Anam Cara House is a community based respite program for carers and people with a life threatening illness. Knights, Dames and friends of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem (known also as Knights Hospitallers) have been involved with Anam Cara House, including Diane Wright (Founder), Frank Costa (Patron), Lloyd Gosling (former Chair), Helene Bender, Kevin Dillon and others.
Thousands of dollars have been raised by the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem as well as certain individuals making personal donations.
The famous Order of St John has a continuous history from its founding in the eleventh century to its operation in Geelong. The Order is the oldest surviving international Christian Order of chivalry. The Order of Knights Hospitaller cared for the pilgrims who came to visit the holy land from its outset in 1048.
The capture of Jerusalem in the Crusades allowed for the Order to be granted sovereignty. The Order has had a long history in both the Middle East and in Europe. Eventually the knights settled on Malta in 1530 and flourished on the island until the loss of the island to Napoleon in 1798.
Since that time the Order existed in a diaspora, the main body with Tsar Paul I in Russia, some in other parts of Europe and some in Britain. The British knights gathered with a Hanoverian Protestant agenda in the early 1830s.
A Russian group continuously existed which spread into Western Europe at the end of the First World War. These expanded into America, creating a ring of operatives around a strong political agenda.
In 1954, former King Peter II of Yugoslavia issued a Constitution, which has been at the basis of the Grand Priory of Australia, which began in 1969, and reached Geelong by Sir Hubert Opperman in the 1970s.
Several fragments of the Order exist today which connect back to the Russian line, including the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem. Images representing two of the several current groups operating in Geelong are represented below.