Australian Red Cross staff and volunteers have said goodbye to their Cairns base of 50 years. The Red Cross shop, offices and accommodation centre have long been a local land-mark on Lake Street, round behind the hospital, a short walk to town.
The Red Cross has been active in FNQ since the days of the First World War. Volunteers raised the funds to buy the house that became the first Red Cross HQ, a bit further down Lake St, in 1961. They remember a lot of cake sales, and some very generous supporters. The current site, across from the Cairns Base Hospital, opened in a couple of years later.
It’s been the Red Cross regional head office, a training centre, and a magnet for bargain hunters — with the Red Cross shop on-site. And it has an accommodation centre, providing beds for people transiting in and out of Cairns Base Hospital, most of them from remote areas of Cape York Peninsula.
On Friday November 25, staff and volunteers gathered to farewell the Lake St building. It’s to be knocked down, and a new centre will be built there over the next 18 months. It was a day for remembering the past and looking forward to the future.
Listen to staff and volunteers talk about life with the local Red Cross.