What we do


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.

This year


2021 marked the 150th anniversary of the RSPCA in Australia. For us, it meant a chance to reflect on our great breadth of work and the extraordinary people who make it possible.

National Partnerships

We were proud to work 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.

150 Years of RSPCA Victoria

It all began 150 years ago in Victoria – see how Australia’s oldest RSPCA commemorated this amazing milestone.

Explore the history of the RSPCA



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 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.