Red Cross

The First World War was a catalyst for many things, including one of Australia’s most enduring and influential voluntary organisations.

Nine days after Australia joined the war in Europe in 1914, Lady Helen Munro Ferguson, the wife of the Governor General, founded the Australian Red Cross Society as a branch of the British Red Cross. Over the next century, the organisation expanded with networks of state divisions and local branches run by women. The NSW Division led the way by forming the Junior Red Cross. 

100 years of Red Cross donated

Australian Red Cross has donated its NSW archive to the State Library.

What do a teddy bear, a dress pattern and a feeding cup have in common?

They are all part of the Red Cross NSW Division Archive.

A women's organisation

Australian women's leadership skills shone through the Red Cross.

A Company of Volunteers

One of the country's oldest and most prolific volunteer organisations is the Australian Red Cross Society

Red Cross under the Southern Cross

The Australian Red Cross NSW Division archive spans over 100 years of humanitarian aid.

Hula girls and teddy bears

Red Cross posters tell many stories.

Voluntary Aids in the First World War

Red Cross women volunteered at military hospitals, convalescent homes and children's homes in Australia during the First World War.

Red Cross calling!


When the call went out in August 1914, following the outbreak of World War I, for the establishment of an Australian Red Cross Society, the response was almost instantaneous.

Sydney's Anzac Buffet

Early in 1916, four entrepreneurial and influential women agitated to set up an ‘Anzac Buffet’ in Sydney's Domain. 

Related Content

Research guide to Red Cross and WWI collections

The Australian Red Cross Society ran the Voluntary Aid Detachments and the Australian Comforts Fund. These groups relied on the dedication of hard working female volunteers.

This guide will help you explore these collections.

World War I collection

The Library began collecting the personal diaries and correspondence of men and women who served in the First World War soon after the Armistice was declared in November 1918.