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Centenary 2014

Be part of the great Australian story

Part of the world's largest humanitarian movement, Red Cross has been woven into the fabric of Australian life for 100 years - whether it's our immediate response to natural disasters, our blood service, or our everyday work to help vulnerable people.

It's a very exciting time. We want to thank all Australians for their contributions to the first one hundred years of Red Cross, and to build on our strengths - our people - to ensure we continue serving the Australian community for the next 100 years.

There are many community events being planned across the country, and novel ways to commemorate the milestone, including stamps, coins and posters. We will launch a book titled "The Power of Humanity: 100 Years of Red Cross in Australia" on our birthday in August.

We began as the Australian Branch of the British Red Cross Society on 13 August 1914 at Government House, Melbourne, nine days after the outbreak of World War I.

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers signed up during WWI, and by WWII Red Cross had become Australia's largest charitable organisation. From a population of seven million, nearly half a million people were Red Cross members, most of them women.

In our Centenary year we are reaching out to a new generation to forge the next century of humanitarian service to the nation.

In the post-war period Red Cross focussed on social welfare, national emergencies, natural disasters, the blood bank and first aid programs, which were sustained by the extensive branch network and thousands of volunteers.

Over the past decade, Red Cross has built a strong national organisation which is having a positive and lasting impact on disadvantage by forging partnerships in collaboration with local communities.

Today one million Red Cross members, volunteers, donors, staff, blood donors, recipients and supporters make a positive difference to the lives of people in need every day.

The way we work has undergone remarkable transformation over a century, yet our humanitarian principles to help those people most in need, whoever they are and wherever they are, remain the common threads that tie our current everyday work to our past.

From responding to large scale disasters to tackling disadvantage and helping vulnerable children and supporting families facing personal crisis, we have set a strong, clear humanitarian course over 100 years.

Red Cross was founded on an enduring spirit of volunteerism and generosity. We are so grateful to all our supporters - past and present - for your ongoing commitment and belief in the power of humanity. Looking ahead, renewed public support is vital to continue our everyday work.

We live in an increasingly complex world with difficult humanitarian challenges. Red Cross' mission to care for the most vulnerable people here in Australia and across the world has never been more relevant.

In our Centenary year we are reaching out to a new generation to help shape our future, to bring new ideas and energy, to forge the next century of humanitarian service to the nation.

We invite you to become a part of this great Australian story.

Member resources for Centenary 2014 »