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Prof. Melanie Oppenheimer


Chair of History, Flinders University

Australian Red Cross Ambassador

Melanie Oppenheimer was appointed as the centenary historian of Australian Red Cross in 2009 to write The Power of Humanity: 100 Years of Australian Red Cross (Harper Collins, 2014).

Melanie Oppenheimer spoke at the launch of her Centenary book at Government House, Canberra.

Melanie currently holds the Chair of History at Flinders University in South Australia, and has previously held appointments at the University of Western Sydney and the University of New England. She is the author of numerous books and articles on Australian history, volunteering, women and war, and is the authority on the 100-year history of Red Cross in Australia.

Melanie Oppenheimer is an authority on the history of Australian women as volunteers.

Her passion for research into volunteering and its history has always had Australian Red Cross at its centrepiece. Melanie comes from a family of volunteers and her involvement with Red Cross was instigated by her grandmother, Mrs Nancy Nivison, who was a member of the Walcha Branch in NSW and served as a Red Cross Voluntary Aid in WWII, travelling to the Pacific on the naval carrier HMAS Glory to help repatriate sick and wounded ex-prisoners of war. Melanie used her WWII records to write her first history article over twenty years ago.

A group of Voluntary Aid Detachment members selected to join the medical team on HMS Glory in September 1945. Nancy Nivison is in the front row, second from the left.