Thursday, February 9, 2012

Photos of Australian Women in WWII

This is a post that I've had queued for a while for a day when I wasn't sure what else to post. So, here are some great home front photos I found of Australian women in World War II on Flickr. I've seen many good quality photos of women from America and other places during WWII, but very few of Australian women and I was very drawn to these shots. All of the captions are taken from the Flickr photo page and all photos link back to this source.

Armature winding

Stacking practice bombs

Picking almonds at Hamilton's Vineyard 

Cutting driving bands for anti-aircraft shells 

Cleaning dust from Beaufort bomber oil tanks 

Making brass fittings for military tanks 

Drilling parts of a Beaufort bomber 

All of the pictures above are from the State Library of South Australia Flickr Stream (see the full set here) and are all in the Creatives Commons License set.

I think it's fair to say that they were all staged photos (and reminiscent of some of the photos of women in this set from the Library of Congress) but knowing that they were taken of women, not just in Australia, but South Australia, makes them extra special to me.

1942 422 WANS Land Army Girls at Gosford 

{Australian Land Army girls at a farm near Gosford. During war time service with the WANS (Womens Auxiliary National Service), Land Army. Wamberal, Gosford.. New South Wales. 1942.}

1942 423 WANS Land Army Girls 

{Women volunteers in the Australian Land Army. During war time service with the WANS (Womens Auxiliary National Service), Land Army. Gosford. New South Wales. 1942.}

1942 424 fun in the WANS Land Army 

 {Combat practice in the Australian Land Army. During war time service with the WANS (Womens Auxiliary National Service), Land Army. Gosford. New South Wales. 1942.}

The three images above were taken from this set. I like these last images as a contrast to the very obviously staged ones from the library collection. I also love the camaraderie that comes through in these, as opposed to the staged images, where the women seem fairly isolated, even when pictured with other women. 

One day I'd really love to research the role of women in Australia in World War II some more because there seems not to be a whole lot written on this area (though I could be looking in the wrong places, of course). If I ever get around to that, I'll probably write more on the blog so excuse the relatively small amount of text in this post. If anyone does have some resources (I have a couple of documentaries - Paper Dolls and Girls Own War Stories - plus the book, Our Girls, which acts as a good companion to Paper Dolls as well as some internet sources) in this area (which is probably a little vague), I'd greatly appreciate it! 

Andi B. Goode


  1. Those ladies look like hard workers!!! I love the curls in the bangs!

  2. This is wonderful, thank you for sharing this glimpse into our history! You're so right about there not being too much out there about Australian women during the war. There should be!

    I love the lass wearing her scotty dog brooch while making brass fittings!

  3. Great pictures! I love the lady with the fancy curls and the Scotty-dog pin who's working on parts for a tank (!)
    Thanks for sharing these :-)

  4. Oh, these are so interesting! I never even realised we had such a contribution to the war effort in SA.

    My grandma was in the WAAAF (I think that's the right acronym) up at Wagga Wagga and I've always loved hearing her stories and seeing her photos from around that time :)

  5. This is such an amazingly brilliant post! I very rarely see photographs of Australian women from WWII, and am actually immensely happy you posted these!

    Paris of Juno Barrington Vintage

  6. this is such a good post - these images are so interesting!

  7. I always enjoy photos of women from the WWII era because we always hear about the male perspective but hardly see the role of the ladies, which seems monumental because they were in the factories directly assisting! Thanks for posting these, I did a series on Black American women in WWII myself and I'd like to see women all over the world spotlighted for their work during that time :)

  8. How wonderful. These really tell a story. I won't forget this images, thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Seeing our Australian women in WWII is always wonderful, great images, thx.

  10. Hello dear!
    I love your blog and your way of dressing.
    You have beautiful clothes and you are very sweet!
    There is very little time I have my blog, so it is still in the beginning.
    Sorry for my bad english.

    With Love
    Miss Lil'Susie*


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