all they need personal and emotional support. She continued to work in the Children's Court until limited by ill-health in 2000.

In 1988, the Victorian Employers Federation Community Service Award was presented to Doreen. Testimonials from magistrates and court officials showed their appreciation for the quality of service which she rendered at the Children's Court.