The Order has existed in Australia since 1969 (with a Commandery originally established in Queensland), following traditions which can be traced back to the Crusades of the Eleventh Century, founded by Brother Gerard in Jerusalem about 1080 AD. The present Order operates under a Charter granted by King Peter II of Yugoslavia on 1 October, 1963.
The Order seeks out people who are prominent in
their profession, community or local affairs and who actively support charitable works. Nominees (Aspirants) are brought into the Order at an annual Investiture Service. The beautiful and moving formal Investiture Service is based on the traditional Christian ceremony dating back to the very beginnings of the Order in the early 12th Century, during which new members receive their white Cross of Amalfi and the red robe of the Order bearing a white Cross of Amalfi over the heart. Membership in the Order is bestowed for life.
The Commandery became a Priory in 1974, within the Grand Priory of Malta. In 1977 it achieved independent status as a Grand Priory with Priories in Victoria and Queensland and Commanderies in Geelong, South Australia, and the Darling Downs. Following this, a Commandery was set up in Sydney, New South Wales. Later, South Australia and New South Wales both achieved full Priory status. A period of growth and consolidation then followed, which brought Australia into the mainstream of the International Order.
On 15 June, 2006 HRH The Grand Master created two Grand Priories: Southern Australia and Northern Australia. The Southern Grand Priory encompassed the Priories of New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria. The Northern Grand Priory at that date comprised the Priory of Queensland. The Grand Priory of Northern Australia comprised territorial jurisdiction over Queensland and the Northern Territory and possesses putative jurisdiction over Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, and such other areas as may from time to time be assigned to it.
By Royal Decree dated 12 May, 2011 HRH The Grand Master
dissolved the two Grand Priories in Australia to establish a
Grand Priory of Australasia.
Having quasi-military origins, the Order observes a hierarchical rank structure. The Grand Priory of Australasia comprises Knights and Dames of various ranks together with Serving Brothers and Sisters, Esquires and Pages. We are privileged to have among our members five Knights at this time who have attained the eminent rank of Bailiff.
Members of the Order are only eligible to receive the accolade of Knight or Dame of Saint John after rendering exceptional and auspicious service to their community. The Order's motto : 'Pro fide, pro utilitate hominum' - for the Faith, for the service of Humanity - still encapsulates the Order's modern day ideals in its charitable support of the sick and the poor via its many projects.