Delving into the history of war, we see that women are represented in many and varied roles, from the life-saving nurses and medical staff, the munitions workers and support roles, such as drivers, to the work that women did at home to keep the home fires burning.
Serving at home and away
Above left: Women's Land Army recruiting poster (Australian War Memorial ARTV01103) Above right: Nurses in Queensland, 1944. Nurse tending a wounded soldier (Australian War Memorial P00784.008).
Private Porter's (the original recipient of ANZAC Cottage) youngest daughters, Doreen and Marjorie, were both air raid wardens during World War II. Marjorie eventually joined the Australian Women's Army Service and was stationed at Cockburn and Garden Island, in the 66 Anti-aircraft (AA) searchlight (SL) battery. Marjorie and her colleagues were charged with the responsibility of the safety of our Western Australian coast, especially in our most vulnerable area around Fremantle.
Other members of the AWAS worked in diverse roles, including as drivers, stenographers and in the communications field. Let us not forget the famed Australian Women's Land Army (AWLA), where women took on the tasks and work traditionally undertaken by males to keep our primary industries ticking over.
Remember the bravery and dedication of the gallant medical staff, who were so often close to the front, the women who worked behind the lines in intelligence, and so many others who served our nation.
On a personal note
I have great admiration for those women who kept the home fires burning. Many women were in required industries, such as my mother (a switchboard operator, during WW II, in a small town some distance north of Perth). Her employer declined to sign her application to join the AWLA, noting that she was in a 'reserved occupation'. As a farmer's daughter, and eminently suited to the task, the rejection was one of her great regrets.
Claremont Air Raid Precautions (ARP) wardens marching, 4 July, 1943 (State Library of Western Australia 221604PD).
Entry is free with afternoon tea available for a gold coin donation.
All are welcome to attend this important event, and access more information about ANZAC Cottage, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling Anne on 0411 44 55 82. Check updates on their Facebook page, and learn a little more about the Cottage and its importance to our history.