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Interesting Facts

Here are a few things you may not know about The Salvation Army

1900 - World’s first feature film

The Salvation Army is credited with producing the world's first moving picture film.


Operating 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 multi-media presentation using the moving picture film technology of the day. The film, ‘Soldiers of the Cross’, was produced during 1900 and the Limelight Department also recorded the birth of the nation at Federation in 1901. 


Download the Brief History document for more information here.


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

SAO Biscuit

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.

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.

More information

Click here to read more about the Salvation Army's key moments in history or visit the International Heritage Centre website.

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