Blood Donation Day


Government House continued its historic link with the Australian Red Cross when the ballroom was transformed into a blood donor centre for a day.

Then and nowThen and now: A Red Cross depot in WWI and a Red Cross Blood Donation Centre in 2017

About 100 people from the Australian Defence Forces, Victoria Police and the Victorian Public Service took up an invitation to donate blood in the ballroom on 14 July. More than half of those who attended were first-time donors.

The Governor’s husband, Mr Anthony Howard QC, hosted the event as Patron of the Australian Red Cross in Victoria.

The Australian Red Cross was formed at a meeting at Government House in August 1914, led by the Governor-General's spouse Lady Helen Munro Ferguson who resided at the then Federal Government House. Shortly after, Government House started to be used as a Red Cross depot during World War One and the ballroom was used to sort and pack goods to be sent to the troops.

The link with the Australian Red Cross has continued ever since including during World War Two when the Ballroom hummed to the sound of sewing machines and long tables were covered in metres of white linen, cotton wood and gauze as part of the production of medical and surgical items.

Mr Howard with Red Cross workersMr Howard with members of the Red Cross Blood Service.