It’s been 90 years since Bill Hawkins’s legacy was establihed, for Carry On to provide support for those who were doing it tough by providing housing, advocacy, education, relief, and financial support. Ninety years of compassion and service.  

 Today our commitment to humanitarian support, practical help, and friendship continues as the need for our services is greater than ever. Many who have served our country with distinction find it difficult to adjust to civilian life without support from the government or other welfare agencies. We step in help to Ex-Servicemen and Women, and their families, get help where they need it most and when they need it.

 

Bill Hawkins and his merry men

There have been many notable activities throughout Carry On’s History. The organisation was founded in 1932, by a group of returned servicemen, one of whom was Bill Hawkins. Bill was an officer of the 1st World War and on seeing that some of the men he had commanded were doing it tough, felt compelled to act. He and some other returned servicemen met to form a club that would help veterans from World War One (and their families), who needed practical support. Their plan was for the organisation to provide support for these veterans - whether it be by providing a helping hand, a load of firewood, a basket of groceries or just a friendly chat was often enough.  

 

A humanitarian approach

The group outlined a set of objectives that were precise and clear and, as outlined by Bill Hawkins, took a humanitarian approach to problems that arose from the trauma and displacement many veterans experienced. Through the establishment of the club, an all-important camaraderie among members could be sustained and the idea of Lest We Forget, put into practical effect for more than just one or two days each year. Carry On (Victoria) would help with and contribute to worthy causes when possible, maintain a unity of purpose without politics, and function with a clear-cut financial structure, that had no cumbersome administration. 

Another war, but the work continues

This small group of servicemen, led by Bill Hawkins, were determined to help the many veterans and their families doing it tough after returning home from service. Little did they know just how much their help would be needed as yet another war broke out. During the Second World War Carry On (Victoria) was active in its local communities, raising funds and assisting in the war effort with various programs including appeals for bombing victims in Britain and Greece.

There were some other notable activities also worth mentioning. The opening of the Hurlingham Boys home in 1945, provided support over a twenty-year period for around 120 boys, who were the troubled sons of Ex-Servicemen and Women. The establishment of Tracy Dutton House in the mid to late 60’s, provided much needed temporary care and schooling for the children of Ex-Servicemen and Women on an as-need basis. The Ladies Auxiliary was created in 1966 and over its 30 years of service, raised over $35,000 for Carry On (Victoria).

 

Thriving towards a century

Since opening its first regional branch in Mildura in 1934, Carry On (Victoria)’s 90 years of compassion and service is evident in its achievements. We’ve opened 5 more branches across regional Victoria including, Ballarat, Bendigo, Dandenong, Geelong and the Mornington Peninsula, which are all still operating today. We provide housing support in the form of properties across Victoria in regional hubs that provide secure, affordable, long-term rental housing for Veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness and/or financial hardship. We also provide temporary emergency housing for Veterans and their families who are vulnerable to experiencing homelessness. We’ve opened two social enterprises in regional Victoria - the Carry On Café in Morwell and the Hastings Op Shop and Veterans Centre which provide invaluable places in the community for veterans to spend time together, and also raise funds to continue our work.

 

A new direction

To secure our legacy for another 90 years of compassion and service (and beyond), Carry On (Victoria) underwent a rebrand in 2022 to become simply ‘Carry On’. This shift enables us to deliver our services Australia wide and reinforce our mission with a new tagline ‘Every veteran matters’. Our new branding is aligned with the ADF’s colour scheme and our logo – 3 chevrons tilted to the side to form an arrow - speaks to Carry On’s values of hope and purpose while symbolising we are moving forward. The chevrons are also of course a nod to defence history.

 

Whilst we look a bit different on the outside and are growing in new and exciting directions, at the core we are still the Carry On you can count on – an organisation that is supporting Veterans in financial hardship with emergency housing and financial assistance so they can get back on their feet.