150 years on from that first meeting in 1871 to discuss the welfare of horses, the RSPCA has grown to be one of Australia’s most loved, trusted and recognised charities.
2021 is the 150th anniversary of the RSPCA in Australia. It’s a chance for us to reflect on our great breadth of work, and the extraordinary people who make it possible.
We’re working with some valuable partners – including some iconic Australian brands – to help commemorate 150 years.
Stories Behind the Scars
A window into the lives of the people who make the RSPCA’s mission a reality every day, produced by RSPCA NSW.
First RSPCA forms
The first RSPCA forms in London.
SPCA formed in Victoria
Following a public meeting to discuss the welfare of horses, a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was formed in Victoria with just a handful of members. Its first President is prominent Australian, and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sir William Foster Stawell.
SPCA NSW forms
SPCA NSW forms following a significant public push for a welfare organisation. The Society’s first president is a former Chief Justice of NSW.
SPCA formed in SA
SPCA South Australia forms in Adelaide and is the collaborative effort of politicians, public officials and members of Christian and Jewish religious groups.
SPCA formed in Tasmania
SPCA Tasmania is formed by a group of concerned citizens who call themselves ‘animal protectionists’
SPCA Queensland re-opens
SPCA Queensland had an initial inception in 1876. It folded but re-opened with greater support in 1883.
SPCA WA is formed
SPCA Western Australia is formed by an all-women's reading group, with the initiative led by female teacher, Miss Best.
SPCA becomes RSPCA
The royal imprimatur is bestowed on SPCA WA by King George V - the first society outside the United Kingdom to have this honour. In coming decades, other states will follow.
RSPCA ACT forms
RSPCA ACT forms.
RSPCA NT is formed
RSPCA Northern Territory forms.
Meeting of all Societies
An informal meeting of all Societies takes place in Melbourne. From this, Societies agree to meet once every two years, on a rotational basis, to discuss mutual problems. Despite this, the occurrence of meetings comes down to the enthusiasm of the host Society.
RSPCA Australia takes shape
The eight RSPCA Societies meet in Melbourne and agree unanimously to form a properly constituted national Society, to speak with one voice of policy matters and to offer advice to the Federal Government on national animal welfare issues.
First meeting of RSPCA Australia
Following this, the first meeting of RSPCA Australia is held, formally constituted in the ACT under the requirements of the then Companies Act. The foundation membership of RSPCA Australia is limited to the existing eight RSPCA Societies, being ACT, Victoria, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.
Approved Farming Scheme begins
The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme is established, Australia’s leading independent certification scheme focused on animal welfare.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition starts support
Hill’s Pet Nutrition begins supporting the RSPCA by feeding dogs and cats.
RSPCA Darwin replaces NT
RSPCA Darwin Regional Branch applies and is accepted as a member Society of RSPCA Australia, to replace RSPCA NT.
RSPCA Pet Insurance is formed
RSPCA Pet Insurance forms.
150 Years of RSPCA
The RSPCA commemorates its 150th anniversary.