The original objectives of the Royal Humane Society were:
- To afford relief to widows, orphans and other dependents of seamen who lost their lives or were injured in shipwreck;
- To assist crews of vessels wrecked in New South Wales waters; and
- To grant medals or rewards for bravery in saving human life.
The necessity for the first and second objectives ceased when it was considered that they were adequately covered by legal provisions. Pensions ceased to be paid in the late 1960's. In recent years, however, the Society has noted cases in which the utilisation of provisions enabling financial grants in selected circumstances could have been a desirable course.
The Society, of course, has maintained its third objective which was widened to include acts of bravery in attempting to save human life.