Topic: Gen - Query Club
The Query Club
20 January 1915
The large scale of the Great War often gave people a sense of alienation from the activities of the government and the army. To overcome this, newspapers of the day commenced columns called Query Club or similar names, where ordinary people could clarify their understanding of the complex processes. They also provide us, the historians, an insight into witnessing first hand, the responses of the various bodies to public concerns. The end product is a window into a society now almost out of living memory.
This is the Query Club from the Sydney Mail, 20 January 1915, p. 30.
"Brooklet" asks what the imperial Government is doing for the relief of incapacitated soldiers and sailors and their dependents.
Parliament has passed a new scheme of allowances and pensions on a much more generous scale than that previously in force. Totally disabled men will now receive a minimum of 14s a week if unmarried, and 21s 6d a week if married, with a possible maximum of 28s a week. The separation allowances to soldiers' wives are:- If without children, 9s a week; with one child, 11s 6d; two children, 14s; three children, 16s 6d; and four children, 18s 6d. Wives of soldiers who are killed will, receive a minimum of 7s 6d a week; with one child, 12s 6d; two children, 15s; three children, 17s 6d; and four children, 20s. Many of these allowances will be otherwise enhanced. A widow who marries will receive a minimum gratuity of £39 in lieu of pension, and the allowance for motherless children is 5s a week for each child up to three, and 4s for each additional child. These are only a few of the cases that come under the new scheme, they indicate the general basis on which relief will be afforded.
"Ballina" asks what has come of the balance of the Bulli Disaster, the South African War, and other patriotic funds collected in New South Wales.
The balances are all held by the State Treasurer under the National Relief Fund Act, passed last year. The object of this Act is to give the State power to transfer to its charge all unexpended balances in banks or elsewhere of money collected by the public for the relief of distress now not directly existent. Over £13,200 was collected for the Bulli Disaster Fund, about £9000 of which was paid to widows and dependents of the men who were disabled or lost their lives. The South African War Fund or New South Wales Patriotic Fund, as it was generally termed, totalled £52,468. Of this £37,189 was disbursed to June 30 last, so that the balance, in addition to interest earned (£11,949), taken over by the Government totalled over £25,000. What exactly the Government intends to do with the money it now has in hand, apart from paying existing beneficiaries, we do not know. Patriotic funds are never divided up in a wholesale way among the dependents; the unwisdom of such a policy is apparent. The money to usually handed over to honorary trustees, whose duty it is to invest or apportion it in the best interests of those for whose benefit it is collected.
Citation: Query Club, 20 January 1915