The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) wants the Government of Australia to recognise the Armenian Genocide, with a motion paying particular attention to the tremendous relief efforts by Australians who aided the victims and survivors immediately following 1915.THE ARMENIAN RELIEF FUND OF AUSTRALIA
From 1915 to 1929, the Armenian Relief Fund of Australia provided humanitarian assistance to victims of the Armenian Genocide. These relief efforts became know as the first major international humanitarian projects provided by Australia and set a precedent for continued support for areas and people in need throughout the world.REVEREND JAMES CRESSWELLIN HIS WORDS...
"The caves are located about a mile from Aleppo- huge caves in which are housed the balance of the refugees from whom there is no room in the houses. The sun was shining brightly, and men, women, and children were enjoying the warmth after the wet cold days they had just endured. But what a sight! They were clad in the veriest of rags gathered apparently from the rubbish heaps of years. The sights within the caves are beyond words. No words seem adequate to describe the misery that must be the portion of these people. On either side of the cave were to be seen families, men, women, and children, sitting on the ground. In some places this was fairly dry, but for the most part it was damp-the air was clammy and cold and in all respects it was most depressing.
Here were women, pale and emaciated, children with swollen abdomens, the result of starvation. Again, one saw little babes pinched and pallid-further on a little one just recently born, one tiny atom among thousands of suffering children to be seen here."
Page 5, The Armenian, Published by the Australasian Relief Fund Committee, May 1923, South Australia.BIOGRAPHY
James Edwin Cresswell was born on 2 August 1867 in Adelaide, South Australia, the seventh child of William Henry Cresswell and Maria Garey. He lived with his family at North Adelaide, moving to North Kensington in 1880. He began his career by working for the Goode Brothers in their grocery business. He later joined the grocery business of J. Hooper & Co. through which he met Blanche Lillecrapp, a niece of the owner. James married Blanche on 6 March 1895 at Eden Valley and the young couple established their home at Thornton Street, Kensington. James and Blanche had a daughter, Muriel Blanche Lillecrapp, born 24 August 1896, and sons Edwin Fletcher, born 19 November 1900, and Albert Robert Clive, born 20 October 1904.
In 1910, at the age of forty three, Cresswell entered the Congregational ministry, having completed a course of study at the Adelaide Theological College, Kyre College. His first pastorate was in the Border Downs, based at Keith. From 1912 to 1919 he was minister of College Park Congregational Church and was chairman of the Congregational Union of South Australia in 1917-18. At the request of the London Missionary Society, he spent a period as a missionary on the Cook Islands in 1920. He then returned to South Australia in 1921 to become minister of Highgate Congregational Church.
It was during this period of his life that he involved himself with the Armenian relief movement. His years of business and administrative experience proved to be a great asset for the fund. As national secretary, Cresswell was requested by the national relief committee to undertake a tour of inspection and report on the administration of the Australian section of the work among the Armenian refugees.
Cresswell continued his ministry at Port Noarlunga and Colonel Light Gardens then in 1942 was appointed the secretary of the South Australian Congregational Union and of the Parkin Mission. He held both offices until 1946. He was known as a lover of flowers and gardens and believed that the Lord’s house should be beautiful from within and without. He was a visiting chaplain in several hospitals. As the assistant editor of the Australian Christian World, Cresswell would frequently travel throughout the country and was a prolific contributor. His final ministries were at Knoxville and Colonel Light Gardens Congregational churches. He died on 23 July 1954, at the age of 86. In the obituary section of S.A. Congregationalist, he was described as one of the ‘most familiar and well-beloved figures in South Australian Congregationalism.ANZAC EYEWITNESSES
During the WWI Gallipoli campaign, numerous Australian soldiers were taken prisoner by the Ottoman Army. These POWs were taken to central and eastern Anatolia, away from the battlefront and lay witness to the attempted annihilation of the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman Government.
Thomas Walter White is one such Australian soldier. See below.THOMAS WALTER WHITEIN HIS WORDS..."A number of Armenian women and children of all ages sat outside the church on bundles of clothing. They looked very sad and miserable, and little wonder, for their menfolk had been killed, their houses and furniture confiscated and now they were being turned into the street from their last possible sanctuary."
P 151 T.W. White, Guests of the Unspeakable, The odyssey of an Australian Airman-being A record of captivity and escape in Turkey, John Hamilton Ltd, London 1928.BIOGRAPHYPlease click here for full biography of Sir Thomas Walter White.