Our humanitarian movement

Red Cross mobilises the Power of Humanity – the powerful action of people helping people that can make a real difference to those overcoming tough times.

We save lives and support people before and after disasters strike. We work to alleviate suffering during wars and conflict and promote humanitarian laws and values.

We are bound by our Fundamental Principles of Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary service, Unity and Universality.

We are 2,175 staff, almost 20,000 volunteers, 17,486 members, 461,268 blood donors and 3,428 Blood Service staff, working from more than 465 sites.

We partner with international Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in areas as diverse as health and disaster risk management. Together we are part of a global movement of humanitarian organisations in 190 countries.

Volunteer driving instructors Les (left) and David, with our Nowra Learner Driver Program who teach not only driving skills but life skills.
Australian Red Cross/Dilini Perera

Our story

The Red Cross story started with one man on a battlefield and evolved into an international movement. When Swiss banker Henry Dunant witnessed the devastation of the 1859 Battle of Solferino in Italy, he organised local people to tend to the soldiers, regardless of nationality or allegiance. Dunant was inspired to form an international society which became Red Cross and pointed the way to the Geneva Conventions – the laws of war.

Australian Red Cross was formed in 1914 and, for more than a century, people have turned to us during emergencies, in personal crises and through ongoing hardships. We build partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, help the elderly and marginalised make life-changing social connections and support vulnerable migrants.

Through our Strategy 2020, we aim to help more people in more ways and make a greater difference.