Resources for Anzac Day lessons


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Women in wartime

See also

The role of women in war



  Aboriginal and Torrers Strait Islander people are advised that this page contains images of people who have died.
Women in war Women in action - nurses and serving women (, previously at
- Australian nursing services
- World War 1
- Women's service organisations
- World War 2
- Post World War 2
- Recognising Australian women's war efforts

Women in wartime [pdf] (
, previously at and

This is a saved extract. For the full original page see the archived version.

The nurses' experience of Gallipoli from their letters (
Stories of nurses supporting the Gallioplli campaign, including photographs taken on Lemnos Island.

The Nurses (
The history and role of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps.

Nurses' uniforms (
Uniforms of the Australian Army Nursing Service:
- Nurses' outdoor dress uniforms: 1914-1915, 1916-1918
- Nurses' working dress: 1914-18

Women's role and place (
World War 1 significantly increased the role of women in supporting wartime activities. [If the link appears to be unavailable, try Women's role and place.]

Anzac Memories: The Letters of Francis James Mack (
Corporal Francis James Mack died in France in 1918, aged 20 years. Note the observation on the change in the role of women made in the first paragraph of the letter written home from England on 27 January 1917: "...girls doing all sorts of jobs... to put it plainly, girls are doing everything."

Casualty Clearance: The WW1 Nurses (
Roslyn Bell provides a short history of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps and uses diary entries to describe the experiences the nurses endured during World War 1. This is followed by the story of Alice Ross-King, from Just Soldiers by Darryl Kelly.

Women in World War 1 (
A summary of the types of contributions women gave to the war effort, along with comments on the impact war had on them.

Women's services in World War 2 (
"Comparing image and reality in the WAAAF."
The activity overview lists six components involving investigation:
- the image presented, involving advertisements
- the reality: the reasons some women DID join the WAAF
- the reality: why some women DID NOT join the WAAAF
- what women did

- what women did and were paid
- One WAAAF remembers: questions on an extract of the story of Judy Stone

Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) (
A range of formally organised groups of women formed to help the war effort in World War 2. The Australian Women's Army Service was formed in August 1941 with the specific aim of enabling more men to be released to fight overseas.

Australian Women's Land Army (AWLA) (
The Australian Women's Land Army was formed in 1942 to provide labour in farming areas.

The roles of women in the war ( Interactive Schooling)
The emotional burden, women's place in society, charity and fundraising activities, children's roles, the working class, women and propaganda. (Note that this is a commercial site which requires paid membership for further information and access to illustrations.) For a dot-point summary, see Women and the war Chapter 1: The roles of women in the war.

Development of the Women's Services in the Australian Defence Force (Army Museum of South Australia) [pdf file]
By Mary Bryant and Matt Walsh.
(If the link isn't working, try Internet Archive version, then right-click "Impatient?" and open in new tab.)

Willingly into the Fray: launch media release (
Willingly into the Fray by Catherine McCullagh tells the personal stories of 65 Australian Army nurses since 1899.

Women in World War 1 (
The effect of war on many women was to bring out their political instincts and take leading roles in opposing conscription and war in general.

Women in the Australian military (
A history of the participation of women in the Australian military, plus the story and issues relating to integration.

World War 1 and Australia (
Women at war: This collection of suggested books on Australian women involved in World War 1 could be a starting point for those seeking to undertake further research.
Scroll down for a list of War diaries and letters written by women who served.
Aboriginal women in wartime Indigenous women at war (
Presents details of some relevant books, links to interviews, and images.

Aboriginal women on the home front: World War One(
Women of all kinds had to cope with inconveniences during World War 1 but Indigenous women in particular suffrered from even greater restrictions.

Indigenous defence service (
Scroll about two-thirds of the way down for some general information on the role of Aboriginal and Islander women and a reference to the work of Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker).

Aboriginal women and girls knitting for the war effort, 1941 (
Coomeroogunga women and girls (Image: AWM)Information about a photograph of women and girl knitters at the Cumeroogunga Reserve (NSW) in 1941. Note the description and comments under "Educational value" at the right. Click "Continue" to see the photograph.

WW1's only identified Indigenous woman, Marion Leane Smith (
Marion Leane Smith (Image: SBS)Dharug woman Marion Leane Smith was the only "identified" Aboriginal Australian woman to have served in World War 1 - but she had grown up in Canada and trained as a nurse in the United States. She did her war service as a nurse in France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
See also An Indigenous nurse in World War One: Marion Leane Smith by Philippa Scarlett,, 30 Oct 2013

History of women in war Nurses: from Zululand to Afghanistan (
The history of Australian nurses in war corresponds with the history of women in war the further back you go. Note that this collection from the Australian War Memorial covers seven pages:
- Main page
- Introduction
- Boer War
- Great War (First World War)
- Second World War
- Cold War
- Military nursing today
Relation-ships Of Love and War (
Many women suffered separation and personal loss during war, and some gained relationships, as covered in this Australian war memorial collection:
- Introduction
- First glance
- Separation
- The future
- Stories of Love and War (information about a book with this title) - Link not working 26 Jan, 13 Mar 2017. If still not working try Stories of Love and War.
Profiles of women

Australian Women in War (
- About this project
- Browse biographies of 184 individual women
- Browse 33 organisations supporting women in war directly or indirectly
- Browse commemorations
- Browse
more online resources

Meet courageous Queensland women who served in World War 1 (
Information about:
- Eleanor Bourne, doctor
- Annie Cuskelly, nurse
- Marion Winifred 'Winnie' Croll, nurse
- Annie Grant Sim, nurse
- Jane 'Jinny' McLennan, nurse

Australian nurses in World War 1 (
A brief history of nursing during World War 1 in particular, followed by a list of links to stories about 29 nurses in the Orange (NSW) area.

Australia's women doctors in the First World War (
Women doctors were keen to risk their lives or undego particularly uncomfortable conditions in World War 1. This blog post describes the history and contribution of two Australian doctors:
- Isobel Ormiston
- Agnes Bennett

The forgotten women doctors of the Great War (
This article by Heather Sheard examines why Australian women doctors were keen to serve in the World War 1, and provides information about two doctors:
- Laura Forster
- Isobel Ormiston


Evelyn Gertrude Brooke (
New Zealand nurse.

Brooke, Evelyn Gertrude (
Biography of Evelyn (Eva) Gertrude Brooke, civilian and military nurse.

● See also our entry for Evelyn Gertrude Brooke on our New Zealand biography page


Captain Vivian Bullwinkel (
Vivian Bullwinkel belonged to the Australian Army Nursing Service and was the sole survivor of the Banka Island massacre in 1942.


Alice Cashin (
During World War 1, Australian nurse Alice Cashin first worked in a hospital in France. After joining the army's nursing service reserve she took charge of a ward in a hospital in Egypt and later she survived a torpedo attack on a hospital ship.


Dr Phoebe Chapple (
During World War 1 Phoebe Chapple joined the army medical corps and was one of the first two women doctors to serve at the front. She was the first woman doctor to receive a Military Medal (MM).


Alice Ross-King (Image: Mark Appleford)Alice Ross-King (
Alice Ross-King enlisted in the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) in November 1914. She served in Egypt and accompanied wounded Gallipoli soldiers who were returned to Australia. She later served in France, experiencing some close shaves. Alys Ross-King changed her name to Alice and as a nurse was known as Sister Alice Ross-King, Sister Alice Ross or Sister Ross. After her marriage to a doctor her name became Alice Appleford.


Marion Leane Smith (
Marion Smith was an Australian-born Aboriginal who moved to Canada as a child, trained as a nurse in the USA and in 1917 volunteered to serve in World War 1 as a nurse. (See above for more information.)



Anzac Kids


Activities for students Australian Women in War (
From this page you can download the (very large) complete document Australian Women in War [pdf 24MB], or from the same page download the following sections individually (as pdf files):
- Introduction for Teachers
- Unit 1: Australian Women in the Second South African Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)
- Unit 2: Australian Women in World War I (1914-1918)
- Unit 3: Australian Women in World War II (1939-1945)
- Unit 4: Australian Women in British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) and the Korean War (1946-1953)
- Unit 5: Australian Women in the Vietnam War (1962-1973)
- Unit 6: Australian Women in the Australian Defence Force and in Peace Operations (1947 – Today)
- Unit 7: Australian Women and Commemoration

Australian nurses (primary) (
Provides many pdf files of activities involving Australian nurses, some specific to the Boer War, the First World War and the Second World War, and some of a general nature.

Australian nurses (secondary) (
Like the previous item, this page provides many pdf files of activities involving Australian nurses, some specific to the Boer War, the First World War and the Second World War, and some of a general nature.

Women at War: The changing role of women in times of conflict [pdf file] (archived from
Part of Working the Web. Some of the content of this archived collection of activities for students (such as references to other web pages) is out-of-date. The document is no longer held on the DVA website but the link to an archived copy is provided here for teachers who may be referring students to the activities that are still useful.

World War 1: Women in War (
Quite a range of ways in which women supported the war effort in World War 1 are outlined, as well as a number of source documents such as photographs.
Suggested student research activities arethen suggested.

Women in War (

Unit 7: Australian Women and Commemoration

Women in the Australian Defence Force: Do they have an equal role to men? [pdf] (
See background to this activity.

Videos Scenes in an Anzac Hostel (1919) (
Two-minute movie clip from 1919 showing nurses attending bed-ridden former Anzac soldiers.

Nurses: from Zululand to Afghanistan - videos (
This web page includes two videos.
Booklets to download Australian War Memorial booklets to download (
- Devotion:
wartime nurses (56 pages)
- Audacity:
heroic Australians (60 pages)
- Forever Yours:
wartime love and friendship (60 pages)
- We'll Meet Again:
love in wartime (114 pages)
Songs The Veil of Night  (
This song by singer/songwriter Lugh Damen is dedicated to wartime and post-war women healers and nurses. The lyrics [pdf] are available. For more information see our Modern Anzac Day music page.
Issues Women in Australia's military: On the frontline of the gender war (
This contribution argues the case for active participation of women in all military activities.
Famous speeches on women in war Kate Warner's Anzac Day Address 2017 [pdf] (
Speech on women in World War 1 and World War 2 by Her Excellency Professor Kate Warner, Governor of Tasmania, 25 April 2017.

Women in War, by Robert Menzies, 1942 (
Transcript of Robert Menzies' Women in War speech which was broadcast on Radio 2UE during World War 2 (on 20 February 1942).

Tim Fischer's Anzac Day Speech 1998 (
Speech on Australian Women in War by Tim Fischer, Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 25 April 1998.

See also:

Speeches by women ABOUT war:

10 famous speeches by women about war (

Speeches by women AGAINST war:

Manifesto: Australian Women's Peace Army (
Vida Goldstein's anti-conscription speech, Melbourne, 1916.

Academic paper Women and Anzac Day in Western Australia: newspaper representation in the 1960s [pdf] (
Paper presented to a sociology conference. Analyses the representation of women in Anzac Day commemorations using newspaper reports.
Books Heroic Australian Women in War (
By Susanna de Vries. Tells the stories of eleven women.

The Other Anzacs: Author's comments (
Peter Rees, author of The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War 1914-1918, provides some introductory comments about his book about the participation of nurses in World War 1.
See also:
Transcript of ABC Stateline interview (archive) with Peter Rees on his book, The Other Anzacs.

Looking for a book about WW1 nurses? (
A selection of books about Australian nurses in World War 1. It is pointed out that many of the books are now out of print.

Lists of links Women in wartime (archived from
Scroll down for a list of print references.
MORE... See also:

Lighthouse Girl in Books: Anzac Fiction

Gallipoli letters

Anzac issues

Nursing, Lemnos Island, off Gallipoli, 1915

Sick nurses, Lemnos Island, off Gallipoli, 1915

Photos from State Library of NSW.




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