Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King today joined members of the Ballan Branch of the Australian Red Cross to celebrate the centenary of the branch.
“On this day 100 years ago a group of local women met in the Ballan Mechanics’ Hall to establish a local branch of the Red Cross Society,” Ms King said.
“Following the establishment of the Australian chapter just a week earlier, the Red Cross movement saw 1,000s of women stepping up to assist the war effort and through their efforts the role of women in Australian society was changed forever.
“The Ballan branch set off at a feverish pace in August 1914 – meeting regularly to raise funds, to collect donations from the community, and to make clothing to assist our soldiers in the Great War.
“This momentum has continued for a century with the Ballan branch one of just 24 foundation branches in Victoria to remain in continuous service since their inception.
“For 100 years the Australian Red Cross has underpinned our volunteer sector and our community.
“The Red Cross organisation represents many things to many people.
“As the largest humanitarian organisation in Australia, the Red Cross has a major role in continuing to alleviate suffering around the world.
“Red Cross disaster relief programs have become critical in assisting Australian communities in crisis during periods of fire and flood.
“The Australian Red Cross Blood Service forms an essential part of our health system.
“Without the generosity of donors, our hospitals and health system could not provide the vital, life-saving services Australians depend on.
“The first 100 years have delivered a remarkable record of achievement in our community.
“Without the volunteers – none of it would have been possible. I wish the Ballan branch the very best for the next 100 years.”