Women in War Time

5th May 2017

Last week we celebrated ANZAC Day and held a special ceremony for this event. The theme this year was Women in War Time and we spent our time discussing and exploring what happened to women in World War II (1939-1945). At first the government politely discouraged those women who wanted to perform some kind of military service. However, it soon became clear that the war was going to demand much more than the government had expected.  Women could do the technical jobs normally performed by men, freeing those men for combat.

Before the war, it was generally expected that a working man was the main provider for his family. So, any woman who took a job was somehow taking it from a man, who needed it to support his family. With so many men away at war, this argument could no longer stand.

Many women had the opportunity to work for the first time. Women were recruited to many jobs which were previously considered too physically hard for them: welding, machine repair, operating tractors and other large engines. They made uniforms, weapons and ammunition. They helped build trucks, tanks and airplanes. Women also stepped into agricultural jobs. Many thought women would be incapable of these tasks.

A volunteer force called the Australian Women’s Land Army sent women out from the cities to work on farms: ploughing, harvesting, milking cows. They were essential in keeping up the food supply of Australia. These women began working in areas which had traditionally been male.

There were many nurses who served in active duty.  There were pilots, army personal and women in the navy, as well as ambulance driving, and the Auxiliary fire service. The volunteers service comprising of women was also vital for the war effort. The girls certainly reflected on the situation during this time. 

The Junior School gave thanks for the many soldiers who fought for Australia. Thank you to Mrs Wagner who made the occasion very memorable. Some Year 6 students, accompanied by Mrs Wagner, sang ‘The Last Anzac’. The girls sang beautifully which helped us to reflect about this day.

by Anna Riddell, Head of Girls’ Junior School and Early Learning Centre