PhD (Macquarie), M.Litt (UNE), Acting Diploma (Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, London), BA & Dip. Ed (UNE), FASSA


I am a leading Australian scholar on the history of voluntary action, volunteering, gender and war, and the pre-eminent historian on Australian Red Cross and the Red Cross Movement. My research has high impact and is recognized both nationally and internationally in a range of contexts. I work with academics around the world on historical and contemporary projects, organize international symposia, with my work used by governments and the not-for-profit sector. My research has been funded by the Australian Research Council, the Australian War Memorial, the National Archives of Australia, the Canadian government, the Wellcome Trust, UK and Australian Red Cross. My knowledge and expertise has led to appointments to a range of government committees including the Anzac Centenary’s Cultural and Military History Working Party and the National Archives of Australia’s Anzac Centenary Committee. More recently, in 2014, I was appointed an Australian Red Cross Ambassador and I chaired a working group for the SA Volunteering Strategy (2014-2015). Using both my historical and contemporary expertise on volunteering and the voluntary sector in particular, I am regularly called on by a range of local community groups and associated end-users to provide advice, deliver keynote addresses and invited lectures. My research and research partnerships has led to an increasing awareness and advancement of knowledge in the field since the publication of my monograph, Volunteering. Why we can’t survive without it (2008) that was groundbreaking in its critical attention to the role and impact of voluntary action in Australian history.

Chair of History, Flinders University (2013-);

Dean, School of History & International Relations, Flinders University (2016-2017)

Associate Professor, History, University of New England (2009-2013)

Associate Professor, History, Western Sydney University (1995-2009)

Australian Research Council College of Experts (2016-2018);

Joint Editor, History Australia, Australian Historical Association Journal (2016-2018);

Chair, Working Group Four, Volunteering Strategy for SA (2014-2015);

Australian Red Cross Ambassador (2014-);

National Archives of Australia Anzac Advisory Group (2013-2014);

Anzac Centenary Military & Cultural History Working Party (2012-2014);

Federal government Volunteer Policy Advisory Group (2009-2010);

Federal government Advisory Panel for new National History Curriculum (2009-2010);

National Archives of Australia Margaret George Award (2007);

Member of Editorial Board, Labour History (2009-);

Associate Editor, Labour History (1999-2009);

Member of Australian Dictionary of Biography military persons working party (2008-);

Treasurer, Australian Historical Association (2002-2006);

Executive member, Australian Historical Association (2000-2002);

Co-editor of Third Sector Review (2000-2006)

  1. Bruce Scates & Melanie Oppenheimer 2016, The Last Battle: Soldier Settlement in Australia, Cambridge University Press.
  2. Melanie Oppenheimer 2014, The Power of Humanity: 100 Years of Australian Red Cross, HarperCollins, Sydney.
  3. Erik Eklund, Melanie Oppenheimer & Joanne Scott (eds) 2017, The State of Welfare. The Welfare State and the end of the Long Boom: 1965-1980, Peter Lang, Bern.
  4. Melanie Oppenheimer, 2017, ‘Opportunities to Engage: The Red Cross and Australian Women’s Global War Work’, in Kate Ariotti & James Bennet (eds), Australians and the First World War. Local-Global Connections and Contexts, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 85-101.
  5. D. Haski-Leventhal, L. Meijs, L. Lockstone-Binney, K Holmes & M Oppenheimer 2017, Measuring volunteerability and the capacity to volunteer among non-volunteers: Implications for social policy, Social Policy and Administration, DOI: 10.111/spol.12342