The Big Sister Movement was founded in 1928 by Mrs Minnie Gates (M.B.E.) and members of the Sydney branch of the National Council of Women.
Throughout the Depression, the Movement provided hostel accommodation for destitute single girls moving to Sydney from rural NSW. The first hostels were located in Hoskins Place, Bligh St and York St in Sydney.
As the Movement expanded other hostels in were established to assist elderly, disadvantaged women. Hostels were established across Sydney in Pennant Hills (1936), Burwood (1953) and Cronulla (1958).
Money was always scarce, and the Movement depended on fund-raising, donations and voluntary help to run the hostels. As a tireless fundraiser and leader of the Movement, Minnie Gates continued her efforts right through to her passing in 1966.
Mrs Minnie Gates M.B.E (1878 -1966)
With community needs changing in the 1970’s, the Big Sister Movement transitioned its services to providing accommodation and care for both elderly men and women in these hostel locations.
In 1976 these aged accommodation services were consolidated into one facility, The Big Sister Hostel, a 75 bed aged care hostel built in Miranda, south of Sydney.
The hostel was sold in 2004. With the capital invested, the Big Sister Movement changed focus from a primary service provider to a philanthropic organisation, bridging funding gaps in local community organisations who support women and families.
In 2010 The Big Sister Movement changed its name to Big Sister Foundation, reflecting our evolving philanthropic role in the community and supporting our long-term mission of giving a helping hand to women and families need.