State Library of South Australia logo Timeline
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

Meals on Wheels
Title : Meals on Wheels Meals on Wheels
Add To My SA Memory
Date of creation : ca. 1960
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
The State Library of South Australia is keen to find out more about SA Memory items. We encourage you to contact the Library if you have additional information about any of these items.
Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of City of Port Adelaide Enfield. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from City of Port Adelaide Enfield and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Opening of Meals on Wheels kitchen, Port Adelaide; those present include the Mayor and Don Dunstan.

Meals on Wheels came into being in South Australia through the vision of Doris Taylor. Confined to a wheelchair from her mid-teens, Taylor was well aware of the problems of the disadvantaged and social injustices. During the Great Depression she organised practical aid for unemployed families, with fund raising and a soup kitchen.

Concerned for the aged, infirm and disabled, Taylor recognised that community assistance could enable people to remain living in their own homes; in particular, nutritious, affordable meals delivered at home would be most beneficial, and the delivery visits would provide social contact.

As a result of Taylor's persistent lobbying of politicians, Meals on Wheels was incorporated in 1953 and was the first organisation of its kind to be constituted in Australia. Meals on wheels set out to produce meals with volunteer support. Aged pensioners provided the first donation of five pounds ($10) to help establish the organisation.

The first Meals on Wheels kitchen was established in Port Adelaide on 9 August 1954 with 11 volunteers. Additional kitchens followed in Norwood, Hindmarsh and Woodville. Don Dunstan MP (later Premier of South Australia) was the first President of Meals on Wheels, from 1954 to 1956.

The organisation has since been copied in various forms throughout Australia and in numerous places overseas. There are now some 100 Meals on Wheels branches in South Australia, with an estimated 10,000 volunteers, and more than 5,000 recipients. Taylor was awarded an MBE for her services to the community in 1959.

Related names :

Taylor, Doris, 1909-1968

Coverage year : 1960
Period : 1946-1979
Place : Port Adelaide (S. Aust.)
Region : Adelaide metropolitan area
Further reading :

Baldwin, Suzy, ed. Unsung heroes & heroines of Australia, Elwood, Vic.: Greenhouse, 1988

'Biographies of nine in SA Honors list: Social welfare', The Advertiser, 1 January 1959, p. 3 [Doris Taylor awarded MBE]

Cudmore, Michael. A meal a day: a history of Meals on Wheels in South Australia, 1953-1996, Wayville, SA: Meals on Wheels (SA), 1996

Meals on Wheels Inc. (S. Aust.). Meals on Wheels: what it is - how it began - what it is now - what it can become!, [Adelaide: Griffin Pr., 1964]

'Tributes to Meals on Wheels founder', The Advertiser, 24 May 1968, p. 3 [Doris Taylor]

Internet links :



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on