A large and brilliant fete

28 October 1914. Mrs Ada Holman, wife of the NSW Premier, opens a four-day ‘garden fete on a large and brilliant scale’ at Our Lady’s Home, Coogee, in aid of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor. The organisers include Miss Kathleen Finn, who becomes a tireless fundraiser for Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor. Under her organisation, the annual gift day becomes the nurses’ major fundraising event to provide gifts and comforts for the poor. The event is officially renamed the Kathleen Finn Memorial Gift Afternoon following her death 27 years later. With the enthusiastic support of senior clergy, State politicians and local aldermen, hundreds and then thousands of people attend the event each year – rain, hail or shine – to donate groceries, clothing or money to assist the sick poor. By the 1950s, their collective offering is so great that a truck is required to take the goods away for storage. Afternoon tea served by the sisters and a musical program is always highlight of the festivities.