Vera Deakin in War and Peace

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 05:30 PM


Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Gallery Downstairs
239 A'Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Google map and directions

Event contact

Rosemary Cameron


The RHSV’s major lecture during Women’s History Month (March). The lecture will start at 6pm and we will be serving drinks prior to that from 5:30pm.

The daughter of Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, Vera Deakin studied music in the Habsburg Empire on the eve of the Great War. Driven by British imperial fervour on her return to Australia, she bypassed the government’s restrictions on women’s participation in the war effort by serving with the fledgling Australian Red Cross. Aged only 23 in 1915, she became the founding secretary of the Australian Red Cross Wounded & Missing Enquiry Bureau in Cairo and later London. Narrowly avoiding replacement by a man, she showed outstanding leadership and was appointed OBE. In peace she married an adventurous military pilot, Captain Thomas White, later a cabinet minister. When he was knighted, she became Lady White. Vera led several humanitarian causes but her lodestar remained the Red Cross.

Carole Woods OAM is a Fellow and honorary secretary of the RHSV. A former librarian, bibliographer and freelance historian, she has been a longtime advocate for community history. She chaired the judges’ panel of the Victorian Community History Awards for seven years and curated two exhibitions at the RHSV.  Her books include Beechworth. A Titan’s Field and the recently published Vera Deakin and the Red Cross.

Chaired by Dr Judith Smart AM.

Because of COVID restrictions it is absolutely necessary to book in advance. 
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$10.00 AUD · Purchase tickets


The History Council of Victoria Incorporated (HCV) is the peak body for history in the Australian state of Victoria. Its vision is to connect Victorians with history and to inspire engagement with the past, their identity and the world today. The HCV champions the work of historians and the value of history. It recognises that history can be written about any place, any person, any period. The HCV advocates why history matters.

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The HCV was formed as an advisory body in 2001 and incorporated in 2003. It comprises representatives from cultural and educational institutions and heritage bodies; history teachers and curriculum advisors; academic and professional historians; and local, Indigenous, community and specialist history organisations.

As the peak body for history, the HCV has both ‘outward-looking’ roles (including advocacy and representation to government and the wider community, consultation, community education, and networking with allied interest groups) and ‘inward-looking’ roles (including member support, information dissemination, and networking between members).



The History Council of Victoria acknowledges the State Library of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria for supply of the archival images that appear on this website.

We acknowledge the National Film and Sound Archive for the right to use of the video footage on the home page, titled "Melbourne: Life in Australia (1966)".

Image credits

  • Italian sailors on ship at Port Melbourne 1938, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese procession in Collins near Elizabeth Street 1901, Harvie & Sutcliffe, photographers, State Library of Victoria
  • People’s homes, Aboriginal station Coranderrk 1878, Fred Kruger Photographer, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese nurses at Children’s Hospital under scholarship 1947, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Ladies physical culture class VRI Melbourne c1931, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001, 011/02
  • Melbourne Cup, Derby and Oaks Day, Flemington Racecourse 1936, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001/4802, 372/30
  • Flinders Street viaduct at foot of Market Street with advertisement for McRobertson’s Chocolate on bridge, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12800/P0003, ADV 1342