Australia's first charity celebrates long MNC connection

Bellinger River Memorial Cot. Photo: Contributed
Bellinger River Memorial Cot. Photo: Contributed Trevor Veale

AUSTRALIA's first charity, The Benevolent Society is this week marking its 200th anniversary, and celebrating a long connection with the Mid North Coast.

Benevolent Society CEO Anne Hollonds said records show local fundraising auxiliary groups raised money for hospital beds such as the Bellinger River Memorial Cot.

"We've always had fantastic grassroots support right across NSW," Ms Hollonds said.

"In 1968, we also brought Elvis' gold Cadillac to the region as part of a national fundraising tour, which included stops at Lacey's Garage in Kempsey and Gough's Garage in Nambucca Heads."

"Today, we support children, families and individuals throughout the Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast, running child-friendly activities and programs for local families and putting parents in touch with extra support to manage issues before they reach crisis point through our Family Referral Service 1300 006 480.

"We're also pleased to be bringing the Personal Helpers and Mentors program, the supports people living with mental illness, to the Mid-North Coast."

She said people were encouraged to take part in the 200th anniversary by going online and sharing their Benevolent Society memories.

The Benevolent Society was formed on May 8 in 1813 in the days where the colony was a harsh place for a growing number of destitute children, single mothers, and elderly ex-convicts.

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