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Comforts for the troops

Throughout the war Federal Government House, the magnificent Melbourne residence of Australia’s Governor-General, was a central depot for Red Cross supplies for Australian troops serving overseas. Medical supplies and clothing, and small luxuries such as soap, tobacco and fruitcakes (known as ‘comforts’) were donated by the women of Victoria and delivered to Government House. Its ballroom became a warehouse and factory where goods were received, made, checked and despatched by volunteers, and the stables were converted into a workshop for making furniture and crutches. This silent film clip shows the first shipment of Red Cross supplies being loaded on to motorised and horse-drawn vehicles and leaving Government House for despatch to Australian soldiers in Egypt.

Year:1914

Location:Melbourne, Australia

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Comforts for the troops

Throughout the war Federal Government House, the magnificent Melbourne residence of Australia’s Governor-General, was a central depot for Red Cross supplies for Australian troops serving overseas. Medical supplies and clothing, and small luxuries such as soap, tobacco and fruitcakes (known as ‘comforts’) were donated by the women of Victoria and delivered to Government House. Its ballroom became a warehouse and factory where goods were received, made, checked and despatched by volunteers, and the stables were converted into a workshop for making furniture and crutches. This silent film clip shows the first shipment of Red Cross supplies being loaded on to motorised and horse-drawn vehicles and leaving Government House for despatch to Australian soldiers in Egypt.


Year: 1914

Length: 01:25

Production Company: Australasian Films

Credits: Australian Gazette 312

Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Catalogue Reference: NFSA title: 10407


Location: Melbourne, Australia

Tags: Red Cross, Supplies, Australasian Films, Australian Gazzette

Subject: Red Cross, Supplies


The Australian Red Cross Society (ARCS), initially a branch of the British Red Cross, was formed nine days after the outbreak of the First World War by the Governor-General’s wife, Lady Helen Munro-Ferguson, to help provide relief services to Australian troops. The ARCS quickly expanded, and Victoria soon boasted the greatest number of Red Cross branches and members. Women raised money, prepared medical supplies and clothing for the soldiers, and also put together thousands of parcels of small luxuries. To accommodate the range and amount of flowing in, the Governor-General surrendered the grand ballroom, sitting room and occasionally the dining room of his residence, Government House, Melbourne.

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Comforts for the troops

  • Melbourne, Australia

  • 0:00

    Intertitle: THE AUSTRALIAN GAZETTE. Published Weekly by Australasian Films, Australia, No. 312

  • 0:03

    Intertitle: MELBOUNRE: First shipment of Red Cross supplies for Egypt leaving Federal Government House

  • 0:09

    Boxes of supplies marked with a red cross are taken from a building and loaded onto a horse drawn wagon

  • 0:28

    Trucks and horse drawn wagon depart with supplies. Police officer present.