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The Women who shaped Australia during WWII
The Moreton Bay Libraries have been holding a series of talks and presentations which commenced in July to November of this year on the subject of "Your History, Our History". The latest of these presentations tells the story of the importance women played both on the Home Front and in uniform in Brisbane during WWII in associations such as WRANS, WNEL, WACs and the Australian Women's Land Army.
This particular talk is being presented at the Arana Hills Library on Thursday 5th November between 2.00 and 3.30pm.
Arana Hills Library - photo courtesy of Moreton Bay Library website
By posting brightly coloured posting around towns and cities during WWII, women became encouraged to enlist and at the end of the war over 66,000 women joined the Army, Navy and Air Force. They made up seven percent of the one million Australians who served our country. As well, thousands of young women left home to join the women's auxiliary services named -
Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service (RAAFNS)
Women's Royal Australian Navy service at HMAS Harman 1941 (photo courtest of Wikipedia)
Female volunteers were recruited from the Women's Emergency Signalling Corps into the WRANS to take up positions such as telegraphist's signallers, coders, wireless transmitter operators, clerks, telephonists, courier's cooks and drivers. During the war, women worked on ships at sea although this was disbanded at the end of the war and women were not permitted to serve on ships again until 1983.
There were many women still at home who went to work because the men folk had gone to war and the industries still required employees. Employees in essential industries such as mining were not allowed to enlist because their expertise was required at home to manufacture items for war. My grandparents and mother lived in Mt Morgan during war time and families lived on coupons provided by the government.
Thousands of United States soldiers were stationed in Rockhampton during the war and it was common practice for Mt Morgan families to accommodate young soldiers on weekends and time off. My Mum has told me the story of the men being only 19 or 20 years of age and that her family made up camp stretches on the partially closed in verandah to house four soldiers on weekends. The soldiers would give my grandfather cartons of cigarettes, which he would barter for pieces of chickens and meat to cook for the guests. Most soldiers returned to the same houses and friendships were made.
Australian Light Machine Gun Team June 1945 (photo courtest of Wikipedia)
My Grandmother joined the Australian Comforts Fund (ACF) who knitted garments and prepared food parcels to be sent to the Australian soldiers at war. Mum remembers knitting washers at school for the soldiers. Grandma also wrote letters to mothers and girlfriends back home in the United States for the soldiers.
If you are interested in history and especially how our women who made a difference to so many during a time of hardship and despair, this talk will be one not to miss.
The library is wheelchair accessible and has a disabled parking and toilet facilities. If you want to stay on later and use the facilities, the library also has five public PCs with internet access and Microsoft Office 2013, a colour and B&W printer, which can copy and scan. There is also a playground, a courtyard area for children and parents' changing room.