Kennington Red Cross to celebrate century: PICTURES

The Kennington Red Cross will celebrate 100 years of service and launch a book about its history next month. 

Formed four days after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the group believes their Red Cross chapter was the first established in Australia.

Over its long history, the Kennington-based charity has tirelessly sewed, knitted, baked and raised funds for soldiers at war and other worthy causes.

More recently funds raised have gone to victims of the typhoon in the Philippines and flood-affected residents in Charlton.

Today the group has 17 members and is proud of its history.

President Heather Roberts joined at the age of 32 in 1966. She has seen a lot of changes in the organisation though the key values of working to improve health and reduce suffering have remained.

She remembers being the youngest member in the Kennington Red Cross when she first walked through its doors.

"I turned up at the meeting and all the members were much older than me. They thought I’d fallen from heaven," Mrs Roberts said.

She had grown up knitting socks and hats for soldiers at war and was keen to put her nursing training and caring nature to good use.

She is nostalgic about Red Cross fundraising events of yesteryear when the group was known for its jams and baked goods.

She said the group's capacity to sell food had been curbed when stricter food regulations were introduced a couple of decades ago.

She still remembers the fantastic lamingtons they used to make during the 1970s until another charity group started copying them. 

Male members have always been a rarity although there is no rule against men joining.

Mrs Roberts joked the only criteria for any man who wished to join was that he wear a felt hat like the gentlemen of years ago.

Treasurer Judith McCarthy has led the effort to collate the history of the Kennington Red Cross, which has been compiled into a book titled, One Hundred Years of Service. 

The book will be on sale for $15 at the 100th anniversary celebrations attended by mayor Barry Lyons and Red Cross members and their families on 6th August at St Andrew's Hall in Bendigo.

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