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Centenary heralds new era in SA

The official opening of the Red Cross office in Adelaide heralds a new era for Red Cross in South Australia.

Wednesday March 26, 2014

In our Centenary year, the official opening of the Red Cross office in Adelaide heralds a new era for Red Cross in South Australia.

For Red Cross, human connection is at the heart of what we do.

Red Cross has captured this spirit in their new Pirie Street premises, creating a welcome place for Red Cross staff, members and volunteers and the public to come together to serve the local community.

The South Australian Governor, His Excellency Kevin Scarce, had the honour of officially opening the new site, acknowledging that the new premises will better equip staff, members and volunteers to deliver vital services to vulnerable people across the state.

SA Executive Director Helen Connolly shared her vision for the new location to be a place for the community to connect, highlighting the improved facilities such as break-out areas for people to collaborate, a client focussed reception area, an improved IT system and even a ping pong table.

Red Cross President Michael Legge reflected on key events over the past 100 years of Red Cross in South Australia, singling out the remarkable collection of Red Cross letters from World War One, now held at the State Library of South Australia.

The Red Cross letters were donated to the State Library in 1919, consisting of the complete correspondence between family members to Red Cross seeking news of their soldiers serving overseas, and responses from the military detailing the soldiers' fate. It is an extraordinary legacy of the dedicated service of many Red Cross volunteers, mostly women, on the home front during the war years.

Mr Legge highlighted that the Red Cross Centenary celebrations will spill into 2015, when the State Library launches a major project for ANZAC Day next year to share the letters with the public.

Chair of the State Advisory Board Sue Vardon showcased the diverse range of contemporary, innovative work carried out across the state, thanks to the vital support of 1,700 members and 2,200 volunteers. From training community members in the APY Lands to fit baby seats so they can safely transport their children across rough remote roads, to having teams of volunteers at the ready to call people vulnerable to extreme weather during heatwaves to check on their wellbeing, to working with young people trapped in a cycle of offending to help them build their skills and self esteem so they can make better choices to improve their lives.

The Centenary launch ended on a high note when our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the Local Traditional Owners were honoured by sharing a smoking ceremony, which cleansed off the old and brought the new spirit to the Red Cross location.

Local Kaurna man Karl Telfer lit a fire using a wooden stick and kindling and walked the smoking embers through the building accompanied by Red Cross staff members Corey Turner and Phil Allen who played the clapping sticks and didgeridoo.

May those good spirits touch all who visit the new Adelaide Red Cross office.