In 1932, a group of returned servicemen met to form a club that would help Ex-Servicemen and Women from World War One (and their families), who needed practical support. One of those men was Carry On (Victoria)’s founder, Bill Hawkins, who was an officer of the 1st World War when he saw that some of the men that he had commanded were doing it tough. Bill wanted to provide support for these men whether it be by providing a helping hand, a load of firewood, a basket of groceries or just a friendly chat was often enough.  

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.

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 have been many notable activities throughout Carry On (Victoria)’s History. 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). Today Carry On (Victoria) is able to invest in future generations of its community, through initiatives like the Jim Eilenberg scholarship, which was launched in 1991 to cover textbooks and student fees, for tertiary students who are the children of Ex-Servicemen and Women.

Since opening its first regional branch in Mildura in 1934, Carry on (Victoria) has opened 5 more branches across regional Victoria including, Ballarat, Bendigo, Dandenong, Geelong and the Mornington Peninsula, which are all still operating today.

Almost ninety years later, our commitment to humanitarian support, practical help and friendship continue. Today, the need for our services is greater than ever. We help Ex-Servicemen and Women, and their families, get help where they need it most: housing, advocacy, education, relief, and financial support. 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. That’s where we step in.