Tag Archives: war

Historic records are not relics – they are events unfolding

Stella Marr, Archivist,  University of Melbourne Archives As an archivist, it is an all too common experience to see people puzzle over your stated profession. In conversation it is usually attended with a perplexed pause; in print, it is variously and excitedly read as anarchist, or interpreted perhaps more reasonably as activist. When my inevitable […]

Geneva Bureau

‘A Humane and Intimate Administration’: The Red Cross’ World War Two Wounded, Missing and Prisoner of War Cards

Fiona Ross Senior Archivist, University of Melbourne Archives Private Rawson’s mother first contacted the Red Cross in early April 1942, six weeks after her son was captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore. For her, and thousands of other Australian mothers, fathers, wives, sisters and brothers, this began three and half years of […]

Unexpected journeys through POW records

Dr Seumas Spark Dean of Arts Research Fellow, Monash University My first encounter with the Australian Red Cross (ARC) archive was in 2012. The return home of Australian prisoners of war (POWs) during the Second World War interested me, and I wanted to write an article on the subject. From 1942 to 1945, the Allies […]

War and Peace: Stories of endeavour from the Australian Red Cross Collection

Chelsea Harris Public Programs and Audience Engagement, University of Melbourne Archives Within the University of Melbourne Archives’ 20 kilometres of records sits a relatively new acquisition, some 347 linear meters of records of the Australia Red Cross. Comprising 1,405 boxes across 36 series, these records relate to both the National Office as well as the […]

‘Salut Comarada’’ An Australian experience of the Spanish Civil War

The 17th of July marked the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Despite taking place on the other side of the world, a number of Australians left their homeland to join what many observers saw as a war of ideologies. War erupted after a failed military coup by Nationalist forces (later led […]

Emmeline Pankhurst to Billy Hughes

Mrs Pankhurst, her daughter and the Prime Minister: the suffragettes and the Great War

The recently released movie Suffragette has introduced a new audience to the extraordinary history of the movement for women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom, in particular its militant wing represented by Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). The movie ends before the declaration of the First World War, but the war was to split […]

“sheets and a bed – glorious”

“sheets and a bed – glorious.” So describes Wilberforce Newton’s delight in his hospital accommodations on 12th November 1915. Plagued by suspected bronchitis whilst serving with the Royal Medical Corps on the Western front, Newton’s simple joy illustrates the conditions that became the new ‘normal’ experienced by servicemen and women during World War One. Newton’s diary […]

Alfred Plumley Derham: soldier, medic, poet, ANZAC

Geoffrey Laurenson – Professional Library Cadet Georgina Ward – Assistant Archivist The story of Alfred Plumley Derham is one of a young medical student who showed great steadfastness in the face of the day-to-day realities of World War One: boredom, tough living conditions, separation from loved ones, crippling injury and illness. The letters and diaries of […]

Swallow and Ariell Patriotic Sewing Bee c. 1916

‘We will help until the war is won’

During the anniversaries of World War One we reflect on the many aspects of war and its impact. As well as diaries and mementos of servicemen, the University of Melbourne Archives holds a range of material relating to work done on the home front to support those serving in the war. This took many guises, from women working, children […]