Supporting the settlement of refugees in our National Capital.

Upcoming CRS and CRS supported events

Annual Virtual Fundraising Dinner – 2020

The job losses and stressors caused by COVID-19 mean the families we support need us more than ever. However the pandemic has forced us to cancel our biggest fundraising event of the year. This year we are doing things a bit differently…We hope that we can rely on the generosity you have shown us in previous years.


Click here to download the flyer : CRS Virtual Dinner Flyer

Information Sessions – 2020

We hold regular information sessions, usually 1-2 hours, to explain the work of CRS and to introduce new and/or potential members to the organisation.  We are currently holding these sessions every few weeks remotely (via Zoom). Please email us to request the next date:

Committee Meetings – 2020

  • 11 November

Please email us at if you would like further information. Members are always welcome to attend Committee meetings. We are currently meeting virtually so if you would like to attend please email us and we will include you in the meeting details.

Refugee Week Panel – Listen to the Podcast here

This panel is about the impact of Covid 19 on refugees and asylum seekers across the world but particularly in Canberra. How is the pandemic affecting their lives? What support do they need? How are agencies managing to assist them?

Louise Aubin (UNHCR),
Tim McKenna (St Vincent de Paul), Kathy Ragless (Comapnion House), Doug Hynd (Canberra Refugee Support)

Click here to listen: starts around the 8 minute mark.

Karma Kitchen @ Daana Restaurant Curtin –  2020 – POSTPONED

Daana are proudly supporting CRS through their monthly Karma Kitchen night. Everyone is invited to attend this informal night for a quick and delicious tasty meal. Bookings are for either the 6pm OR 8pm sitting.  There is no price tag. You simply decide on your departure what you would like to pay for the meal. 50% of proceeds go direct to CRS.

More details to come, please see link below for Daana’s website

Karma Kitchen @ Daana

Geoff McPherson Scholarships Ceremony –  POSTPONED until 2021

Please join us again the wonderful Scholarships Ceremony on the morning of Tuesday 16th June, 9.30am. Always a full house, and everyone is welcome.

The location of the award presentation is the Function Room, Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, Civic Square, London Circuit, Canberra (Level 2, above the Canberra Museum and Gallery).

The award ceremony will commence at 9.30am, followed by a morning tea.

CRS members and members of the public are invited to attend the award ceremony and morning tea.

Annual Fundraising Dinner – Postponed until Wed 20th October 2021


Some Past Events

Open Garden – 10th November 2019

Tina generously opened up her wonderful garden for yet another successful and enjoyable day. Thank you to all our supporters.

Annual Fundraising Dinner – 24th October 2019

What a wonderful and supportive night we had. Thank you to all our sponsors: Katy Gallagher, Sonja Schmidt, Rubicon Restaurant, Hang Up Framers, Jane Brown Jewellery, Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre, Tina van Raay, The McPhersons, Hoyts Belconnen, Lake George Winery, Juliet Behrens, Sandy Forbes, Dinah Broers, Anstead Wines, Ona Coffee, Vinters Daughter, Paperchain Bookstore, Dendy Cinemas, Fifth Lane Photography, Miss Moss Florals, Valerie Spears, Questacon

The following address was given at the CRS Annual Fundraising Dinner, 24 October 2019 by Louise Aubin UNHCR Representative and has been made available by her to share with CRS members who were not able to attend. Thanks to Louise for her challenging comments.

Please click here to download: CRS Annual Fundraising Dinner – Speech Ms. Louise Aubin – Word Doc

One Voice Community Choir concert – 21st September 2019

CRS is the nominated charity. This event will be held at the Woden Valley Alliance Church (81 Namatjira Drive, Warrmanga)

Jam for Refugees – Friday 20th September 2019 – All Saints Church, Ainslie

This wonderful annual event is on again. Please feel free to pop by anytime during the afternoon/ evening

Geoff McPherson Scholarships Ceremony – 18th June 2019

To assist with marking United Nations World Refugee Week 2019, on Tuesday 18 June 2019 CRS will award 45 scholarships to Canberra region students with a refugee/asylum-seeker background. The awardees are aged from 6 to adult, and are currently undergoing primary, secondary, or post-secondary education in the Canberra region.

The scholarships are named after Mr Geoff McPherson AM, founding President of Canberra Refugee Support Inc. Geoff is expected to be at the ceremony.

The purpose of the scholarships is to recognise meritorious performance and to encourage and support outstanding refugee students. Each scholarship recipient receives a cash grant and an award certificate to mark the occasion.

Awards will be presented by Mr Chris Steel MLA, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Ms Louise Aubin, UNHCR Regional Representative

The location of the award presentation is the Function Room, Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, Civic Square, London Circuit, Canberra (Level 2, above the Canberra Museum and Gallery).

The award ceremony will commence at 9.30am, followed by a morning tea.

CRS members and members of the public are invited to attend the award ceremony and morning tea.

CRS Picnic – 7th April 2019 Black Mountain Peninsula

For people supported by CRS, it’s a warm and welcoming chance to meet more people, practice English, and share food and culture from around the world.

CRS Fundraising Dinner – 18 October 2018

The annual 2018 CRS Fundraising Dinner was held on Thursday 18 October at the Hellenic Club in Woden.

Open Garden – 20 -21 October 2018

An entrace fee of just $8 and half the proceeds went to support CRS. Link:

CRS Scholarship Presentation, 19 June 2018

The Geoff McPherson CRS Scholarships Award Ceremony took place on the 19 June 2018. Click below to see the event page:

ACT Honor Walk

On 18 May 2018 the work of CRS over nearly twenty years to assist refugees settle in Canberra was recognised by a plaque on the ACT Honour Walk in Civic.

Doug Hynd and Andrew Barr

CRS Fundraising Dinner – 12 October 2017

The 2017 CRS Fundraising Dinner was held at The Hellenic Club in Phillip on Thursday 12 October.

Once again, the Hellenic Club provided a terrific venue, with efficient and courteous service and delicious food. This is more than a club: worth making the effort to visit.

Our first keynote speaker was Dr Kim Huynh. As an Indochinese Boat person, Kim discussed how proud he is of being a refugee and has increasingly come to realise how his refugeeness has shaped his personal and professional life as an academic, radio presenter and politician. He drew upon his article “Refugeeness: what’s good and not so good about being persecuted and displaced?” which can be downloaded here:

Kim has earned a BA (Hons) and a PhD in International Relations. He is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. His areas of expertise are International Relations, political theory and political philosophy, literary studies not elsewhere classified and Australian government and politics. His Research interests are political theory, political literature, children and armed conflict, forced migration, Vietnamese politics and society.

KimKim Huynh’s family arrived in Canberra as Vietnamese boatpeople in 1979 and have been here ever since. He grew up working in the family bakery and can still make decent scones and slices.

Kim wrote about his family and twentieth century Vietnam in Where the Sea Takes Us: A Vietnamese-Australian story – all the copies he had for sale (with all proceeds being donated to Companion House) were snapped up.

He’s also published a collection of novellas about contemporary Vietnamese young people entitled, Vietnam as if… Tales of youth, love and destiny.  He has published journal articles and book chapters on political theory, Vietnamese politics, women’s studies and refugee politics, and has written essays and opinion editorials for a range of Australian newspapers along with the BBC Vietnamese. Kim currently writes a column for the RiotACT.

He’s a recipient of the ANU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and lectures courses on international relations, political philosophy and Australian politics. He has supervised honours and PhD students in these areas.

Kim is also a part-time presenter on the ABC Radio Canberra Drive Program and prior to joining the Drive team, Kim had a “Human Nature” segment on ABC Radio Canberra Breakfast in which he provided expert commentary on everything from hipsters to school reunions to the differences between Eastern and Western civilisation.

Later in the evening we were privileged to have a second keynote speaker, Mr Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia. His speech was confronting as he detailed the facts and figures about asylum seekers and refugees, putting the political spin into a human context.

power 5
Paul has been Chief Executive Officer of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), the national umbrella body for 200 agencies working with refugees and asylum seekers, since 2006.

Paul leads the organisation’s policy development and public education on refugee issues and its advocacy with the Australian Government, international networks and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Since 2012, Paul has served as a Steering Committee member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. Paul has served as a member of the Australian Government’s Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council (2008-14) and as co-chair of the global Working Group on Resettlement and the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (2011-12).

Prior to joining RCOA, Paul worked in the NGO sector as a media officer, trainer, researcher and manager, after a 12-year career in the newspaper industry as a journalist and editor. Through his NGO work, Paul has been involved with projects in international aid, community development, mental health support, volunteer training, social research and advocacy.

Prior to joining RCOA, Paul worked in the NGO sector as a media officer, trainer, researcher and manager, after a 12-year career in the newspaper industry as a journalist and editor. Through his NGO work, Paul has been involved with projects in international aid, community development, mental health support, volunteer training, social research and advocacy.

The link to his speech is at and more information on the issues can be gleaned from the RCOA Get Facts page at

The success of the dinner was due to the hard work of the organisers and their support teams. It is hard to single out individuals, but Morna again rates a special mention – thank you.  And we again thank the wonderful Alex Sloan for being our MC for the evening – her friendship and professional relationship with Kim added a lovely atmosphere to proceedings.

The fundraising events were also successful, so a big, heartfelt thank you to the organisers, the workers and to the various individuals and organisations that contributed the fabulous prizes.

Thanks to the following sites for biographical information:

CRS Scholarship Presentation, 20 June 2017

To mark UN World Refugee Day each year, Canberra Refugee Support sponsors a refugee scholarship program to recognise and support refugees in Canberra. 2017 was the thirteenth year a public scholarship program has been delivered. This is probably the most significant event in the CRS calendar which is held in June at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre in Civic.

The purpose of the Canberra Refugee Support Scholarships is to recognise meritorious performance and to encourage and support outstanding refugee students in the pursuit of their personal development goals. Please click here for further information on the scholarship page.

Scholarships are awarded to Asylum Seekers or Refugees who are studying or seeking to study at CIT, IEC or at other institutions while they are living in Canberra. Winners are selected on the basis of meritorious performance rather than academic results alone. The CRS Refugee Scholarship Program has grown from a modest “one-off” presentation, to an annual event with support from a very wide section of the ACT’s community.

In total, 52 scholarships with a total value of $31,500 were awarded. Awards ranged in size from $300 to $1000 and were spread across primary, secondary and adult students with slightly more male than female recipients and nearly 60 per cent of the awards going to school and college students.

The Scholarship Program is funded from donations. Our 56 donors consisted mainly of individuals, but also represented were churches, schools, other non-government organisations, government departments and their staff and an international agency.

We are grateful to the many donors who support the refugees who have settled in the Canberra region.

Thanks again for this effort must go to Catherine G, who repeated her outstanding work from last year – and the two years before!

Support for, and knowledge about the program is increasing rapidly. Articles in the media about the scholarships program have appeared in The Canberra Times, The Canberra Weekly, City News, The ACT Public Service ‘PSNews’ and a media release by the ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs. There was also a mention of the program on radio RN on Saturday morning.

Our MC for the event was the well-known and much loved (now retired) ABC Local Radio 666 presenter Alex Sloan, who as for the last three years, did a marvelous job to keep the event moving and flowing.

Photo, left to right: Alex Sloan, Natasha Jacob, Rachel Stephen-Smith and Doug Hynd.

The President of CRS, Doug Hynd, noted in his introductory address that Alex is this year’s Canberra Citizen of the Year, a true reflection of the affection and respect in which she is held in Canberra. Alex was recognised for her services to the community of the ACT, through her commitment to telling the stories of Canberrans over 22 years in local radio and through her selfless support of a range of community organisations and charitable events.

In his address, Doug officially opened proceedings with an explanatory address about the program, and welcomed recipients, CRS members, other supporting guests and a delivered a special thanks to donors.

The Keynote Speaker was Ms. Natasha Yacoub, representing the Regional Representative of the UNHCR, Thomas Albrecht, who was unable to attend. Natasha gave a thought provoking and supportive addresses.

The Minister for Multicultural Affairs in the ACT Government Ms Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA was another official guest, and likewise delivered a supportive and encouraging address. Doug Hynd, Natasha Yacoub and Rachel Stephen-Smith then jointly presented scholarships.

The addresses by Doug and Rachel are at the following links:

Doug Hynd  – Speaking Notes for Item 2 CRS President

Ms. Rachel Stephen-Smith – 20170619 CRS scholarship event Speaking Notes

Ms. Rachel Stephen-Smith

Congratulations to all this year’s scholarship winners.

We have many people to thank for making this year’s event possible.

Firstly, our nominators: Canberra Institute of Technology; Companion House; Australian Red Cross; Navitas English, Canberra; and the ACT Education and Training Directorate, including the Introductory English Centres and the Dickson College Refugee Bridging Program.

Secondly, our organisers. The program was run this year by a team of Chris A (coordination), Catherine G (fund-raising), Judy L and Jane L (nominations), and Brian C (media and logistics), all of whom did a terrific job, with further assistance, particularly on the day, by Morna W, David C, Virginia B, Jane C, Alison T, Colleen F, Steve W, and Christine C. The thanks of all CRS members go to them and to all who helped in so many ways. Without these dedicated volunteers the event would not have been possible.

Finally, our donors. We rely on the generous support of the Canberra community to make this event possible every year. We highly value our links with all the people and organisations with whom we work to assist refugees in our local community. We are particularly grateful for the generous sponsorship we have received for scholarships, and recognised their contribution on our program of events.

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