End-of-Year Message from CRS President Doug Hynd

A Christmas note: On behalf of the Committee I want to thank all the members of CRS for their support and great generosity during 2017, whether in spending time with refugees and asylum seekers, keeping the committee running, organising and participating in fund raising events and giving generously. You are a wonderful group of people.

I note with sadness the recent death of Bevil Purnell OAM. Bev was active in support of refugees and asylum seekers over many decades in Canberra. While he was a driving force in the Refugee Resettlement committee at St John the Apostle Kippax, he was also a strong supporter of the CRS scholarship program, and was a regular attender at CRS events. I extend to his family and friends our deep condolences and affirm his gently offered contribution to making Canberra a welcome home for refugees.

As we draw a line under 2017, I can report that the number of asylum seekers and refugees receiving support from CRS has reached its highest level ever. CRS support teams are present as good neighbours with over twenty individuals and families. The personal contact and connection with the community that these teams provide brings a sense of being cared for to people who have been or are still going through profound experiences of displacement and loss. Financial assistance is often needed as well. This is particularly the case for asylum seekers who appeal to the courts over their claims. They are no longer eligible for any income, rental, or childcare support from the Federal Government. CRS in partnership with community groups and churches is currently providing support for three families in this situation. This is going to be an ongoing challenge in 2018.

While writing this report in the run up to Christmas I found myself thinking about the original Christmas story. A family fleeing from political violence, asylum seekers with a well-founded fear of persecution, spending years in a foreign country wondering when it might be safe to go home. Sadly many contemporary asylum seekers cannot go home. For those who find their way to Canberra CRS is about providing welcome and hospitality. Thanks to you all for helping us give those gifts.

Doug Hynd
CRS President

CRS Fundraising Gala Dinner – Thank you for your support!!

The big event this month was the CRS 2017 Fundraising Gala Dinner on 12 October 2017 at the Hellenic Club in Woden, from which a sum of approximately $13,500 was raised.

  • A very big thank you to all members (and friends of members) who supported this event! It is the major CRS fundraiser of the year, and your generosity and support for events such as this go a long way towards positioning CRS to meet the calls for assistance from our local asylum seeker and refugee community.
  • A huge thank you also to long-time CRS supporter Alex Sloan for her role as MC for the evening, and to the two inspirational speakers, local identity, academic and author Kim Huynh, and the CEO of Refugee Council of Australia (RCoA) Paul Power.
  • For the organisation of the event, particular thanks go to Morna Whiting for her overall coordination, and to Don McDonough for his work with the fundraising team to ensure the success of the raffle and auction.

A detailed report on the dinner and the speakers’ key messages is available at: https://actrefugee.org.au/events/

CRS Committee Meetings

Monthly CRS Committee meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month (except for school holidays) at 7.30pm in the Delphi Room of the Hellenic Club in Woden. CRS members are welcome to attend these meetings.

Please advise CRS Vice-President Brian Calder (calders2@bigpond.com) if you plan to attend.

CRS Orientation Sessions

CRS orientation sessions have several purposes. For people who are interested in possibly joining as members it provides an overview of what we do and how we do it. It’s a great way to help you make up your mind if you want to be involved. For members who have just joined it provides an opportunity to explore the different ways you can be involved in and contribute to CRS. You need to do this session before you become actively involved particularly in volunteering to be part of a support team. Orientation runs from 7 to 8.15pm. Sessions for 2018 is:

  • Monday 5 February
  • Monday 19 March
  • Monday 30 April
  • Monday 4 June
  • Monday 30 July
  • Monday 17 September
  • Monday 29 October
  • Monday 3 December

Please contact actrefugee@gmail.com to check the date, location and time if you’d like to attend, or if you would like further information.

News Flash, 19 October 2017: Multicultural Australia celebrates scrapping of proposed citizenship legislation

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has applauded the scrapping on 18 October 2017 of the Federal Government’s proposed new citizenship legislation.


CRS Family in need

Dear CRS supporter

Your spontaneous generosity over the past few years has enabled us to do a great deal to be good neighbours in assisting asylum seekers and refugees to find a life in Canberra and be supported while their claims are assessed. In the last year the impact of Government policy has been to increase the cost to CRS of providing support. We are now confronted with a case that stretches our resources to the limit. That’s why I am writing to appeal to you for additional financial support.

Who are we helping?

CRS has been supporting a client and her daughters since their arrival in Canberra in 2014. She has been on a bridging visa which entitled them to a fortnightly living allowance and affordable rental that has been supplemented by CRS.

What are her circumstances?

Our client has not been successful in her applications for protection. Her sole fortnightly income has now ended so she is without any source of income, and is understandably distressed given her concerns about what returning to her country of origin might mean for them.

What assistance does she need?

Our client needs assistance with living expenses and some assistance with legal expenses so that she can make a further appeal. The amount needed could exceed $20,000. CRS has agreed to assist her to the extent that we can.

How can you help?

You can send donations labelled ‘H support’ to:

Canberra Refugee Support
PO Box 3444
Weston Creek ACT 2611

Or pay by direct debit to our account, with your name as the reference (H support/Your name), to:

Account Name: Canberra Refugee Support Inc
Westpac BSB: 032-719
Account No.: 555919

If you would like a receipt (all donations over $2 are tax deductible) please advise us of your name and address by email at actrefugee@gmail.com


Doug Hynd


Canberra Refugee Support


Welcome to the website of Canberra Refugee Support – supporting the settlement of refugees in our National Capital.


Canberra’s Captain Cook Memorial Jet, Lit Blue For World Refugee Day, 2005.

Photo courtesy of Lannon Harley Photography

On this page you’ll find News, Information and Where to Get Help

You can also visit us on twitter – @CRS_Refugee

Last updated: 17 May 2015


Coming up sooner than you think!

CRS Fundraising Dinner, Thursday 11 June 2015 at the Hellenic Club, Woden, 6.30 for 7pm (see attached flyer)

CRS is holding its major Fundraising Dinner for the year at the Hellenic Club in Woden on 11 June 2015. The Guest Speaker is Jon Stanhope, formerly Chief Minister of the ACT. Arrangements for booking and purchasing tickets, and for obtaining further information, are set out in the attached flyer.

Donated items are being collected for a raffle to be held at the dinner. If you have items you think would be suitable, please contact Don McDonough (donandgail@optusnet.com.au or 6259 6583).

Your support for events such as this is greatly welcomed. It contributes to CRS fundraising, and to the much needed support that CRS provides for individuals and families in need. Please feel free to pass on the flyer for this dinner to your family, friends and colleagues. Thank you!

(Note that CRS is an all-volunteer organisation. None of our members receives any payment or wages.)

CRS Scholarship Presentation, Monday 15 June 2015

Please mark your diaries for a significant event in the CRS calendar, the annual CRS Scholarships Presentation, which this year will be held on Monday 15 June from 9-10am at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre in Civic. This is the 10th year that CRS has delivered its annual scholarship program to mark UN World Refugee Day. The MC is ABC Radio 666 presenter Alex Sloan. All are welcome to attend and stay for morning tea afterwards. An invitation/flyer for this event will be circulated shortly.

Please also note that any donation you are able to make to support the 2015 CRS Scholarships Program would still be very welcome. It is not too late.

Donations should be made out to “Canberra Refugee Support” at PO Box 3444, Weston Creek ACT 2611 (Canberra Refugee Support is a registered charity and a receipt will be provided).

Or you can make a bank transfer to: Service One Alliance Bank, BSB: 801 009, Account #: 1148333, A/C Name: Canberra Refugee Support Inc.

If paying by EFT, please include your name as the Reference, and whether by EFT or cheque, please send an email to Catherine Gyngell (see below) with details of your donation and address so that we can provide you with a receipt.

Canberra Refugee Support will then provide cheques to be presented on the day with the appropriate name on each cheque once the award winners have been selected. A framed certificate which names the funding donor will be presented to each recipient.

Please email enquiries to Catherine Gyngell at: cgyngell@gmail.com


These sessions are designed to introduce new members, let interested people know of our activities and update others. See the events page for the next scheduled session. All are welcome – just email actrefugee@gmail.com if you wish to attend.

Refugee Council of Australia

The latest news from RCOA can be found at this link.


Calvary Health Care ACT Refugee Mentoring Program

Canberra Refugee Support is proud to be associated with Calvary Health Care ACT’s Refugee Mentoring Program. The program aims to provide people with a refugee background and/or their children with the opportunity to gain some experience of an Australian workplace. The intention is to assist them gain a clearer idea of the career direction they might wish to pursue and what study might be necessary to achieve this.

It is also seen as a way of enhancing the participant’s self esteem, assisting participation in the community and fostering networks towards enabling effective and satisfying engagement within the Australian social and cultural context.

More information is available at http://www.calvary-act.com.au/refugee-mentoring-program.html

Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA).

CRS is proud to belong to RCOA. As the national umbrella body for more than 130 organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is actively involved in new research, policy development, information and representation on refugee issues. RCOA is now managing the A Just Australia campaign, bringing together two of the most significant voices for refugees and asylum seekers.

RCOA’s website is at RCOA

Where to Get Help

Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme

Are you seeking a protection visa and need some help with your application? The Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) may be able to help you. The IAAAS offers advice about, or assistance with, applications for eligible people at no charge.

Would you like to find out more about the IAAAS? Follow this link to a brochure with more information.

If you would like to enquire about the IAAAS service in the ACT region please call Companion House on 6251 4550 during office hours.

Torture and Trauma

Companion House, a non profit community based organisation, works with people who have sought refuge in Australia from persecution, torture and war related trauma. Most of the people Companion House works with are asylum seekers or from a refugee background. Their website is at: http://www.companionhouse.org.au/