Red Cross celebrates a centenary | What's on?

AUSTRALIAN Red Cross is celebrating its centenary this year and the Naracoorte branch is getting in on the action.

An event will take place at Naracoorte Football Club from noon on September 3.

There will be memorabilia on display including a wooden first aid box and old uniforms from before World War II, as well as photos and records.

Lunch will be soup and sandwiches before the raffle prizes - including a special Red Cross Rose - are given out.

The keynote speaker will be Melanie Oppenheimer who has written a book especially for the centenary called "Australian Red Cross, The Power of Humanity. 100 Years of Australian Red Cross".

Local branch secretary Barbara Johnson said everyone was invited to come along and help mark the occasion.

"Come for lunch and listen to the speakers if you like," Mrs Johnson said. "We'd love to see a few more people there."

Take a walk down memory lane - Red Cross babies over the years.

The Naracoorte branch of Red Cross was formed on September 21, 1939, when a public meeting was called and Naracoorte mayor Leo DeGaris agreed to be the chair.

Early activities included fundraising, making knitted or sewn garments and providing transport for soldiers.

In 1948 a Naracoorte Junior Red Cross group was formed, operating successfully for 22 years.

A Therapy Group was also set up in the late 1950s providing stimulation for needy clients, and a social day for lonely, elderly clients.

It was active for more than 50 years making quilts, baskets and ceramic ware.

The group was disbanded in 2007 when the Red Cross Centre was sold and client numbers were very low.

Some stalwarts of Red Cross Therapy were Kathleen and Leo DeGaris - who became known as Mr and Mrs Red Cross - as well as Selma Petch and Shirley Mowatt.

The local branch has had an entrant in the annual Red Cross baby competition since 1953 and has had lots of success thanks to community generosity.

Over the years it has supported a myriad of activities including transport, first aid, cosmetic care, hospital visiting, assistance with immunisation, helping at blood collection sessions, baby capsule hire service, and providing library books for hospital patients.

Despite dwindling numbers the branch is still active today.

and focuses on fundraising, transport, assisting with programs to support migrants, and a breakfast club for primary school aged children.

Naracoorte Red Cross branch secretary Barbara Johnson has collected a large amount of memorabilia for a centenary celebration this September.

Naracoorte Red Cross branch secretary Barbara Johnson has collected a large amount of memorabilia for a centenary celebration this September.

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