The Society started life in 1865 when it opened the Sydney Sailors’ Home in The Rocks area in Sydney Harbour that provided accommodation and meals for crew members of visiting ships. After the Home closed in 1979, the focus of its activities centred on providing financial support and assistance for various seafarers’ welfare organisations operating in ports around the Australian coast. See History page for further information.
Today the Society’s principal activities include:
- Provision of subsidised home unit accommodation for ex-seafarers of modest means
- Annual grants to the Mission to Seafarers and the Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris) in recognition of their offering a home away from home for visiting mariners at 39 centres in ports around Australia.
- Project grants to assist with the upkeep of the above centres, including IT and transport
- Offering of maritime scholarships and tall ship training experiences.
- Representation on the Australian Seafarers Welfare Council whose role is to ensure the provision of appropriate welfare services for all seafarers visiting Australian ports.
- Membership of the Sydney Port Welfare Committee.
- Financial support for the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program that assists victims and their families.