Our History:

More from our Archives...

Some memorabillia and archive atrticles and a couple from books produced in the bicentennary that mention Doris Taylor., may be found here...


What Did Doris Say?

We are often asked what Doris Taylor said about her vision for Meals on Wheels. Indeed we often hear people quote Doris. We found this booklet produced in 1955 around the time of the second anniversary of the organisation.It provides great insight to an incredibly talented lady with great foresight and vision.

We hope you enjoy reading the original...

Click Here

Or you might like to read a commemorative version to celebrate our 60th...


Some more interesting reading about Meals on Wheels...

"A meal a day" is a great read and covers our history up to 1996...

Click here to read a Small file size PDF copy


The Legacy of Doris Taylor...

Meals on Wheels SA, and the wider model of a MoW delivered meals service, owes its existence to the vision of the late Doris Taylor MBE, a remarkable South Australian indeed!

Doris, born in Norwood in 1901, was permanently disabled by the age of sixteen, as a result of a childhood accident.

Living the rest of her very active life, confined to a wheelchair, this intelligent, compassionate and energetic individual became acutely aware of the problems of the disadvantaged people in society.

When Doris was in her twenties, Australia had slumped into the worst depression the country had known. She lived at home with her widowed mother, three sisters and a brother.

She became more and more concerned with the plight of those whose lives were being devastated by the harsh economic times, especially those endeavouring to raise children.

Undeterred by her own circumstances, Doris began organising fundraising functions to provide clothes for the children of the unemployed. A kitchen was established in the local school grounds to serve generous slices of buttered bread and helpings of home made soup, to keep the community better nourished.

She also began lobbying politicians to introduce laws giving far greater security to those who might otherwise have nothing.

Her focus was on the aged, housebound and disabled.

In recognising that if these people were to be encouraged to remain living in their own homes, a community service to assist them was vital.

She began asking herself the question: "Would a hot midday meal be the most sensible and practical way of bringing sustenance to these people?"

Thus for several years she planned how such a scheme could be put into effect.

As a result of Doris Taylor's courage, persistence and relentless lobbying, Meals on Wheels was incorporated on 4 September, 1954.

The organisation was the first of its kind to be constituted in Australia and the first to set out to produce its own meals with volunteer support. It was perhaps appropriate that the very people Doris Taylor was seeking to assist, 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 August 9th, 1954. Eleven volunteers delivered meals to eight clients.

Other kitchens followed in quick succession in Norwood, Hindmarsh and Woodville.

The first President of the organisation was the late Don Dunstan MP, who would later become Premier of South Australia. He was President of Meals on Wheels from 1954 to 1956.

Doris Taylor's vision evolved into an organisation that has since been copied in various forms throughout Australia and in many places overseas.

Today Meals on Wheels (SA) Incorporated, has some 8,000 volunteers, around 5,000 clients, and up to 90 branches throughout South Australia.

One of the interesting pioneering attributes for which Doris Taylor has never received due recognition was her decision to charge for the meal.

The concept of mutual obligation in charity work was almost unheard of at the time. It received ready acceptance from people who quickly appreciated that volunteer effort was one thing, the cost of ingredients and overheads was quite another.

The quality and value of the meal is exceptional, and represents about a third of the daily nutritional and energy requirements of an elderly person.

Over the years, Meals on Wheels has had fine support from service clubs, church organisations and religious groups, Government and Local Councils, but more especially the community at large.

It is that spirit of co-operation and care that has made the organisation the world leader it is today.

Doris Taylor died in 1968 after witnessing her dream come true and blossom into a unique community organisation.

She was a truly great and visionary Australian, whose legacy will continue to bring support and security to those South Australians who have chosen to live independently in their own homes, for as long as possible.


More information may be found...HERE

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