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‘Grey skies’ and Melbourne cold fail to dampen warmth of appeal launch

Eddie McGuire and Major Brendan Nottle with Shieldy at the Melbourne Red Shield Appeal Launch. Photo courtesy Miriam Gluyas



“The Salvos have a saying ‘believe in good’, and I want you to know that you have changed my life, my daughter’s life – through your goodness and generosity,” the testimonial speaker at the Melbourne Red Shield Appeal launch told the crowd.

The launch was held at the Sofitel on Collins Street on Thursday 9 May, with a lunch hosted by Channel 9 presenters Christine Ahern and Clint Stanaway and featuring entertainment from musicians Julian Steel and Isadora Lauritz.

Master of Ceremonies Christine Ahearn and Clint Stanaway at the Melbourne Red Shield Appeal Launch. Courtesy Bernard Wright Photography

Testimonial speaker Jasmine told how, after living in fear of violence with her young daughter, through the help of The Salvation Army, she managed to gain stable accommodation, financial and legal advice and special gifts and experiences for her daughter.

“Watching my daughter be able to play and participate in normal kid activities really gave me hope that we had a brighter future away from violence,” Jasmine said. “Having people go out of their way to do this for us gave me hope there were still good people in the world that I could trust.”

Jasmine told the crowd how, after receiving a scholarship from Transurban to study financial counselling, she was now working with those experiencing financial hardship, including other women and children fleeing violence. She was also working as a lived experience expert and was on a working group seeking to improve legal support for those going through the court system.

“Please know that your care does change lives, and please continue to believe in good,” she said. “Light can overcome darkness. Together, let’s continue to shine that light of goodness for those in greatest need.”

The butterfly effect

The event, attended by 400 delegates, corporate sponsors, politicians and philanthropists, also featured a Q&A with radio and television personality Eddie McGuire and Project 614 Team Leader Major Brendan Nottle. The pair talked about their work in launching the Magpie Nest Housing Program through Eddie’s position as former president of the Collingwood Football Club.

Eddie McGuire thanked the crowd for coming and giving their time despite “grey skies” both climactically and spiritually in the form of a looming Federal Budget and increasing numbers of women killed by domestic violence in Australia.

“Particularly in the current climate … to have this amount of people here giving up their time, can I just ask you to give yourselves a round of applause,” Eddie said.

Eddie McGuire and Major Brendan Nottle in conversation at the Melbourne Red Shield Appeal Launch. Courtesy Bernard Wright Photography

Eddie told of his upbringing in a housing commission house in Broadmeadows as a child of migrants from Scotland and Ireland who “always felt like somebody from overseas”. He told of watching family violence occurring next door while feeling the contrasting love and support offered to him by his own parents.

He spoke about building a partnership with Brendan Nottle to establish both the Magpie Nest and hosting yearly Christmas dinners at the AIA Centre for around 600 people from the local Collingwood community.

Eddie told the crowd never to underestimate the power of what they could do and the “butterfly effect” of what would happen when they helped someone out. He told Brendan that the partnership between The Salvation Army and the Collingwood Football Club caused the club to develop a broader view of the community.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that the success of the Collingwood Football Club in its current incarnation is directly associated with the goodwill and also the development of ideas in commonality of spirit that was manifest through our connection with you and The Salvation Army,” he said.

Wurundjeri man Alex Kerr gave the Welcome to Country, thanking The Salvation Army for assisting his family after his father’s death at a young age. He told the crowd that if they were ever thinking about giving to the Salvation Army’s work, they could be reassured that the donations really did reach those who needed it most.

“Without that support and guidance from The Salvation Army, I just wouldn't be able to be here today essentially,” he said.

Salvos mandate

The Divisional Commander for Victoria, Colonel Kelvin Merrett, gave the opening remarks, thanking those who gave to The Salvation Army and reassuring the crowd that their support was never taken for granted. He said that in a historical sense, the person of Jesus Christ was incredibly radical.

“He challenged the status quo of society,” Kelvin said. “He challenged the establishments; he challenged the religion of the day. And those who have been cast out by society and by families he embraced and said actually, we need to care for these folk. We need to love and support them as family members.”

“And that’s a mandate that The Salvation Army has.”

Victorian Minister for Housing, Water and Equality, the Honourable Harriet Shing, Member for Eastern Victoria, confirmed in her address that the Victorian Government would donate $150,000 to the 2024 Red Shield Appeal.

The Honourable Harriet Shing, Victorian Minister for Housing, Water and Equality, speaking at the Melbourne Red Shield Appeal Launch on 9 May. Courtesy Bernard Wright Photography

Harriet said she spent many years volunteering in Red Shield Appeals and carried what she had learned from that work into her current role. She also honoured those who gave their time to the work of The Salvation Army.

“I’m determined to make sure that work I do in my position continues my tin-shaking efforts from the mid-90s, where I stood in traffic and begged people for money,” she said. “And then, when I participated in doorknocks over the years, one of the things that struck me was the generosity and the care provided by others, not just those who answered their doors. It’s about the volunteers. It’s about the people who give time and effort and energy and passion to make sure that in doing more we can help others to do better.”

Eva Burrows Award

Territorial Commander Commissioner Miriam Gluyas presented The Eva Burrows Award to Keith Fagg OAM, former Geelong Mayor and Salvation Army Geelong Advisory Board Chair since 2015.

The Eva Burrows Award is a prestigious award that recognises an individual’s outstanding contribution and extraordinary service to The Salvation Army in the Australian community.

Commissioner Miriam Gluyas and Colonel Kelvin Merrett with Eva Burrows Award recipient Keith Fagg OAM.

“The stories we’ve heard today reflect the way The Salvation Army works at the very front line when many other organisations will stand back and not actually get their hands dirty with what needs to be done to support the most underprivileged people in our community,” Keith said.

“So, I feel very honoured and humbled to receive this award.”

Chief Secretary Colonel Winsome Merrett closed the event by thanking the crowd for their support during very challenging times when people’s experiences of hardship and injustice were increasing every day.

“We want to assure you that we can not only provide a path out of crisis, but we are a way towards a new beginning, and we're in there for the long haul,” she said.


Kirralee Nicolle covered the launch for Salvos Online to file this report, but it was an experience on the train home involving the desperate plight of a young family that brought her to tears. Read her reflections on this experience and how The Salvation Army, through the Red Shield Appeal campaign, can bring hope to people in need. Go to:


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