Mission Australia traces its origins back to 1859 to the Brisbane Town and Country Mission, which operated at a grassroots level to respond to need within the community. At this time in Australian history the needs were great, with many people struggling to stay fed, clothed and housed.
On 11 July 1862, Englishman Benjamin Short established the Sydney City Mission, desiring to address the spiritual and physical needs of the city’s inhabitants who were living in poverty.
In a public meeting, Short presented his vision for Sydney City Mission:
Christian friends, we have called you together because we desire to submit for your serious consideration the question, ‘Is it not desirable that there be established in Sydney a City Mission, somewhat similar in character to the London City Mission?’ … We feel that something must be done, and that the Christian Churches of Sydney cannot be held guiltless if they neglect to stretch out a helping hand to rescue those who are perishing around them.” 1