Organisational Structure and Location of Records

We would like to acknowledge those who spent time as children or youths in orphanages, children’s homes, foster homes or any other form of institutional or out-of-home ‘care’.

Organisational Structure

The Australian Red Cross (ARC) organisation can be divided into three Agencies /or Parties:

  • National Office (sometimes referred to as Head Office or Headquarters)
  • Divisional Offices (e.g. State or Territory Divisions)
  • Branches / Units (local groups, which were part of larger Regional groups)

About this Guide

This Guide is intended to direct Care Leavers, and their advocates, to the most relevant sources of information about Australia Red cross (ARC) run Hospitals and Homes. It provides detailed information about ARC records held at the University of Melbourne Archives, and links to ARC records held in interstate libraries and archives.

Please note: Australian Red Cross records at UMA contain no personal ‘case files’ relating to individual Care Leavers. These historic records are primarily adminstrative, relating to the management of Australian Red Cross homes and hospitals. Some of the types of records include: reports, minutes, administrative correspondence, admission numbers, staffing, financial expenditure, building plans as well as photographs of buildings and children. Amongst these are very small references to Care Leavers.

Lady Lawley home WA
Lady Lawley Cottage, WA., from ‘Service in Peace’ photographic booklet of the services offered by Australian Red Cross – Western Australian Division, 1946, Australian Red Cross Society, National Office, Publications, 2016.0055, Unit 12

Location of Records of Australian Red Cross - National Office

Records which have relevance to Care Leavers are held at the

  • Australian Red Cross Archives, Melbourne, and
  • University of Melbourne Archives

It is important to note that Child Welfare, Social Welfare and the running of Hospitals & Homes were managed and administered by the Divisional level in each state & territory

See: Table 2: ‘Location of Australian Red Cross - Divisional Office records.’

However, there are several record series in the National Office records which contain records relating to Children’s Homes, from periods when the Divisional Offices reported back to National Office. See: Table 1: ‘Records of Australian Red Cross - National Office held by University of Melbourne Archives’

One series in particular is the‘Correspondence Files, National Headquarters' (2015.0033). When searching this series, it is important to be mindful that:

  • These titles are historic. For example, there are 207 references to ‘Convalescent Homes.’ ‘Convalescent’ appears to be a term that is used to describe homes for rehabilitating soldiers, and at times (occasionally), also used for hospitalising and housing children, for example with Convalescent Home - Margate, QLD.
  • Correspondence regarding homes, expenditure, staffing (and infrequently individuals) are at folio level (i.e. contained in individual pages), in this continuous file series and are consequently hard to locate. Manual searching is required by date.
  • Names of homes may be listed under previous names, or the correspondence may not explicitly discuss children – so it can be difficult to discern (for a reader who is not familiar with the histories of these homes) which acted as children’s homes.

Table 1: Records of Australian Red Cross - National Office held by University of Melbourne Archives which relate to Care Leavers (as of 9 November 2020)

AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS

UMA SERIES NUMBER

SERIES TITLE

DATE RANGE

ARC PREVIOUS CONTROL NUMBER

FINDING AID LIST ONLINE

NATIONAL OFFICE

2015.0027

ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS

1914-2009

NO13

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2015.0028

MINUTES AND MEETING PAPERS, NATIONAL COUNCIL

1914-2002

NO14

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2015.0029

ANNUAL REPORTS OF RED CROSS DIVISIONS AND BLOOD SERVICE

1914-2007

NO26

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2015.0033

CORRESPONDENCE FILES, NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS

1914-1995

NO33

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2016.0051

PUBLICATIONS - JUNIOR RED CROSS AND AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS YOUTH

1939-2010

NO6

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2016.0054

HISTORY, ROLE AND STRUCTURE

1914-1998

NO9

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2016.0055

PUBLICATIONS

1914-2003

NO11

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2016.0058

JUNIOR RED CROSS AND AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS YOUTH RECORDS

1950-2002

NO21

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2016.0059

MINUTES AND MEETING PAPERS FROM NATIONAL COMMITTEES

1940-2006

NO22

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2016.0060

PAPUA NEW GUINEA - DIVISION RECORDS

1940-1997

NO28

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2016.0077

AUDIO

c.1940-c.1970

N/A

Yes

NATIONAL OFFICE

2016.0081

PHOTOGRAPHS

TBA

N/A

Yes

Location of Records of Australian Red Cross – Divisional Offices

The records of Australian Red Cross – Divisional Offices (e.g. State & Territory) are held across many locations in Australia. Operational activities including Social Work and the management of Hospitals & Homes were administered at the Divisional level. Note that even if records have been transferred to the UMA, it may not be a complete or total transfer, and records relating to Child Welfare may still sit within the Divisional office.

Table 2: Location of Australian Red Cross Divisional Office Records (as of 9 November 2020)

AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS

RECORDS HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO

LINK TO RECORDS DESCRIPTIONS

Victorian Division

University of Melbourne Archives

Several series are relevant.

See Table 3 of this document

New South Wales Division

State Library of New South Wales

Archives of the Australian Red Cross Society, New South Wales Division, 1914-2014

Includes records and objects from ARC run children’s homes

New South Wales Division

Australian Red Cross - Archives (Melbourne)

Index cards containing Admission details to Children’s homes in NSW (1950’s – 2010). This collection is neither complete, nor comprehensive; individuals are identified but often not the homes they were in.

Further records to be documented

South Australian Division

State Library of South Australia

Australian Red Cross Society, South Australian Division, 1914-2011

Tasmanian Division

Libraries Tasmania - Tasmanian Archives & Heritage

Australian Red Cross - Tasmanian Division

Northern Territory Division

Northern Territory Archives Service

TBA

Western Australian Division

Western Australian Division Office

TBA

Queensland Division

TBA

TBA

Australian Capital Territory Division

TBA

TBA

Papua New Guinea Division

University of Melbourne Archives

Papua New Guinea - Division Records, 1940-1997

Records created 1940-1947 during the time Papua New Guinea was a Territory of Australia

Table 3: Records of Australian Red Cross – Victorian Division held by University of Melbourne Archives which relate to Care Leavers (as of 9 November 2020)

AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS

UMA SERIES NUMBER

SERIES TITLE

DATE RANGE

ARC PREVIOUS CONTROL NUMBER

ITEM LEVEL FINDING AID ONLINE

VICTORIAN DIVISION

2015.0026

EXECUTIVE OFFICE CORRESPONDENCE

1931-1998

V61

Yes

VICTORIAN DIVISION

2016.0063

PRESS CLIPPINGS

1914-2005

V01

Yes

VICTORIAN DIVISION

2016.0066

MINUTES: DIVISIONAL COUNCILS

1914-1999

V09

Yes

VICTORIAN DIVISION

2016.0070

MINUTES: DIVISIONAL COUNCIL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS

1938-1996

V94

Yes

VICTORIAN DIVISION

2016.0071

MINUTES OF VARIOUS VICTORIAN DIVISION COMMITTEES

1914-1999

V99

Yes

VICTORIAN DIVISION

2016.0072

JUNIOR RED CROSS (VIC) INDEX CARDS

1940-1990

V11

Yes

Each Australian Red Cross series at UMA has a detailed description and item level finding aid listing (pdf) published on the UMA online catalogue. Item descriptions are at a broad level.

As with the Correspondence Files, National Headquarters, The Victorian Division - Executive Office Correspondence (2015.0026) presents specific issues in searching the series:

  • Correspondence regarding expenditure, staffing (and infrequently individuals) are at folio level (i.e. contained in individual pages), in this continuous file series and are consequently hard to locate. Manual searching is required by date.
  • Names of homes may be listed under previous names, or the correspondence may not explicitly discuss children – so it can be difficult to discern (for a reader who is not familiar with the histories of these homes) which acted as children’s homes.

Here are some useful words to search, when using the Finding Aid listings:

  • Child
  • Children
  • Home
  • Hospital
  • Convalescent Home
  • Welfare Service
  • Social Service
  • Polio
  • Property
  • Name of home (e.g. Lady Dugan, Margate)
  • Location of home (e.g. Cronulla, Malvern)

Additional Information on discovering records

Please note that several ARC Homes have had name changes over the years. The history of individual ARC Homes can be discovered at Find & Connect (either by name or location) https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/

For example, Find & Connect has an entry with the history of the Lady Dugan Red Cross Home (1946-1970). It indicates alternative names for this Home, e.g. Kooringa Convalescent Home.

Lady Dugan RCH
Screenshot from Find & Connect web resource (Accessed 9 November 2020)

The Australian Red Cross has published a list of Children's homes operated/managed by Red Cross. For example:

Screenshot from Australian Red Cross web page
Screenshot (detail) from Australian Red Cross web page (Accessed 9 November 2020)

‘No records available’ in the example above refers to no records being held at the ARC Archives due to the transfer of records to UMA. For the example there are records held at UMA in the Victorian Division - Executive Office Correspondence (2015.0026).

Item Number

Item Title

Dates

2015.0026.00702

Homes: Lady Dugan - Committee Minutes

1946-1963

2015.0026.00703

Homes: Lady Dugan - Committee Minutes

1964-1970

2015.0026.00704

Homes: Lady Dugan - Correspondence (2 Folders)

1950-1976

2015.0026.00705

Homes: Lady Dugan - Correspondence

1955-1963

Table: Example from UMA finding aid for 2015.0026 (Accessed 9 November 2020)

Additionally, in the NATIONAL OFFICE – PHOTOGRAPHS there are photographs of children at Lady Dugan Home (Item listing in progress).

Reference and Support Services

Care Leavers can request to view records directly through University of Melbourne Archives (UMA), or via a support service. archives@archives.unimelb.edu.au +61 3 9035 4337  +61 3 834 40590

Find out more via the UMA Child Welfare Records - Accessing Records page

ARC Archives offers a free reference service and may be able to assist in the discovery of records:privacy@redcross.org.au

Find & Connect Support Services provide extra services for Care Leavers and their families : https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/
Freecall 1800 16 11 09 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm