THIS month The Salvation Army celebrates 140 years in Australia by paying tribute to the Aussie public’s incredible support, generosity and volunteering.
In September 1880, John Gore and Edward Saunders held the first unofficial meeting of The Salvos in Australia, speaking to a group of people in Adelaide’s Botanic Park.
At the end of the meeting, Gore famously said, “If there’s a man here who hasn’t had a square meal today, let him come home to tea with me,” foreshadowing the millions of acts of service from The Salvos to the Australian public in the years to come.
Now the Salvos are reflecting on the estimated five million volunteers who have helped them support the most vulnerable in society over the past 140 years.
“Whether you have donated, volunteered or helped in any way, The Salvos wouldn’t be able to do what we do, without your ongoing championing of our work and cause,” said major Bruce Harmer, The Salvo’s national PR secretary.
The Salvation Army don’t shirk the tough jobs and have been on the frontline helping Aussies provide food and support to service personnel in both World Wars, giving emergency relief during countless disasters, and providing emotional and spiritual support to those in need.
One of the Salvo’s most memorable members was William ‘Fighting Mac’ Mackenzie, a salvation army chaplain who was deployed to the frontline in World War I in 1914.
Chaplain to the first infantry brigade, Fighting Mac went ashore with the troops at Gallipoli.
In one three-day period, he conducted 647 funerals and after one funeral service he found three bullet holes in his hat.
He was later awarded a military cross for his work, an honour virtually unheard of for a military chaplain.