Tuesday 18 October 2022, 5:15pm

given by

Professor Melanie Oppenheimer FASSA

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Professor Melanie Oppenheimer FASSA

Professor Melanie Oppenheimer (BA, Dip. Ed (UNE); M. Litt (UNE); PhD (Macquarie University) is an Australian historian and a researcher based in the School of History at the Australian National University. She was previously Professor and Chair of History at Flinders University and has held positions in Australian History at the University of Western Sydney, the University of New England and the University of Tokyo. Melanie completed a three-year term as a member of the ARC College of Experts in 2018. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and was elected President of the Australian Historical Association for a two-year term (2020-22). She is a member of Volunteering Australia’s National Strategy for Volunteering Council and Chair of its Research Working Group. Melanie was invited to join the Editorial Board of the Australian Dictionary of Biography for a five-year term in 2021 and also co-chairs the ADB’s Women’s Working Party.

For over twenty-five years, Melanie has been interested in exploring the role of voluntary organisations, volunteers and voluntary action in times of war and peace; the history of volunteering, gender and humanitarianism, with a special interest in the Australian Red Cross and the Red Cross Movement. Her five ARC funded projects include soldier settlement schemes post-WWI; a history of the 1970s Australian Assistance Plan; Meals on Wheels; and a history of the League of Red Cross Societies. She has worked with not-for-profit organisations and governments and is widely published, most notably (with Neville Wylie and James Crossland, eds) The Red Cross Movement: myths, practices and turning points (2020); Volunteering in Australia (2014); The Power of Humanity: 100 Years of Australian Red Cross (2014); (with Bruce Scates) The Last Battle: Soldier Settlement in Australia, 1916-1939Volunteering: Why we can’t survive without it (2008); and Oceans of Love (about WWI nurse Narrelle Hobbes) (2006)Melanie is currently completing a biography of Lady Helen and Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, titled ‘The Imperial Power Couple’, and she recently completed a Fellowship at the National Library of Australia where she worked on the vice-regal project.

To register to attend either in person or online, click here.



The Hon Dr John Charles Bannon AO, former Premier of South Australia, was the Master of St Mark’s College from 2000 to 2007.

The enduring importance of education is a key theme that was carried throughout Dr Bannon’s life: through his university years, political career, teaching roles, and as an academic and historian.

The arts and sports always played an important part in Dr Bannon’s life and this passion is reflected in his other activities over the years, both in and out of politics.

He held numerous board, council and committee positions and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2007.

With deep admiration for John Bannon and gratitude for his legacy, St Mark’s College is holding an annual J C Bannon Oration, open to the public and presented by distinguished individuals who are leaders in their fields. We are grateful to the Bannon family for seed funding for this oration.

The portrait of Dr John Bannon AO above, painted by Robert Hannaford AM, hangs in the St Mark’s College dining hall.



St Mark’s College is a residential academic community for university students in Adelaide. Affiliated to the University of Adelaide since the College’s foundation in 1925, the College today also welcomes students studying for degrees at the University of South Australia and Flinders University.

St Mark’s alumni include two Premiers of South Australia (Don Dunstan and John Bannon), 29 Rhodes Scholars, 47 Hawker Scholars, the 2020 Australian of the Year (Dr James Muecke AM), and many others who have contributed to the community, including as leaders in their professions and through community service of diverse kinds.

The College provides a safe, inclusive, values-based environment in which undergraduate and postgraduate students can excel in their studies and enjoy university life to the fullest. We are an Anglican college which welcomes and supports students and staff of all faiths and none.

The College’s welcoming and supportive environment aims to stimulate our students to fulfil their potential in academic achievement whilst being engaged in a range of extra-curricular and social activities. We actively promote excellence in intellect, character, leadership, and service.

Students from all over Australia and the world call St Mark’s home and take up the opportunities to lead, be part of a team, contribute actively to College life, and do well in their studies. St Mark’s provides support during the important transitions from school to university, throughout university study, and from undergraduate study to work or postgraduate study opportunities.

In becoming a member of St Mark’s College, students join a community to which they belong for the rest of their lives, engaging with a globally connected alumni network. Many Old Collegians, grateful for the opportunities they had at St Mark’s, give generously to hand on these opportunities to current and future students, including through the provision of scholarships to enable students of potential from diverse backgrounds to be able to live and learn at St Mark’s, regardless of their means.

The College looks forward to celebrating the 40th anniversary of coeducation in 2022, and our Centenary in 2025.

To register to attend either in person or online, click here.


The J C Bannon Oration for 2022

The topic of the 2022 J C Bannon Oration is “Volunteering for the Ages”.

To register to attend either in person or online, click here.

To watch the 2021 J C Bannon Oration, given by Professor John Williams, Acting Provost of the University of Adelaide, click here

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