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Christmas 2009
Christmas 2009

Did you know?

There are lots of fascinating facts about The Salvation Army. Here's just a few. Our Pioneering Ventures page is also full of interesting information.

SAO Biscuitpacket of Arnotts sao biscuits

It is thought that the name of the popular biscuit by Arnotts, SAO, stands for ‘Salvation Army Officer’. This theory arose from the fact that Arthur Arnott, one of five sons of William Arnott (company founder), was a Colonel in The Salvation Army.

First Australian film

Joseph Perry with his camera

Operating in Melbourne from 1897 to 1910, The Salvation Army Limelight Department was Australia's first film production company. Among its many achievements, The Limelight Department is credited with producing the world's first moving picture film, 'Soldiers of the Cross', during 1900, and recording the birth of the Australian nation at Federation in 1901.

Download a brief history (Word doc)

View the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's outstanding website about our trail-blazing film production unit at


Strawberry Fields forever

The Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever ” was named after a Salvation Army children’s home where John Lennon used to play as a child. According to The Telegraph in London (14 January, 2005), Lennon lived around the corner from The Salvation Army's Strawberry Field children's home in Menlove Avenue, Woolton. As a child growing up in the 1950s, he used to squeeze through the home’s tall, wrought iron gates and play in the grounds with some of the orphans who lived there. He is believed to have felt a kinship with them after he was abandoned by his father and sent by his mother, Julia, to live with his Aunt.

Stawberry Field opened in 1936 and helped generations of children towards adulthood. Lennon recalled his fond childhood memories in his song Strawberry Fields Forever, released as a double A-side with Penny Lane in February 1967. According to The Telegraph, Lennon even left money to the home in his will, and in 1984 his widow, Yoko Ono, gave more than £50,000 towards its upkeep.

But a change in the way orphans are cared for led to the closure in January 2005, with the preference now being to care for children within foster families or small group homes, rather than within large residential institutions.

Invention of safety matches

Red-tipped safety matches were introduced by The Salvation Army in England during the 1890s at a time when matches were still produced using poisonous yellow phosphorus, which caused the fatal disease ‘Phossy Jaw’ in poor factory workers. Read more at

Raised age of consent

The Salvation Army successfully campaigned to have the age of consent in the UK raised from 13 years of age to 16 years during 1885.