RSPCA commemorates 150 years of caring and protecting across Australia

The RSPCA in Australia has used the occasion of its 150th anniversary to reflect on its proud history and look to the future, with a range of activities and events planned throughout July and the remainder of 2021.

In 1871, a group of colonial Victorians met to discuss their concerns over the welfare of working horses. Now, 150 years on from that first meeting, the RSPCA has grown to be one of Australia’s most recognised, loved and trusted charities. 

The RSPCA in Victoria, the first RSPCA organisation in Australia, commenced the 150th anniversary commemorations this month in honour of that first meeting held in Melbourne.

RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker said, “We can all feel proud of our history, the work we do and what we have achieved. Our 150th anniversary is an opportunity to commemorate this history but also look towards the future. There’s still so much work to be done to improve the lives of animals, whether it’s the animals who come into our care, or those in the community.”

Also this month, the RSPCA in NSW launched Stories Behind the Scars, a three-part online series that offers a window into the lives of the unsung heroes – the inspectors, veterinary staff and the community outreach team – who make RSPCA NSW’s mission a reality every day. 

RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said, “We want to use the 150th anniversary to highlight the extraordinary people who help make our work possible. We have thousands of dedicated staff and volunteers across Australia who make our mission a reality every day. It’s truly a labour of love for all animals great and small, and what better way to highlight our amazing people than the RSPCA’s 150th anniversary.”

RSPCA Australia, the national office of the RSPCA, has been working with a number of iconic Australian brands and institutions on some exciting projects, to be launched over the coming months. They include an animal-themed version of the iconic cake and party food book, in collaboration with The Australian Women’s Weekly; a series of stamps to commemorate the anniversary, in partnership with Australia Post; and a limited-edition series of coins produced by the Royal Australian Mint – all of which will highlight the breadth of the RSPCA’s work. 

RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell said, “We are a nation of people for whom animals hold a special place in our lives. And the RSPCA really holds quite an extraordinary place in the hearts and minds of Australians. It’s an immense privilege to work with such a well-known and well-loved Australian icon.”

“But maintaining that important position doesn’t happen by accident, and so, all of us continue to work every day to raise awareness of serious animal welfare issues, provide that trusted advice to government and the community, and ensure our organisation is strongly positioned to deal with the challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

“The occasion of our 150 years in Australia provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on our incredible and proud history, highlight the breadth and depth of our current work, and also to remind Australians that our job is far from done, and that we face numerous challenges as we look forward to the next 150 years and beyond.”