Two hundred years of helping the needy

Two hundred years of helping the needy

The City of Sydney and Lord Mayor Clover Moore congratulates Australia’s oldest charity – The Benevolent Society – on providing two centuries of support to those in need.

The Benevolent Society was established on 8 May 1813 to fight for the rights of, and give voice to, everyday Australians in need. The Society’s first patron was Governor Lachlan Macquarie, and the City of Sydney has lent its ongoing support for the last 150 years.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the society is celebrating its 200th birthday in the knowledge that its services are as important today as they’ve ever been.

“I congratulate The Benevolent Society on 200 years of care and leadership in building strong and inclusive communities, and am delighted the City is supporting them further with venues for their birthday celebrations,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The Benevolent Society has been an anchor for people in times of hardship and has played a part in shaping Australia as we know it fighting for the abolition of child labour, free maternity care, legal aid and government welfare payments. It’s hard to imagine modern Sydney without the society’s involvement.”

The Benevolent Society’s CEO, Anne Hollonds, said, “Our story is really Sydney’s story. Our archives are full of photographs, stories and documents that paint a picture of the changing face of Sydney – and the changing social issues Australians have faced – over the past 200 years.

“This milestone is not just a chance to look back, it’s a reminder to take stock and look at the future we want 200 years from today. Our experience tells us we should be investing much earlier to prevent social problems in the future.

“As a charity, we’ve relied on the support and goodwill of the community to achieve this remarkable milestone, and we’d like to thank the City of Sydney and Australians across the nation for their ongoing generosity and support.”

A free public event at Martin Place on 8 May will showcase the society’s Taste Mobile Kitchen – a 6.5-tonne shipping container used to break down cultural barriers and increase community cohesion in south west Sydney. As a social enterprise, the income from Taste Mobile Kitchen goes towards its community activities.

My Kitchen Rules celebrity chefs will be using the mobile kitchen for cooking demonstrations from 7am to 9am at Martin Place.


For more information, contact City of Sydney Media Adviser Jo Wathen on 0467 810 160 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin on 0477 310 149 or email