The Crusader Union of Australia

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The Crusader Union of Australia (Crusaders or CRU)
Abbreviation Crusaders or CRU
Motto Psalm 78:4b: ‘We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.’
Formation 1930
Purpose To nurture church membership and train young Christians
Headquarters Eastwood, New South Wales
Region served
New South Wales &
Australian Capital Territory
Independent School students
Official language
Executive Director
Gary Hill
71 permanent staff, 50+ casuals

The Crusader Union of Australia (Crusaders or CRU), is a Bible-based, interdenominational, non-profit Christian youth organisation.

CRU is an organisation with three key ministry areas:

  • CRU Camps, which includes: CRU Holiday Camps, CRU Study Camps and CRU Day Camps
  • Summit Educational Camps and
  • Schools Ministry (made up of CRU School Groups and CRU Resources)

CRU's frontline ministries are supported by two campsites (Galston Gorge Conference & Recreation Centre & Lake Mac Outdoor Recreation Centre), and a Training Division.


Crusaders was founded in 1930 in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia by the Rev. Dr Howard Guinness,[1] a visionary man keen to strengthen Christian work among school students in independent schools. He saw voluntary groups as a key to achieving this. The first Crusader Camp was held in 1930. In 1934 CRU was founded in Western Australia. From small beginnings in just four schools, CRU has expanded to serve 185 Independent schools in New South Wales and the ACT. The Crusader Women's Fellowship, began at Roseville Park in 1939 and has maintained an unbroken record of fellowship, prayer and support for the ministry. The group continues to meet to this day. The land for the Crusader site at Lake Macquarie NSW was donated by Dr Leslie Parr in the 1940s and in the 1950s Dr Paul White mortgaged his home to buy land at Galston Gorge site for £600. These sites are where the majority of CRU Camps take place. In 1955 CRU merged with Scripture Union in all states except NSW. During the 1960s CRU became a Registered Company Limited by Guarantee to meet legal requirements. Initially established in Sydney's CBD, the office relocated to Strathfield in 1988, then Eastwood in 1993. The Crusader Union of NSW became the Crusader Union of Australia on 23 May 1990 and the current Crusader ‘eagle’ logo was introduced in 1997. The CRU Camp brand was trademarked in 2002 and CRU celebrated its 80th anniversary in September 2010. CRU continues to grow and currently over 2,500 students are reached each week with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.[2]

CRU Camps[edit]

CRU run many different types of camps, the main ones being:

CRU Holiday Camps 60+ camps are run during the school holidays each year for children aged between 6-18. They are mostly run by volunteer leadership teams, made up predominantly of university students, offering activities including sailing, horse riding, dirt-bike riding, wakeboarding, rock climbing, abseiling, skiing and much more.

CRU Study Camps 18+ Higher School Certificate & IB study camps are run each year for Year 12 students.

CRU Day Camps Week long, daytime camps (typically 8am – 6pm) are run during the school holidays.

Summit Educational Camps[edit]

Over 100 school camps are run each year, providing outdoor education to over 7,100 campers and training about 20 ministry trainees, called ‘Summit Fellows’.

Schools ministry[edit]

Six full-time staff and four ministry associates address over 100,000 students each year in 185 independent schools across NSW and the ACT. There are also Christian groups across Australia using CRU Resources in their various ministries. The following schools have internal CRU Groups or Christian groups supported by CRU operating in them:

Sydney City[edit]

Northern Suburbs[edit]

Inner West[edit]

Western Suburbs[edit]

Eastern Suburbs[edit]

Southern Suburbs[edit]

South Western Suburbs[edit]

Parramatta and the Hills District[edit]

Central West[edit]

Mid North Coast[edit]

Southern Highlands[edit]

South Coast[edit]

Australian Capital Territory[edit]


Crusaders' ministries are supported by two residential campsites: Galston Gorge Conference & Recreation Centre, located in Galston Gorge and Lake Mac Outdoor Recreation Centre, located in Lake Macquarie with water-based activities and its own sailing fleet.

Galston Gorge Conference & Recreation Centre (Galston Gorge Centre, NSW) The Galston Gorge Centre is located 45 minutes from Sydney's CBD in a bushland location. The majority of the CRU Study Camps are run at this location.

Lake Mac Outdoor Recreation Centre (Lake Mac, NSW) Lake Mac is suitable for Christian youth camps, church camps or school groups. Located in Lake Macquarie, 60 minutes from Hornsby and Gosford, the centre has accommodation for 112 guests.


CRU is a Registered Training Organisation (NTIS No. 90717) offering training in ‘Apply First Aid’ (formerly Senior First Aid).

Crusader Council[edit]

The Crusader Union of Australia (CRU) is governed by a board of 13 members, each bringing a wealth of experience, insight and wisdom to the organisation.

Chairman Philip Bell, OAM

Deputy Chairman Jennie Ford, BEd. TCert.

Hon. Treasurer Santino Dimarco, BEc. CA.

Council Members

  • Alan Barnwell, B.Build (Hons)
  • Patrick Benn, BSc (Hons), BTh.
  • Helen Burgess, BA, LLB (Hons), FCIS, FAICD
  • Victoria Hayman, BID, MA CommManagement
  • Clare Pendlebury, BComm. CA
  • Mark Rundle, BA DipEd. BD (Hons). DipMin.
  • James Ward, MA Business, BA Design
  • Annette Ware, B Ed, Dip Theology
  • Tim Wright, PhD, DipEd, BSc(Hons), FACE, MRACI, CChem.

Hon. Solicitor

  • Mr D.C. Ford, BA. LLM (Hons)

Secretary Elizabeth White, DipBusAdmin, Cert IV CMin


Additional sources[edit]

External links[edit]