Who we are
and how we help

Australian Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian movement.

For 100 years our aim has been to reduce human suffering and improve people’s lives, no matter who they are or where they live. We are a voluntary organisation that is independent of government and holds no political, religious or cultural affiliations.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is a division of Australian Red Cross and is funded entirely by the governments of Australia. It plays a central role in the health systems of our nation.

Our vision

For the past five years, our vision has been to improve the lives of vulnerable people in Australia and internationally by mobilising the power of humanity.

“Red Cross was born from a need to alleviate human suffering in times of armed conflict, and to do this we need a strong international Red Cross Red Crescent Movement of volunteers, members and staff, and we also need a compassionate Australia, concerned with human suffering wherever it may be found.”
Phoebe Wynn-Pope, Red Cross Director of International Humanitarian Law.
Australian Red Cross/Antony Balmain

Our mission

Under Strategy 2015, our mission was to be a leading humanitarian organisation in Australia and to improve the lives of vulnerable people through our programs and the promotion of humanitarian laws and values.

Our principles

Everything we do is guided by seven fundamental principles, shared throughout the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement:

  • Humanity
  • Impartiality
  • Neutrality
  • Independence
  • Voluntary Service
  • Unity
  • Universality

Red Cross people on Tiwi Islands share their local interpretation of our principle of unity. Pointing to each of the main islands making up the Tiwis, they show that no matter the distance separating us, we are all one Australian Red Cross – united in humanity.
Australian Red Cross/Pete Eve

Our story

The International Red Cross Movement was founded in 1859 to bring assistance without discrimination to those wounded in war, and to alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found.

Red Cross was founded in Australia in 1914, nine days after the outbreak of the First World War, to provide humanitarian relief to sick and wounded soldiers and their families.

For a century our mission has been to deliver humanitarian services to vulnerable people in need, both here in Australia and further afield, no matter who they are or how big or small the crisis they face.

Today one million members, volunteers, donors, staff, blood donors and supporters form the Australian Red Cross family.

Our global reach

Australian Red Cross is one of 189 National Societies of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which has protected and supported people for over 150 years.

We work together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to provide international assistance following disasters in non-conflict situations, and with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to protect the lives and dignity of all people in conflict and war.

  • 100 years of providing relief to people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs or political opinions
  • We are impartial, neutral and independent of governments
  • We promote mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace for all
  • Our members and volunteers are the lifeblood of our movement