Youth and Education Services, Australian Red Cross(1914 – )
The Australian Junior Red Cross was founded in New South Wales in August 1918 by Mrs Eleanor MacKinnon, initially with the aim of involving children in the support of recuperating soldiers who were using existing Red Cross facilities, and then extending to concern about the needs of the children of soldiers. Over the years, the Junior Movement’s aims have evolved to focus on the development of an humanitarian ethos amongst young people, through education programs, and activities that encourage active citizenship and community participation.
First Aid, Health and Safety Services, Australian Red Cross(1914 – )
Australia’s largest provider of first aid services was the initiative of a woman. In 1914, Lady Helen Munro Ferguson appealed to women and men with first aid and nursing training to enrol in voluntary first aid detachments. The service has steadily developed to become not only an important dispenser of first aid, but a major provider of first aid training. Women have played an important leadership role in the service since its inception.
Disaster and Emergency Services, Australian Red Cross
The Australian Red Cross has given special emphasis to Disaster and Emergency Services as part of the larger role of the Red Cross in caring for victims of natural disasters, conflict and human tragedies. The Australian Red Cross took up this role as a philanthropic organisation already able to operate within the armed forces and within State disaster plans. In the main, disaster and emergency services have largely been a State-based function of the Australian Red Cross, with national coordination developing over time. Their disaster preparation and response strongly involves local branches and communities, with women providing much of the ground support and assistance, such as catering and registration, and increasingly management for the Australian Red Cross.
International Humanitarian Law, Australian Red Cross
As the International Committee of the Red Cross has been the ‘guardian’ of the Geneva Conventions on armed warfare, International Humanitarian Law is the basis of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. As a result, Australian Red Cross national Presidents and other leading women, such as Philadelphia Robertson, have been prominent in this field and in international conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.
International programs, Australian Red Cross
International development programs and aid are a core function of the national office of the Australian Red Cross. Funds were initially donated to the Red Cross Society in the nation affected by disaster, as in the Japanese earthquake of 1923. From the 1970s, the national office of the Australian Red Cross has directly appealed for, and received, funds to assist in major international operations. The Australian Red Cross Field Force of overseas workers provided relief in the field during World War II into the 1970s. In many respects, these were the forerunners of Australian Red Cross delegates, who provide specialist skills for international programs, development and assignments by Red Cross Societies. Some of these delegates come under the International Committee of the Red Cross, others under the Federation, and some under the Australian Red Cross, depending upon the project. In 2004, the International Department of Australian Red Cross had specific desks for the areas, such as the Asia-Pacific, which serve as contact points for development programs. The Australian Red Cross’s Strategy 2005 aimed to provide high quality international humanitarian assistance and development programs in partnership with governments, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and vulnerable communities.
Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme, Australian Red Cross Victoria
Operated by Australian Red Cross Victoria since 1993 and funded by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme provides services to asylum seekers who have cleared immigration and remain lawfully in the community while their application for refugee status is being processed.
In Victoria, caseworkers work with asylum seekers in the community providing the following support:
• Crisis intervention and needs assessment
• Administration of some emergency relief and financial assistance
• Access to health care and pharmaceutical programs
• Referral to other agencies (legal, medical, specialist counselling, social, education, material-aid, housing)
General casework support and advocacy
Community Programs, Australian Red Cross Victoria
Many community programs grew from the hospital services – Volunteer Motor Corps (now Transport Services), Home Hospitals, Rest Homes and Amelioration – of World War I. From 1927, the Red Cross Auxiliaries became a chief peace-time activity of the Victorian Division. In World War II, remedial activities became known as Rehabilitation, and a Welfare Committee arose. Welfare then became associated with Social Work, which mainly focused on soldiers until the 1970s, when it turned to disadvantaged groups. In the 1980s, Hospital and Community Services encompassed many of these activities. In 1995, this area became more specialised, becoming Community Programs in 2002.
Emergency Services, Australian Red Cross Victoria
In the 1920s, the Victorian Division increasingly moved into civil emergencies, such as bush fire relief, floods and the influenza epidemic, using pre-existing services such as the Volunteer Motor Corps. Having served in World War I, plans were also made for the Voluntary Aid Detachments to come under the Australian Defence Department in the event of war or national emergency. Around 1928, the Victorian Council appointed a specific Sub-Committee for emergency and relief work, and bushfire assistance was given to Tasmania. In the Depression, the Victorian Division assisted in State Relief, and branches offered support. The Division’s emergency response is planned in advance and co-ordinated with the Victorian authorities, particularly the State Emergency Service.
First Aid, Australian Red Cross Victoria
First aid training, a core activity of Australian Red Cross, is largely a State activity. In World War I, Australian women were encouraged to enrol people with first aid certificates in Voluntary Aid Detachments. By the 1960s, Victoria had an education program in the area, which was covered, in the 1980s, by Health and Safety Education. Emergency first aid is included in Emergency Services. In 2004, accredited first aid courses were provided at an individual and industry level, with specialised training including critical incident simulations, and Red Cross continuing to sell First Aid kits.
Fundraising, Australian Red Cross Victoria
Fundraising was initially the main function of the Victorian branch, with appeals launched by the President and undertaken through Committees and branches. Initially, funds were administered by the Australian Branch. Their Central Depot became the first collection and distribution point, although Victoria was also empowered to appoint a depot for contributions. Fundraising has gradually become more specialised, with Committees focused on the hallmark Red Cross Calling, the Murray Marathon since 1969, and a Desperate & Dateless ball for over ten years. Retail has expanded from Card & Gift Shops, to ‘Been Around Before’ stores and merchandise campaigns, while corporate sponsors, are emphasised and bequests, foundations and trusts have expanded.
Tracing and Refugee Services, Australian Red Cross Victoria
The Tracing and Refugee Services Department endeavour to locate, reunite and support families separated by war, conflict and disaster. In Australia, it is related to the Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau of 1915, focused largely on war service personnel until it was found useful in post-World War II migration. In 1994, Tracing and Refugees became a core service for expansion, including a Volunteer Settlement Support Group and the Young Refugees Project. The service now includes family Tracing and Red Cross Messages, Health and welfare Reports from family overseas, Family Re-union, the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Program and urgent Disaster inquiries.
Although the battle for woman suffrage began later in Australia than it did in Britain or the United States, success was achieved earlier. Concerted campaigns for woman suffrage in Australia date from the early 1880s and were supported by organisations and individuals representing a wide array of political and ideological platforms. In some ways, these campaigns signalled the start of women’s participation in the Australian political process. Although linked to and inspired by the international campaigns and context of the time, the Australian suffrage movement had its own distinctive, regional characteristics. Matters of race and class, of geographical proximity to Asia and the need to build a healthy white nation at the turn of the century, combined with universal concerns about justice and the rights of the individual to create a uniquely Australian movement.