Our story starts in March 1931 when three young architects, looking to make a contribution to their local community of Geelong Victoria, decided to create Apex. By Christmas that year, clubs in Albury, Ballarat, Camperdown and Warrnambool had established. Over the past seven decades, Apex has chartered more than 1,000 local groups and more than 200,000 younger Australians have learnt key skills whilst making a practical contribution to the common good.
Apex’s three founders, Ewan Laird, Langham Proud and John Buchan were motivated by a simple creed: citizenship, fellowship and service. Apex has always shown a preparedness to tackle today’s problems without forgetting those issues and social problems that fail to achieve high level publicity or fashionable celebrity support. Looking back in time, we see some remarkable and noteworthy campaigns:
1930s – truck and radio equipment to help the Royal Flying Doctors Service, the introduction of free milk to Australian schoolchildren pioneered by Apex’s 1937 national service scheme and postnatal medical services championed 1940s – more than 60 percent of Apex’s members serve during the war, succeeded in a compulsory tuberculosis X Ray testing scheme virtually eradicating the disease in Australia and promoting international volunteer cooperation 1950s – supported a civilian widows network, recognised indigenous needs, sponsored postar migrant community integration and established the first Guide Dogs for the Blind training centre 1960s – Apexians walked around Australia to raise awareness and funds for Autism, made talking books and other media available to the blind, more than 11,000 new blood donors found and new collection centres established 1970s – Apex established Foundation 41 at the Royal Womens Hospital Sydney, supported MS education, built the Magic Castle in the Snowy Mountains and established the Robert Stolz Scholarship to the Vienna Conservatorium of Music 1980s – Supported the creation of the SIDS foundation, funded craniofacial surgery, promoted CPR training and helped raise more than $4 million for Life Education efforts in primary schools regarding substance abuse 1990s – Major sponsor of Kids Helpline, took the model of Clean Up Australia to a world audience of more than 6 million volunteers and identified the positive role model of sporting coaches in the Australian community This Century – handed over more than $1 million to the Westmead Children’s Hospital, engaged in multimedia promotion of volunteerism across Australia and forged links with the Surf Life Saving movement on youth education issues.
It was post-Depression. We felt we had jobs, albeit minor ones, and here was an opportunity to do something for young [people] by bringing them together in some form of fellowship and service.
Sir John Buchan (Apex Founder, award-winning architect and civic leader)