Society of St Vincent de Paul


Executive Officer: Sharon Nicholson
Street Address: 22 Echlin Street, West End, Qld 4810
Postal Address: (PO Box 5692 MC), Townsville, Qld 4810

Phone: (07) 4430 4002

St Vincent de Paul Book & Gift Shop

Address: 219 Charters Towers Road, Hermit Park, Qld 4812
Phone: (07) 4725 2380

For more information, see the bottom of this page.

Welfare Assistance - Help Line

Need assistance or know someone who does?
Phone: 1800 846 643

Parish Conferences

Conferences are attached to Parishes in the Townsville Diocese. If people are interested in joining a Parish Conference, please contact your local Parish Priest or the Diocesan Office 4430 4002 or email 

Centres of Charity

For a listing of all the centres of charity run by the St Vincent de Paul Society in the Townsville Diocese click here

About the Society

Our Mission

The Mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is to deepen the Catholic faith of its members to go out into our nation to heighten awareness of Jesus Christ.

We do this by sharing ourselves - who we are and what we

have – with the poor on a person-to-person basis.

We seek to cooperate in shaping a more just and compassionate Australian community, and to share our resources with our twinned countries.

Our preferred option in this mission of service is to work with the poor in development, by respecting their dignity, sharing our hope and encouraging them to take control of their own destiny.

Vincentian Core Values


  • Recognising our own value and the value of others Compassionate Service
  • Providing excellent care with gentleness and kindness Simplicity
  • Acting with integrity, clarity and honesty Advocacy for People in Need
  • Supporting those who lack resources for a healthy life and full human development Catholic Social Teaching
  • Our conferences and special works come under the framework of Gospel values and Church social teaching.

These values acknowledge:

  • The presence of Christ in all individuals
  • Human rights of all individuals
  • Commitment to social justice

St Vincent de Paul Society Logo

  • The Hand of Christ Blesses the Cup
  • The Hand of Love Offers the Cup
  • The Hand of Suffering Receives the Cup


Society of St Vincent de Paul is a Catholic charitable organisation which has been helping Australians for over a century.

Society volunteers, in the spirit of justice and charity, assist people while respecting their dignity, sharing their hopes and encouraging them to take control of their own destiny.

We also seek to co-operate in shaping a more just and compassionate community, sharing our resources.

Our Story…

In 1833 Frederic Ozanam, at 20 years of age founded the Society in Paris. Paris of the early 19th century was in the grip of great upheavals. During and following the French revolution 1788 - 1799, Paris was profoundly affected by social unrest. Poor peasants who had fled the countryside lived in terrible poverty and worked in degrading conditions in mines and factories. The industrial barons treated workers like slaves. The Catholic Church was nearly paralysed following the slaughter and oppression of the French Revolution and the relentless attacks of atheistic, anti-clerical intellectuals.

Frederic, a young university student, had to walk through the poorer suburbs on his way to university lectures each day and he soon became deeply moved at the hopeless state of families who had been left with the support of breadwinners after the epidemic.

It was the taunt of an anti-religious opponent in a debating society that stung him to action. Ozanam gathered a few friends around him to form the first conference and on 23 April 1833, they met to decide what they could do to assist the poor. The small group decided to adopt the name the Society of St Vincent de Paul after the Patron Saint of Christian charity.

Within a year membership had expanded to 100 and it became necessary to split the group into three separate conferences. At the same time other conferences sprang up in Parishes around Paris.

The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1854. It began in Brisbane in 1894 and Townsville in 1906.

In its first decade the Society spread to 48 other cities in France and Italy and numbered over 9,000 members. After some years the Society reached Rome (1842), England (1844), Belgium, Scotland, Ireland (1845) and the United States of America (1846). The first Australian conference founded in Australia was at St Francis Church, Melbourne on 30 April 1854. Inaugural conferences were launched in other Australian States as follows:

  • Western Australia - 8 December 1865
  • New South Wales - 24 July 1881
  • South Australia - 11 February 1886
  • Queensland - 18 February 1894
  • Tasmania - 1899
  • Northern Territory - 27 September 1949

Thinking about joining Vinnies?

There are so many ways you can assist with the good works of the St Vincent de Paul Society and here are just a few. For more information about any of these activities please contact our Diocesan Office on 4771 4077.

Home Visits

Home visitation is the primary function of conference members. On a daily basis different members visit people in their homes offering much needed assistance, friendship and support.

Vinnies Clothing Centres

The St Vinnies Centres are visible contact points for people seeking assistance, wanting to donate goods or have a great shopping experience. All the centres are staffed by volunteers giving generously of their time and energy.

Warehouse Sorting

Our warehouse in Townsville is where all donations of furniture and clothing are received and sorted. We can never have enough people to volunteer for the number of jobs in the warehouse.

Craft and Prison Visitation

Once a week a group of passionate and dedicated ladies meet to enjoy each other’s company and do craft. Once a month these same ladies visit the prison to help residents with craft projects. This group is very welcoming of new members to their special ministry.

Migrant and Refugee Support

There are a number of refugee families living in Townsville and many of these families have little to no contact with the wider community. Vinnies aims to be a friendly face and someone families can call on for support. We are looking for volunteers who may be interested in spending some social time with refugee families.

School & Young Adult activities

There are a number of school and young adult activities happening at Vinnies. Whether you are a young person or someone who would like to be involved with young people we have something to suit. Just some of the activities are tutoring, mentoring and Mini Vinnies. To contact the Youth Team email

Regular major events/initiatives

  • Winter/Christmas appeals
  • St Patty's Breakfast for volunteers
  • S & S Weekends
  • Festival Meetings
  • SVDP Sunday
  • St Vinnies Crazy Dress Day
  • Sock Drive
  • St Vinnies Tutoring program
  • St Vinnies Education Fund
  • Mini Vinnies (Nursing Home
  • Sports Day/BBQ activities at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre
  • Sponsorship for children to attend Edmund Rice Camps
  • Referrals to budget and general counseling

Canonical Status

The Society is juridically autonomous "as to its existence, constitution, organisation, rules, activities and its internal government". Members can freely choose their own President and officers and manage the Society's assets with full autonomy, in accordance with their own statutes.

Faithful to the clear intention of Frederic Ozanam and his companions, the Society has a close relationship with the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. It is freely given respect of the members for the hierarchy that provides the foundation for smooth reciprocal co-operation.

The Society recognizes the right and duty of the Catholic bishop to confirm that none of its activities is contrary to faith and morals. The Society, whenever possible, is pleased to inform the diocesan Bishops of its activities annually, as a sign of ecclesial communion.

St Vincent de Paul Book & Gift Shop

Address: 219 Charters Towers Road, Hermit Park, Qld 4812
Phone: (07) 4725 2380
Fax: (07) 4728 8386

Come and see our selection of books...

  • Catholic Literature
  • Lives of the Saints
  • Bibles
  • Children's Bible Stories
  • Prayers
  • Sunday Missals
  • Devotional and Inspirational

Wonderful Gifts for Special Occasions...

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Communion
  • Birthdays

And Much More...

  • Rosaries
  • Crucifixes
  • Prayer Cards
  • Statues
  • Medals
  • Plaques
  • Framed Pictures
  • Shoulder Pins
  • CD's
  • and more...