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Godfrey Stephens, OAM

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1925 – 2008

Photo of Godfrey Stephens
Godfrey Stephens, an early pioneer of the Queensland credit union movement died, aged 83 on Friday, 5th December 2008 at the Wheller Gardens Retirement Village, Chermside, Brisbane.

Godfrey arrived in Sydney from Ireland on Melbourne Cup Day 1950 and gained employment with the ABC and was transferred in 1952 to Brisbane.

His involvement with the credit union movement started on 13 July 1959 when Stan Arneil was brought from Sydney to talk to ABC Brisbane staff about credit unions. Some weeks later Godfrey became Secretary/Treasurer of the newly formed ABC Staff (Qld) Credit Union.

In 1964 Godfrey became Manager of the Queensland Credit Union League, a position he held for many years.

During his time at the League he would be at work during the day and most nights and weekends spreading the word on the benefits of credit unions. During his time at the League Godfrey was instrumental in forming the first dozen or so credit unions in Queensland, including the First Aboriginal Credit Union at Cherbourg, near Brisbane (see the Fact Sheet on this credit union on this website).

Godfrey went to America and Canada in 1965 to visit credit unions and to learn more and further his knowledge on how to grow and improve the movement in Australia.

In 1991, Godfrey was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his work in the starting and development of credit unions in Queensland. The same year he was awarded the Australian Credit Union Historical Co-operative’s Kevin Yates Award for meritorious service to the Australian Credit Union Movement.

His early reflections are recorded in Chapter 10 of the history of Queensland Police Credit Union.

Godfrey addressing delegates at the 8th AGM of NSW Credit Union League during International Credit Union Week in October 1964.