OUR HISTORY

  • 1833
    The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris in 1833 by 20‑year‑old university student, Frederic Ozanam and his friends.
  • 1881

    Charles Gordon O'Neill joined the St Vincent de Paul Society in Scotland at just 23 years of age. He moved to Sydney in 1881 where he founded the first St Vincent de Paul Society Conference in NSW at St Patrick’s Church Hill in Sydney's Rocks District.
  • 1891
    The first Special Work of the Society was founded in Surry Hills.
  • 1922
    Until 1922 Parish Conferences had organised wardrobes of clothes for people in need by collecting local donations. When this practice became too difficult to manage, the idea of Vinnies Shops where people could purchase second‑hand items was born.
  • 1938
    The Matthew Talbot Hostel was opened by Bishop Norman Gilroy in Kent Street to help the many men experiencing homelessness in Sydney. It moved to Woolloomooloo in 1965, where it remains to this day.
  • 2006
    The Ozanam Learning Centre in Woolloomooloo opened. It offers a range of educational programs, recreational activities, a drop‑in day centre and extensive information and referral services for men and women experiencing or at risk of homelessness. In the same year, the first Vinnies CEO Sleepout was held at Sydney Olympic Park, with a handful of CEOs raising around $5,000.
  • 2013
    The St Vincent de Paul Society celebrated the bicentenary of its founder Frederic Ozanam’s birth.
  • 2015
    The Matthew Talbot Hostel celebrated 50 years at its Woolloomooloo location, a site now synonymous with the service.
  • 2017

    We were selected by the NSW Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund to deliver housing throughout the state for people at risk of homelessness.
  • 2020
    We supported over 4,500 households and made an on‑going commitment to support communities devastated by the Black Summer bushfires with funds raised from the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal, which raised $25.2 million nationally.
  • 2021
    The Build Homes, Build Hope social housing petition was debated in NSW Parliament due to the strength of members who collected more than 10,000 signatures calling for 5,000 new social houses to be built each year for the next decade.