ADRA began as a department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As a church with approximately 60,000 Australian members, Adventists are committed to demonstrating the love of God in real and practical ways.

We see the needs and opportunities present in today’s world and believe that the church – with its strong networks, ability to mobilise volunteers and other resources, its commitment to justice, and drive to love and care for people who are suffering – is in a prime position to bring about positive social change.

We are driven to work with our creator to restore His ideal of a world without poverty.

1956 – Established as Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS).

1958 – Relief shipments to 22 countries with a total value of about $US485,000.

1962 – Relief shipments increased to 29 countries with a total value of about $US2.3 million.

1970 – Mission broadened from disaster relief into programs leading to long-term development.

1973 – Name changed to Seventh-day Adventist World Service to reflect a move into community development, not just welfare.

1978 – SAWS establish an office in Australia to assist people in the South Pacific.

1979 – SAWS received its first grant from the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB) of $20,500.

1984 – Name changed to Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)  and community development work rapidly increased.

1992 – ADRA Australia’s growth had extended to grants totalling almost $2 million from AIDAB.

1995 – The Australian Government’s Agency for International Development (AusAID) introduced an accreditation process for non-government organizations (NGO’s). ADRA Australia was given provisional full accreditation.

1997 – ADRA International was granted General Consultative Status by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. ADRA Australia becomes a signatory to the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA).

1999 – AdCare was transferred from being a department of the SDA church to become ADRAcare, the National Program of ADRA.

2000 – The government’s Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) granted full accreditation to ADRA Australia. AdCare changed its name to ADRAcare.

2001/2002 – ADRA provided funding for over 30 international projects with a total budget of over $8.8 million in 28 countries in the South Pacific, Asia, and Eastern Africa. ADRAcare continued to grow.

2004 – ADRA Australia incorporated and its status as a legal company became official. The National Program, previously known as ADRAcare, changed to the worldwide name of ADRA. ADRA head office in Sydney had 18 full-time staff. PNG Church Partnership Program phase 1 commences with full funding from AusAID.

2006 – ADRA Australia is approved by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to continue with full accreditation for a further five years.

2007 – ADRA Australia has 22 staff in its head office in Sydney and hundreds of volunteers throughout Australia. The ADRA network has approximately 4,000 staff members who work in 125 countries worldwide.

2010 – PNG Church Partnership Program phase 2 commences with full funding from AusAID.

2011 – ADRA Australia raised more than $1.1million for the drought and food crisis in East Africa during the Australian Government’s Dollar-for-Dollar program. This was almost 9% of the national total raised by the19 agencies involved.

2012 – ADRA Australia was granted full re-accreditation by the government’s Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

2013 – ADRA Australia raised more than $800,000 for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

2015 – ADRA Australia leads response and recovery efforts after Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and the earthquake in Nepal.

2016 – ADRA Australia raises almost $1 million during the end-of-financial year appeal, its best ever result.

2017 – ADRA Australia joins the Church Agencies Network Disaster Operations (CANDO) coalition, which receives funding from the Australian government during disaster activations.

2018 – ADRA Australia responds to the Indonesian tsunami with over $100,000. More than $245,000 is raised to help support Australian farmers affected by the drought. ADRA was also granted full re-accreditation by the government’s Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP, formally AusAID).

2019 – ADRA Australia responds to the devastating Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020. More than $526,000 was raised to help Australians affected by the fires.

2020 – ADRA Australia responds to the global COVID-19 crisis as demand for food relief in Australia soared and global poverty increases for the first time in two decades. In Australia, ADRA delivered 162,310 food hampers.

2021 – ADRA responds to the East Australian Floods in March. In August, ADRA Australia joins fifteen other charities as a founding member of the Emergency Action Alliance (EAA). The purpose of the EAA is to work together with other major humanitarian organisations to channel the care and passion of our incredible supporters into a fast and effective response to international emergencies. This allows us to help more people in their greatest moment of need.

2022 – ADRA Australia responds to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, raising more than $626,000 to support people affected by the crisis. The response includes providing basic necessities to refugees crossing into border countries, and helping facilitate the evacuation of citizens from Ukraine.

2023 – The ADRA network responds in Syria and Türkiye to the devastating earthquakes, which affected more than 14 million people and claimed almost 60,000 lives. ADRA Australia raised over $350,000 for the response.