History and heritage

110 years of Red Cross always being there for people affected by disasters and conflicts.

The Heritage Archives Collection

Our collection, held across all Red Cross state and territory offices, includes annual reports, board and other committee minutes for all states and territories, minutes and other records from Red Cross branches, units and clubs (some dating back to 1914), Red Cross uniforms, badges, posters, quilts, flags, photographs and thousands of other documents and items.

The archival collection was used extensively for research and sourcing photographs for the Centenary history book The Power of Humanity: 100 Years of Australian Red Cross 1914-2014 by Melanie Oppenheimer.

It is also used regularly by researchers studying a wide range of subjects and topics which Red Cross was involved in through its extensive services and programs, and by family historians eager to better understand the service their family members gave - locally and internationally - as Red Cross members and volunteers.

Our heritage collection continues to be cared for by two professional archivists and dedicated teams of volunteers around the country, some of whom are long-standing Red Cross members and volunteers. Their role includes:

  • Assist with any enquiries about information and items held in our Heritage Collection, and archives held by the wider International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
  • Provide access to the Heritage Collection for researchers.
  • Arrange the loan of items from our Heritage Collection, primarily for display purposes.
  • Receive new items of significance into the Heritage Collection.
  • Undertake conservation and other projects to care for our Heritage Collection.
  • Support the donation of archival material to the selected repository.

Do you have a Red Cross story or artefact you would like to share with us? Please email us.

Willing Hands (1968), a film about Australian Red Cross activities in hospitals outside the field of medical and nursing care, from book and picture libraries to taking patients on car outings, providing accommodation for families of seriously ill patients and arranging musical entertainment.
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