Our humanitarian movement

We are more than 2,300 staff, 20,700 volunteers, 19,600 members, 460,000 blood donors and 3,500 Blood Service staff, working from more than 460 sites.

We help more than 15 Red Cross and Red Crescent sister societies with the support of around 210,100 generous donors.

Together we are part of a global movement of humanitarians in 190 countries. We all believe in seven fundamental principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

Our story: there for people in need, no matter who you are or where you live

The Red Cross story started with one man on a battlefield and grew to involve millions of women, men and children across the world. When Swiss man Henry Dunant witnessed the 1859 Battle of Solferino in Italy, he was horrified by the sight of 40,000 people left dead or dying. He organised local people to treat the soldiers’ wounds, feed and comfort them, regardless of which side they were on. Dunant was inspired to form an international society which became Red Cross and pointed the way to the Geneva Conventions.

Australian Red Cross was formed in 1914 by a group of women determined to provide humanitarian relief at the outbreak of another conflict – the First World War. We reached peak membership during World War II, when around 450,000 Australians of all beliefs and backgrounds joined together to care for those affected by the war.

For over a century, people in Australia have found support and solace in Red Cross – during emergencies, in personal crises, and through ongoing hardship. We build partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, help the elderly and marginalised make life-changing social connections, and support vulnerable migrants to find their feet. With our recent introduction of revised goals under Strategy 2020, we are gearing up to help people in more ways and make a greater difference to people’s lives. And we do so with unwavering respect for seven fundamental principles, shared throughout the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.

The Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service was formed in 1929 in Victoria. In 1996, each regional blood bank came together to form one united Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Now we collect well over a million blood donations each year and are at the leading edge of worldwide medical research. Find out more about the Blood Service at donateblood.com.au.