1993 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research 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 has recently completed a three-year term as a member of the ARC College of Experts. Melanie is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and Vice-President of the Australian Historical Association.

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. She co-edited (with Mandy Paul and Margaret Anderson), SA on the Eve of War (Wakefield Press, 2017) and co-edited (with Erik Eklund and Joanne Scott) The State of Welfare. Comparative Studies of the Welfare State at the end of the long boom, 1965-1980 (Peter Lang, 2018).

In September 2018, Melanie took up a ten-month appointment as Visiting Chair in Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo. She returned to Flinders in mid-July 2019.

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.

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • Australian History; contemporary volunteering (6)

Research Areas

  • Sociology

Supervisory Interests

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


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