The Order of St John

The Order of St John was the first of a number of religious military orders established in the Middle Ages at a time when various Royal Orders of Chivalry were being established with a code of conduct focused on virtues of courage and honour.

First and foremost they pledged to care for the sick and the poor. Later, members trained as knights for warfare. For this, they became known as the Knights Hospitaller.

The Order today consists of 8 St John national organisations known as Priories, 33 St John national organisations known as Associations and the St John Eye Hospital Group which has its main hospital in Jerusalem.

Although The Order was founded on Christian principles, membership is not exclusively Christian, and members come from all faiths or none. Notable members include Nelson Mandela, Queen Noor of Jordan, Desmond Tutu, and Margaret Thatcher.

Watch our video to learn more about the work of St John around the world.

“St John’s focus on health care, especially amongst the poorest of the poor, and its capacity to tap the most generous and caring human impulses, gives it a special place in our hearts.”

Nelson Mandela – Knight of the Order of St John


Our historic logo

The symbol of the Order of St John, a white eight-pointed cross on a black background, is an international symbol of first aid. It has remained unaltered through the centuries, as an enduring emblem of humanitarian care, and of a charity that dates back almost 1000 years.

Now accredited to the United Nations, the Order of St John traces its origins back more than 900 years, to the Knights Hospitaller from whom the modern organisation derives its inspiration and maxims:

Pro Fide Pro Utilitate Hominum,
‘For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity.’

Black logo

History & Heritage Committee

St John Ambulance in Queensland dates back to 1889.

St John Ambulance Queensland established the History and Heritage Committee during its centenary year in 1989 to conserve and maintain its historical records, memorabilia and a small library. The History and Heritage Committee aims to maintain this information for future generations.

Assistance can be given to members of the public undertaking research. Individuals may also contact the Historian / Archivist to clarify information about relatives who were former members of St John.

St John Ambulance welcomes donations of significant items relating to its history in Queensland, and around the world.