The Australian Red Cross is celebrating 100 years of people helping people, with its centenary birthday on August 13.
CEO Robert Tickner says theirs is a great Australian story of the extraordinary generosity and compassion of everyday people.
“Red Cross is proud to celebrate this important milestone in Australia’s social history,” he says.
“It’s our chance to recognise generations of Australians who have contributed to Red Cross as members, volunteers and donors, helping their communities in times of disaster or personal crisis and through the blood service.”
Part of the world’s largest humanitarian movement, Red Cross has been woven into the fabric of Australian life for 100 years – during times of war and peace, in response to natural disasters and increasingly through its everyday work helping the most vulnerable people in need.
“One hundred years ago, we joined the growing international Red Cross movement to serve the humanitarian needs of a nation at war,” says Robert.
“Though the nature of our everyday work has moved with the times, our goal to address disadvantage and vulnerability has not changed.
“We began in 1914 by preparing food parcels for soldiers and prisoners of war and caring for the wounded.
“Today we run a huge, diverse range of programs in seven priority areas, with a network of 90 regional offices, 180 shops and the Red Cross College.”
Robert says the everyday work of the Red Cross is diverse, from daily phone calls to helping older Australians stay in their homes, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, providing breakfast clubs so kids in disadvantaged communities don’t go to school hungry, to programs for asylum seekers and refugees.
“We campaign for respect for the laws of war and a convention to render the use of nuclear weapons illegal, respond to natural disasters, carry out international development work in our region, and continue to deliver first aid training and a world class blood service,” he says.
On August 13, the Australian War Memorial will honour the service of Red Cross through its Last Post ceremony at 4.45pm, and will tell the story of Private Gavin Gordon Bulkeley and his brother James, whose bodies were recovered with the help of the International Red Cross.