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Order of Malta Australia

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NEW PROJECT: Order of Malta Mercy Palliative Care Volunteer Programme


Fra’ Richard Divall AO OBE (9 September 1945 – 15 January 2017) was a conductor, composer, musicologist and Professed Knight of the Order of Malta. Fra’ Richard was one of a small group of Professed Knights of Malta, who take solemn religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and was the sole Australian Professed Knight.


Thanks to the generous support of the Richard Divall Trust, a new project to provide hands on volunteer support to palliative care patients is underway. The project, in partnership with Mercy Palliative Care Limited, will fund a volunteer coordinator for three years to train and organise members and volunteers in the west of Melbourne to care for frail sick and dying patients. An Order of Malta committee chaired by Confrere Richard van der Merwe will work with the volunteer coordinator to promote the service and take leadership of the Order’s contribution.


The initiative will involve the establishment, training and operation of a volunteer network that will offer a wide range of activities including:

  • providing respite accompaniment through home visits
  • providing transport for medical visits and tests
  • biographical activities
  • being a photographer to create memories of the person
  • taking communion to the sick
  • bereavement support of families
  • administrative support to the palliative care service


The Order of Malta has active management of community palliative care through Eastern Palliative Care, which it runs in conjunction with St Vincent’s Melbourne and Outer Eastern Palliative Care making it well placed to expand its hands on work in the western and southern suburbs of Melbourne.


Fra’ Richard Divall knew well the history of our Order’s care for the sick, with the founder of the Hospitallers, Blessed Fra’ Gerard, running the “Hospital” in Jerusalem to care for sick pilgrims to the Holy Land nine hundred years ago” explains Conf. David Kissane, Regent of the Sub Priory of the Immaculate Conception. “This very early hospice was exactly what palliative care does today. Fra’ Richard would be honoured to know that funds from his estate are advancing this work which lies at the very heart of our Hospitaller Order.”


Interested in volunteering? Submit an enquiry.

Want to learn more about leaving a bequest to the Order of Malta? Email for more information.

The Australian Association

The Australian Association, formed in 1974, currently has in excess of 300 members and aspirant members across every State and Territory of Australia. We also have ongoing and strong links with the Order’s National Associations throughout the Asia Pacific Region including in Singapore and the Philippines and with members of the Order in New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Thailand and Korea. The Order of Malta is committed to serving Our Lords the Poor and Sick worldwide and has done so for over 900 years. This website shares with you the history, mission and current activities of the Order of Malta in Australia, and provides links to the work of the Order world-wide.