Position

Professor
History

Biography

Professor Oppenheimer was appointed to the Chair of History in July 2013 . She previously held positions in Australian History at the University of Western Sydney and the University of New England. From July 2016 to June 2017, Melanie was Dean of the School of History and International Relations. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Her research interests include the role of voluntary organisations and patriotic funds in times of peace and war; the history of volunteering and voluntary action; and gender and imperialism. Her ARC funded projects include soldier settlement schemes post WWI; a history of the 1970s Australian Assistance Plan; Meals on Wheels; and sustaining volunteering in Australia. Melanie's centenary history of Australian Red Cross, The Power of Humanity. 100 Years of Australian Red Cross was published by HarperCollins in August 2014. Her book, co-authored with Bruce Scates, The Last Battle: Soldier Settlement in Australia, 1916-1939 was published by Cambridge University Press in November 2016. Most recently, she co-edited (with Mandy Paul and Margaret Anderson), SA on the Eve of War with Wakefield Press in 2017.

Melanie is a current member of the ARC College of Experts.

Qualifications

PhD (Macquarie University) (1997)

M. Litt (University of New England, Armidale) (1988)

BA & Dip. Ed. (University of New England, Armidale) (1979)

Honours, awards and grants

2017 - elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

2015 - ARC LP150100219 co-CI 'Beyond the Stage: Interpreting history through performance arts practice' (through University of Adelaide).

2015 - Winner of Ferguson Prize (with co-author Bruce Scates) for best article published on an interwar theme, '"I intend to get justice": The Moral Economy of Soldier Settlement', Labour History, no. 106, May 2014, pp. 229-253.

2014 - ARC DP150103022 Lead CI 'Developing a community soul: the Australian Assistance Plan and its impact on regionalism, localism and voluntary action from 1972'.

2014 - ARC LP140100528, co-CI 'Creating and sustaining a strong future for volunteering in Australia' (through Curtin University).

2010-13 ARC LP100200065 Lead CI 'Meals on Wheels: building towards a new social experiment for our times'.

2010-14 appointed Centenary Historian for Australian Red Cross to research and write an organisational history, The Power of Humanity.

2010 & 2012 Two research projects with Great Community Transport Inc, 'Protection of volunteers in the workplace'.

2008-2012 ARC LP0883705 co-CI 'A Land Fit for Heroes: A social, cultural and environmental history of soldier settlement in NSW, 1916-1939' (through Monash University).

2007 - UWS College of Arts Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

2006 - National Archives of Australia (NAA) Margaret George Award to research the history of volunteering in Australia.

2003 - Canadian Studies Faculty Research Award for comparative project on Canadian and Australian volunteering during WWII.

2003 - All Work. No Pay. Australian Civilian Volunteers in War shortlisted for NSW Premiers' History Awards.

Research expertise

  • Historical studies

Research interests

20th century Australian and labour history including volunteer work; history of women and war; Anzac centenary including soldier settlement post WWI in NSW; Australian Red Cross; imperial feminism and 'ladies of rank'; history of social policy including the Australian Assistance Plan; contemporary studies of volunteering in Australian and international contexts.

Supervisory interests

  • 20th century Australian history
  • Contemporary volunteering
  • Gender and imperialism
  • History of the Australian Red Cross
  • History of third sector and voluntary action
  • Soldier settlement
  • Women, war and volunteering

RHD research supervision

Current

Principal supervisor : Australian History (2) ; Volunteering (1) ; Biography & History (1) ;

Associate supervisor : Australian History (2) ;

Completion

Principal supervisor : Australian History; contemporary volunteering (6) ;

Publications

  • Oppenheimer, M.N., Eklund, E. and Scott, J. (2017). Reach of the Imagination: The bold experiment of the Australian Assistance Plan. In Jenny Hocking, ed. Making Modern Australia: The Whitlam Government's 21st Century Agenda. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, pp. 88-117.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. and Kleinig, M.A. (2017). Progressive Conservatism and boundless optimism: South Australia on the Eve of War. In Melanie Oppenheimer, Margaret Anderson & Mandy Paul, ed. South Australia on the Eve of War. Adelaide, South Australia: Wakefield Press, pp. 1-16.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2017). Opportunities to Engage: The Red Cross and Australian Women’s Global War Work. In Kate Ariotti and James E. Bennett, ed. Australians and the First World War: Local-Global Connections and Contexts. Melbourne, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 85-101.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2016). Red Crossing for War: Responses of Imperial Feminism and the Australian Red Cross during the Great War. In Michael J.K. Walsh & Andrekos Varnava, ed. Australia and the Great War. Identity, Memory and Mythology. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, pp. 25-39.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2015). "Our Number One Priority" The Australian Red Cross and Prisoners of War in the World Wars. In Joan Beaumont, Lachlan Grant, Aaron Pegram, ed. Beyond Surrender: Australian Prisoners of War in the Twentieth Century. Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne University Press, pp. 75-95.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2014). A Short History of Volunteering in Australia. In Melanie Oppenheimer and Jeni Warburton, ed. Volunteering in Australia. 2nd ed. Sydney: The Federation Press, pp. 13-23.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2014). Voluntary Work. In Judith Smarth and Shurlee Swain, ed. The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia. Melbourne: Australian Women's Archive Project, pp. 1-11.
    [Web Link]
  • Warburton, J., Oppenheimer, M.N. and Moore, M. (2014). Volunteering in Traditional and Social Welfare Organisations: Current Challenges and Opportunities. In Melanie Oppenheimer and Jeni Warburton, ed. Volunteering in Australia. 2nd ed. Sydney, Australia: The Federation Press, pp. 154-167.
  • Oppenheimer, M. and Deakin, N. (2011). Beveridge and Voluntary Action. In M Oppenheimer & N Deakin, ed. Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, pp. 1-8.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2011). Beveridge in the Antipodes: the 1948 tour. In M Oppenheimer & N Deakin, ed. Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, pp. 66-79.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2011). Lady Helen Munro Ferguson and the Australian Red Cross: Vice-regal Leader and Internationalist in the early 20th century. In Fiona Davis, Nell Musgrove & Judith Smart, ed. Founders, Firsts and Feminists: Women Leaders in Twentieth-Century Australia. Melbourne, VIC: Australian Women's Archives Project, pp. 274-291.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2010). Fated to a life of suffering: Graythwaite, the Australian Red Cross and returned soldiers, 1916-39. In M Crotty & M Larsson, ed. Anzac Legacies: Australians and the Aftermath of War. Melbourne, VIC: Australian Scholarly Publishing, pp. 18-38.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. and Scates, B. (2005). Australians and War. In Martyn Lyons & Penelope Russell, ed. Australia's History: themes and debates. Sydney: UNSW Press, pp. 134-151.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2002). Changes in the Nature of Work and Employment Relations: An Historical Perspective. In Ron Callus and Russell D Lansbury, ed. Working Futures. The Changing Nature of Work and Employment Relations in Australia. Leichhardt, NSW 2040: Federation Press, pp. 39-45.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2000). Home Front Largesse: Colonial Patriotic Funds and the Boer War. In P Dennis & J Grey, ed. The Boer War. Army, Nation and Empire. Canberra, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia, pp. 200-214.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2000). An Overview of the Voluntary Principle in Australia. In J Warburton & M Oppenheimer, ed. Volunteers and Volunteering. Sydney, NSW: Federation Press, pp. 9-18.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (1998). Voluntary Action on the Australian Home Front during the Second World War. In C Bridge, ed. Ranging Shots. New Directions in Australian Military History. London, UK: The Sir Robert Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, pp. 45-65.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N., Anderson, M. and Paul, M. (Eds.). (2017). South Australia on the Eve of War. Adelaide, South Australia: Wakefield Press.
  • Scates, B. and Oppenheimer, M.N. (2016). The Last Battle. Soldier Settlement in Australia, 1916-1939. Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2014). Volunteering in Australia. Sydney: The Federation Press.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2014). The Power of Humanity. 100 Years of Australian Red Cross 1914-2014. Sydney, Australia: Harper Collins.
  • Oppenheimer, M. and Deakin, N. (Eds.). (2011). Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider World. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2008). Australian Women and War. Canberra, ACT: Department of Veterans' Affairs.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2008). Volunteering: Why we can't survive without it. Sydney, NSW: UNSW Press.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2006). Oceans of Love: Narrelle, An Australian Nurse in World War 1. Sydney, NSW: ABC Books.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2002). All Work: No Pay Australian Civilian Volunteers in War. Walcha, NSW: Ohio Productions.
  • Warburton, J. and Oppenheimer, M. (Eds.). (2000). Volunteers and Volunteering. Leichhardt, NSW: The Federation Press.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (1999). Red Cross VAs: A History of the VAD Movement in New South Wales. Walcha, NSW: Ohio Productions.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2011). Protection of Volunteers in the Workplace. A pilot study of GREAT Community Transport (GCT) Inc Blue Mountains and Penrith, NSW, pp. 1-34.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2002). The volunteering landscape post IYV: Where to from here? pp. 1-16.
  • Haski-Leventhal, D., Meijs, L.C.P.M., Lockstone-Binney, L. and Oppenheimer, M.N. (2017). Measuring Volunteerability and the Capacity to Volunteer among Non-volunteers: Implications for Social Policy. Social Policy and Administration,
    [10.1111/spol.12342]
  • Warburton, J., Moore, M. and Oppenheimer, M.N. (2017). Challenges to the Recruitment and Retention of Voluntary Nonprofit Organisations: A Case Study of Australian Meals on Wheels. International Journal of Public Administration, pp. 1-13.
  • Eklund, E., Oppenheimer, M.N. and Scott, J. (2016). "Developing a Community Soul": A Comparative Assessment of the Australian Assistance Plan in Three Regions, 1973-1977. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 62(3) pp. 417-431.
    [10.1111/ajph.12271]
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. and Kleinig, M.A. (2016). "There is no trace of him": the Australian Red Cross, its Wounded and Missing Bureaux and the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign. First World War Studies, pp. 1-15.
    [10.1080/19475020.2016.1174590] [Scopus] [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2014). Shaping the Legend: The Role of the Australian Red Cross and Anzac. Labour History, 106(May) pp. 123-142.
    [Scopus]
  • Oppenheimer, M.N., Warburton, J. and Carey, J. (2014). The Next "New" Idea: The Challenges of Organisational Change, Decline and Renewal in Australian Meals on Wheels. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organisations, 29(4) pp. 1550-1569.
    [10.1007/s11266-014-9488-4] [Scopus]
  • Scates, B. and Oppenheimer, M.N. (2014). "I intend to get justice": The Moral Economy of Soldier Settlement. Labour History, 106(May) pp. 229-253.
    [Scopus] [Web Link] [Web Link]
  • Winterton, R., Warburton, J. and Oppenheimer, M. (2013). The future of Meals on Wheels? Reviewing innovative approaches to meal provision for ageing populations. International Journal of Social Welfare, 22(2) pp. 141-151.
    [10.1111/j.1468-2397.2012.00889.x] [Scopus]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2010). The 'imperial' girl: Lady Helen Munro Ferguson, the imperial woman and her imperial childhood. Journal of Australian Studies, 34(4) pp. 513-525.
    [10.1080/14443058.2010.519310] [Scopus]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2008). Voluntary Action, social welfare and the Australian Assistance Plan in the 1970's. Australian Historical Studies, 39(2) pp. 167-182.
    [10.1080/10314610802033155] [Scopus]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2005). 'Hidden under many bushels': Lady Victoria Plunket and the New Zealand Society for the Health of Women and Children. NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF HISTORY, 39(1) pp. 22-38.
    [Scopus] [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2004). Controlling Civilian Volunteering: Canada and Australia During the Second World War. War and Society, 22(2) pp. 27-50.
    [10.1179/072924704791198811]
  • Warburton, J., Oppenheimer, M. and Zappala, G. (2004). Marginalizing Australia's volunteers: the need for socially inclusive practices in the non-profit sector. Australian Journal on Volunteering, 9(1) pp. 33-40.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2003). Taking the Road Less Travelled: A Perspective on Third Sector Historical Research in the Twentieth Century. Third Sector Review, 9(2) pp. 135-146.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2001). 'We all did voluntary work of some kind': Voluntary Work and Labour History. Labour History, 81(November) pp. 1-11.
    [Scopus] [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2001). Rights and Protection of Volunteer Workers: Some Preliminary Considerations. Australian Journal on Volunteering, 6(2) pp. 139-144.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2000). Control of Wartime Patriotic Funds in Australia The National Security (Patriotic Funds) Regulations, 1940-1953. War and Society, 18(1) pp. 71-90.
    [10.1179/072924700791201414]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (1998). Voluntary Work and Labour History. Labour History, 74(May) pp. 1-9.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (1993). Gifts for France: Australian Red Cross Nurses in France, 1916-1919. Journal of Australian Studies, 17(39) pp. 65-78.
    [10.1080/14443059309387160]
  • Scates, B. and Oppenheimer, M.N. (2016). The Last Battle. Soldier Settlement in Australia, 1916-1939. Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2014). The Power of Humanity. 100 Years of Australian Red Cross 1914-2014. Sydney, Australia: Harper Collins.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2008). Australian Women and War. Canberra, ACT: Department of Veterans' Affairs.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2008). Volunteering: Why we can't survive without it. Sydney, NSW: UNSW Press.
    [Web Link]
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2006). Oceans of Love: Narrelle, An Australian Nurse in World War 1. Sydney, NSW: ABC Books.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (2002). All Work: No Pay Australian Civilian Volunteers in War. Walcha, NSW: Ohio Productions.
  • Oppenheimer, M. (1999). Red Cross VAs: A History of the VAD Movement in New South Wales. Walcha, NSW: Ohio Productions.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. (2017). Opportunities to Engage: The Red Cross and Australian Women’s Global War Work. In Kate Ariotti and James E. Bennett, ed. Australians and the First World War: Local-Global Connections and Contexts. Melbourne, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 85-101.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N. and Kleinig, M.A. (2017). Progressive Conservatism and boundless optimism: South Australia on the Eve of War. In Melanie Oppenheimer, Margaret Anderson & Mandy Paul, ed. South Australia on the Eve of War. Adelaide, South Australia: Wakefield Press, pp. 1-16.
  • Oppenheimer, M.N., Eklund, E. and Scott, J. (2017). Reach of the Imagination: The bold experiment of the Australian Assistance Plan. In Jenny Hocking, ed. Making Modern Australia: The Whitlam Government's 21st Century Agenda. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, pp. 88-117.
    [Web Link]

Professional and community engagement

Selected appointments & professional associations include:-

  • 2016-2018, Co-editor of History Australia
  • 2015-18, Member of HCA panel, Australian Research Council (ARC) College of Experts
  • 2014-15, Chair, Working Group Four, Volunteering Strategy for South Australia, 2014-2020
  • 2014-15, Australian Red Cross Ambassador
  • 2014-15, Committee member, Honest History, honesthistory.net.au
  • 2013-15 Committee member, History Council of South Australia
  • 2013-14, Member of National Archives of Australia Anzac Advisory Group
  • 2012, Member of Anzac Centenary Military & Cultural History Working Group
  • 2009 - 10, Member of Commonwealth government's Volunteer Policy Advisory Group
  • 2009 - 10, Member of Commonwealth government's Advisory Panel for new National History Curriculum
  • 2008 - 11, Member of NSW Board of Studies, Modern History Examination Committee
  • 2009 - 11, Member of Volunteering Australia's Volunteer Research Agenda Advisory Group
  • 2008 - Member of Australian Dictionary of Biography's military persons working party
  • 1999 - 2009, Associate Editor, Labour History
  • 2009 - Editorial Board, Labour History
  • 2000 - 2006,Co-editor, Third Sector Review
  • 2001 - 2009, Committee member of National Executive, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
  • 2000 - 2002, Executive Committee member of Australian Historical Association
  • 2002 - 2006, Treasurer, Australian Historical Association

Expertise for media contact

Interests

  • volunteering; voluntary organisations; 20th century Australian history; women & war; Anzac Centenary (Between 2007 and 2009, created "Vita Activa. Discovering the Third Sector" broadcast on ABC Radio National's Life Matters program; also weekly contributor to ABC New England/Northwest's morning program, 2009-2013; and opinion writer for newspapers.)

Contact

Add to address book
Phone: +61 8 82012322
Email:
Location: Social Sciences South (217)
Postal address: GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Further information

Hear Melanie on ABC Overnights, 18 September 2017 talking with Trevor Chappell about Catherine Helen Spence:

http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/overnights/catherine-helen-spence-melanie-oppenheimer/8959014

A story on ABC to accompany the book launch of The Last Battle: Soldier Settlement in Australia, 1916-1939 held at National Archives of Australia, 11 November 2016:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-10/untold-stories-of-australias-diggers-battle-at-home/8012076

https://twitter.com/david_b_fricker/status/796878653648818178?lang=en

Hear Melanie on ABC Radio National's The Money program, 21 April 2016:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/themoney/the-visible-and-invisible-economies-of-labour/7342344

14th Biennial Labour History Conference, 13 February 2015. Melanie Oppenheimer & Bruce Scates receive the Ferguson Prize from The Hon Laurie Ferguson:

Listen to Melanie's interview with ABC 612 Drive program with Tim Cox, 26 August 2014,

Australian Red Cross celebrated its 100 years in 2014. Centenary author, Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, provided extensive expertise on ABC radio, ABC TV and other media outlets. Examples below:

On 12 August 2014, the Governor-General launched Melanie's book, The Power of Humanity: 100 Years of Australian Red Cross (Harper Collins).

See coverage of outbreak of World War One and recognition for Australian nurses. Melanie provides historical expertise on ABC radio and television.

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