The Compassionate Friends New South Wales was founded in August 1979. The name of the Compassionate Friends has been registered under the Associations Incorporation Act 1984
How it all began
The Compassionate Friends (TCF) was founded in Coventry, England, in 1969 by Canon Dr. Simon Stephens OBE, RN, who was then assistant to the Chaplain in the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital.
Simon had noticed that the intensity and duration of parental grief was much greater than that of others who lost loved ones. He brought together two couples whose children had died at the same time, hoping that they might comfort one another. In their mutual grieving, they discovered that by listening to one another, by understanding how each other felt, their grief was lessened and they were able to support and help one another as no one else could do. In time the two couples reached out to other grieving parents , and The Compassionate Friends was founded.
Growth of The Compassionate Friends
Developed in England, The Compassionate Friends grew throughout the United Kingdom and other countries. Today The Compassionate Friends has branches throughout the World supporting bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents.
The first Australian branch commenced in Melbourne in May 1978 and was founded by Margaret and Lindsay Harmer. In 1979 Diane and Brian Dunbar founded TCF in NSW after they heard Simon speak when he visited Melbourne for the inaugural meeting of TCF in Australia.
Since then a network of chapters has now been established across Australia with Western Australia opening in 1978. Raelee Wehrof Greenrange, east of Albany first started coffee mornings after contacting Margaret. In August/ September 1981, Margaret Harmer was over in WA for her Aunties funeral, and while in Perth she took the opportunity to hold a public meeting to bring awareness of The Compassionate Friends to WA. This was held in a church hall in Nedlands and it was around 1stSeptember 1981. Since 1981 TCFWA has been operating throughout WA.