This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.
Australian women in World War I
Queensland nurses leaving on the SS Omrah for World War I, circa 1914
Women's Voluntary Registration Office, situated in the quadrangle of the Brisbane Town Hall, 1915. The office was established by the National Council of Women for the purpose of registering women willing to undertake work in connection to the war.
Recruitment posters urging women to get men to enlist
The role of Australian women in World War I was focused mainly upon their involvement in the provision of nursing services. Australian women also played a significant role on the homefront, where they filled jobs made vacant by men joining the armed forces. Women also undertook fundraising and recruiting activities as well as organising comfort packages for soldiers serving overseas. Around the issue of conscription, women were involved in campaigning on both sides of the debate, while they were also equally involved in the New South Wales strike in 1917. Nevertheless, despite this involvement, women have never occupied a central position in the Australian version of the ANZAC myth, although since the 1970s their role has been examined in more detail as a result of the emergence of feministhistoriography, and specialist histories such as the history of nursing.
One of the primary roles for Australian women during the war was nursing. The Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) comprised more than 3000 nurses during the war, over 2,200 of whom served outside Australia. 21 AANS nurses died during their war service and a number shortly thereafter. Nurses were present on the Western Front, and in Greece, England, India, Egypt, and Italy. The AANS comprised trained nurses, trained masseuses, 14 ward assistants and 1 bacteriologist. They served not just in Australian military hospitals but also in British hospitals and in ships at sea.
Hundreds of other Australian trained nurses served overseas with organisations including: the British nursing services, Red Cross, St John Ambulance and the Australian Voluntary Hospital. Australia also sent a number of female VADs to work in military hospitals. An example of these groups is the 20 nurses and a masseuse who were recruited to work in French hospitals by the Australian Red Cross Society, they were dubbed the "Bluebirds" in reference to the colour of their uniforms. The Australian nurses had their roles changed mid-way through World War I. As the war went on, the facilities became better throughout. They were able to clean and sterilize utensils used to clean up wounds. Offer mental support and treatment. And finally offer strong medication.
Other volunteer work
The following women's voluntary organisations were involved in support work:
Adam-Smith, Patsy. Australian Women At War, Penguin, Melbourne, 1996
Barker, Marianne. Nightingales in the Mud, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1989
Bassett, Jan. Guns and Brooches, Oxford Melbourne, 1992
Beaumont, Joan, ed. Australia’s War 1914-18, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1995
Beaumont, Joan. "Whatever happened to patriotic women, 1914–1918?." Australian Historical Studies 31.115 (2000): 273-286.
Cochrane, Peter. Australians At War, (ABC Books, Melbourne, 2001).
Coates, Donna. "Myrmidons to Insubordinates: Australian, New Zealand and Canadian Women’s Fictional Responses to the Great War." in P. Quinn and S. Trout, eds. The Literature of the Great War Reconsidered (Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2001. 113-142).
Fallows, Carol. Love and War, (Bantam Books, Sydney, 2002).
Kretzenbacher, Heinz L. "The forgotten German-Australian stories of Australian history: Lesbia Harford’s The Invaluable Mystery and the predicament of German-Australians in the First World War." Australisches Jahrbuch für germanistische Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft / Australian Yearbook of German Literary and Cultural Studies (2014) 7:45-77 online[dead link]
McKernan, Michael. The Australian People and the Great War (Nelson, Melbourne, 1980).
Oppenheimer, Melanie. "‘The best PM for the empire in war'?": Lady Helen Munro Ferguson and the Australian Red Cross Society, 1914–1920." Australian Historical Studies 33.119 (2002): 108-134.
Oppenheimer, Melanie. Australian Women and War (Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, 2008).
Oppenheimer, Melanie. Oceans of Love. Narrelle - An Australian Nurse in World War I, ABC Books, Sydney, 2006
Reid, Richard. Just Wanted To Be There, (Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, 1999).
Scates, Bruce. "The unknown sock knitter: voluntary work, emotional labour, bereavement and the Great War." Labour History (2001): 29-49.