timeline

1914
Aug 13 1914 Australian branch of the British Red Cross Society is formed at Government House, Melbourne, nine days after the outbreak of World War I
Founder Lady Helen Munro Ferguson
1915 Formation of the Wounded & Missing Enquiry Bureau and a national scheme for Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs)
Jul 1916 Prisoner of War Department begins tracing missing soldiers and providing information to families
1917 Comforts for the troops
Christmas comforts package sent to soldiers at the front and prisoners of war
1918 Junior Red Cross formally established in Australia, building on earlier efforts in NSW
1919 War ends. The League of Red Cross Societies is formed in Paris
League directors from Britain, France, the US, Italy and Japan
19 Contributed Stories
1920
1920 As soldiers return home, their repatriation becomes the priority for Red Cross.
1920 Foundation President, Lady Helen Munro Ferguson, leaves Australia. Appointed Australia’s representative on the Board of Governors of the League of Red Cross Societies
1921 First Roll Call
After the war, a national roll call was held to determine how many volunteers were still active. The answer: more than 20,000
1926 VADs formally recognised as a technical reserve of the Army Medical Corps
1927 Australia recognised as a national society in its own right by the International Committee of the Red Cross
1929 Beginning of Blood Transfusion Service in Victoria
Founder Dr Lucy Bryce
8 Contributed Stories
1930
1931 British Red Cross declares 12 May, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, as Red Cross Day
1933 Serving the community
The Red Cross Auxiliary at Perth Hospital ran a profitable Tuck Shop raising funds for hospital equipment and other community needs
Sep 1939 Outbreak of World War II
11 Contributed Stories
1940
1940 Blood services
VADs assisting at the Army Serum Unit, Melbourne
1940 Bureaux for Wounded, Missing and Prisoners of War established in each State
1941 VADs called up for overseas service to the Middle East
VADs at the 2/6 Australian General Hospital, Gaza, Egypt
1941 Australian Red Cross Society incorporated by Royal Charter
1941 Australian Red Cross Social Welfare Services expands with its social workers deployed in all Australian General Hospitals
VADs attached to the 111 AGH in Campbell Town, Tasmania
Feb 15 1942 Fall of Singapore. PoWs now become Australian Red Cross’ number one priority. Over £4.4 million raised by POW Fund
1943 World War II
A poster designed by Edith Grieve
1944 International Committee of the Red Cross awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Palais du Conseil Général, the Central Prisoners of War Agency, Geneva, Switzerland
1944 Australian Red Cross membership reaches around 450,000
Aug 15 1945 War ends. Australian Red Cross focuses on peacetime work including rehabilitation, disaster relief and Junior Red Cross
Children of ex-servicemen arrive at a holiday camp in Tasmania
1948 Australia’s first mobile blood donation unit – an adapted train carriage – makes maiden journey to Donnybrook in WA
Aug 12 1949 The four Geneva Conventions protect the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field; wounded, sick and shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea; prisoners of war; and civilians in times of war
55 Contributed Stories
1950
1950 Major floods affect the Hunter and Northern Rivers districts in NSW
Mrs Elphinstone from Queensland Red Cross packing relief parcels
1950 Australian Red Cross Field Force in Japan with British Commonwealth Occupying Force (BCOF) and assisting with Korean War  
1953 Migrant support
Red Cross workers with ‘new Australians’ at Bonegilla Migrant Centre, near Albury, NSW
1955 Commonwealth government assists State governments with funding for Red Cross Blood Transfusion Services  
Feb 1955 Worst floods on record devastate NSW with state emergency declared. Red Cross VADs are deployed
1958 Australian government ratifies four Geneva Conventions
18 Contributed Stories
1960
1960 First ‘test’ plastic blood packs used in Australia. Glass bottles replaced during following decade
1964 Australian Red Cross celebrates 50 years
1964 Malayan Emergency
Field Force officer Win Skelly
1965 XXth International Conference, Vienna. Seven fundamental principles are finalised
1965 Creation of Henry Dunant Medal, idea of Australian member Lady Gallaghan  
Feb 1967 Black Tuesday bushfires in Tasmania
1969 Vietnam War
Field Force officer Rosemary McLaughlin at the 1st Australian Field Hospital, Vung Tau, South Vietnam
29 Contributed Stories
1970
1970 Blood screened for Hepatitis B in Australia  
Dec 1974 Cyclone Tracy destroys Darwin, NT
A Red Cross worker listens to a family in their home destroyed by the cyclone
1976 National Council endorses four new principles for Australian Red Cross including ‘one Red Cross’
1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Convention to provide protection to victims of armed conflict  
31 Contributed Stories
1980
Feb 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia
Registration at the Welfare Assembly Centre, South Australia
1985 Blood donated in Australia now screened for HIV
1985 Junior Red Cross
Wearing vintage Red Cross uniforms at Warana, Queensland
1989 75th anniversary of Australian Red Cross and 125th anniversary of ICRC
1989 National Youth Camp held to refocus on youth
22 Contributed Stories
1990
1991 The League becomes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
1991 Australian government ratifies 1977 Additional Protocols
1991 Appointment of International Humanitarian Law divisional officers through funding from Attorney-General’s Department
1993 Australian Red Cross begins working with Federal government on Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme
1996 Formation of Australian Red Cross Blood Service from consolidation of eight-Divisional based blood services
1998 A family reunion
Somali refugees from Kenya are reunited, facilitated by Red Cross tracing services
1999 Australian Red Cross adopts the Red Cross Movement’s millennium slogan, ‘The Power of Humanity’
17 Contributed Stories
2000
2002 Blood Service
Helicopter pilot David Jones, from Sydney radio station 2UE, transports blood supplies
2002 Bali bombing. Australian Red Cross launches Bali Appeal, raises $15 million
2004 Asian earthquake and tsunami devastate Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka & Maldives. Australian Red Cross responds, delegates are deployed and Disaster Relief Appeal raises $108.5 million  
2008 Leucodepletion and 100% bacterial contamination screening introduced to Australian Red Cross Blood Service
2008 Ways of Working model identifies seven priority areas for Australian Red Cross
2009 Black Saturday bushfires. Red Cross involved with Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund that raises more than $379 million
24 Contributed Stories
2010
2010 Revised Royal Charter and Rules approved by Governor General
2011 Australian Red Cross’ Target Nuclear Weapons campaign, with resolution adopted by governing body of IRCRC movement
2011 Victorian floods
Registration desk at the Cohuna Emergency Relief Centre
2011 Queensland floods
2013 Australian Red Cross hosts the XIXth General Assembly of the International Red Cross Red Crescent in Sydney representing 188 National Societies and the Council of Delegates
Nov 17 2013 General Assembly of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, Sydney. Volunteers form the emblems on the steps of the Sydney Opera House
33 Contributed Stories
2014
2014 Australian Red Cross celebrates its Centenary