End of era for Red Cross

The British Red Cross established a branch in Australia in August 1914, nine days after the start of World War I, by Lady Helen Munro Ferguson, wife of the sixth Governor General of Australia.

There had been interest in the Red Cross movement and patriotic funds in Australia prior to 1914.
Much of the organisation’s history revolves around women and women’s volunteer work.

Within weeks of Lady Fergusons leadership and inspiration, in September and October 1914, the King Island News reported that the King Island Red Cross Society had fundraised and made items destined for overseas.
In 1927 Australia was recognised as a national society in its own right by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Past president of the Australian Red Cross (Tasmanian Division) Karen Taplin delivers the sad news that the branch of closing

Members of the King Island branch of Australian Red Cross (Tasmanian Division) would like to advise our King Island community that the branch has now closed after 82 years of service.

The deliberations and process to formally close the King Island branch have been happening over the past six months.

Our diminishing numbers of active members was the catalyst for the decision.

The impact of COVID -19 restrictions on usual fundraising activities, the primary motivator for our branch, was also an influence.

Our final major raffle, a return airfare kindly donated by Sharp Airlines, was drawn in December, and won by Kim McGregor.

Branch members would like to thank Sharp Airlines for their continued annual support with major raffle sponsorship since they commenced their King Island service.

Our gratitude and appreciation to King Island Airlines who also supported the branch each year for many more years through their sponsorship of return airfares for major raffles.

Our local business community were also generous supporters of our fundraising over the years, heartfelt thanks to them.

Local Red Cross branches prosper under the leadership and dedication of members who contribute significant years of service.

The longevity of the King Island branch is attributed to members who selflessly committed to decades of service, members the likes of the late Mrs Sylvia Ransley, Mrs Joyce Payne and Mrs Dorothy Keating as well as current members – Mrs Margaret Perry, Mrs Mary Ward, Mrs Barbara Lancaster and Mrs Val McGarvie, all recipients of Long Service awards.

These ladies epitomise the principles and values of being a member of Australian Red Cross, we thank them and applaud them for their service!

Last but not least, our members sincerely thank the King Island community who always wholeheartedly supported our fundraising efforts and gave generously every time, we couldn’t have survived 80 plus years without you.

Some of our March Doorknock Appeal collectors on King Island were not branch members but clocked up 30-40 years of annual doorknocking.

King Island Historical Society Museum is the custodian of our branch archives and memorabilia, the history will not be lost to our community.

Though there will no longer be a branch on King Island, Red Cross will still have an active presence through the work of the local team of eight trained emergency service volunteers who are able to be deployed to assist in disaster relief responses.

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