Women at War

Katanning’s daughters at war

Members of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) during July 1915

Group portrait of members of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) most of whom embarked from Australia on the Orsova during July 1915, outside the Ivanhoe Hotel in London. Identified from left to right, back row: Sisters Inez Clare Cronin; McKinnon; Catherine Christina McSpedden; Alice Tryphens le Mesurier (Messurier); Hannah Coonan; Victoria Dorothy Christenson; Annie McHardy; Toan. Fourth row: Sisters Wildash; Wearne (probably Dorothy Wearne); Kathleen Byrne; Florence Laura Lewis; Catherine McGillivray; Elizabeth Grover; Emily Cornelia Parish; Amelia Uren; Catherine Temby Uren; Kathleen L Walker; I Walker. Third row: Sisters Kennedy; Florence Vines; Neta Burns; Pearl Lottie Trayhurn (later Mrs Harry Jackson); Dorothea Mary Agnes Burkitt; Grace Lacy Love; Neta May Smallwood; Bartlett; Fanny Isabella Hammersley; Leitch; Violet Grace Jenkins; Marchant; Ivy Norma Kathleen Ritchie; Laura May Begley; Catherine Louie Harden; Alice Bull; Edith Jones. Second row: Sisters Ryan; Ethel Buchanan; Moffat; Elanor Edith Moore; Rachael Clouston; Collins; Ina Mary Were; Mary Ellen Fisher; Mary Morton McAnene; Matthers; Taylor (probably Ruth Stewart Taylor); Lillian May Clarke; Catrina Dawson; Beatrix Myra Thompson; Helen Kidder Gilham; Odgers; Ellen Mary Ellis; Violet Irene Clarke; Elsie Dora Smith; Annie Florence Roberts; Daisy Valerie Corkhill. Front row: Sisters Adeline Beatrice Gertrude Priestley; Laura Mary Lyne (Lyme); Ruth Stewart Taylor; Catherine Munro; Helena Caroline Symons (Symonds); Mary Eveline Nicholson; Gertrude Francis Moberley; Humphries; Matron Ethel M Strickland; Matron Alice Mary Cooper; Sisters Florence Mary Mulholland; Maggie Jones; Ida Marie Axelsen (Axelson); Alice Jane Camac (Carnac); Kitson; Winnifred Jane Smith


Elizabeth Grover

Elizabeth Grover from Katanning
Elizabeth Grover – 25 April 1917

Elizabeth GROVER
Place of birth:
Kogeneh, Western Australia
Religion: Roman Catholic
Occupation: Nurse
Address: Katanning, Western Australia
Marital status: Single
Age at embarkation: 40
Next of kin: Mother, Mrs B M Grover, ‘Indinup’, Kojonup Road, Katanning, Western Australia
Enlistment date: 12 June 1915
Rank on enlistment: Staff Nurse
Unit name: Convalescent Depot, Harefield Park, London
AWM Embarkation Roll number: 26/84/1
Embarkation details:
Unit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A67 Orsova on 22 July 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll: T/Sister
Unit from Nominal Roll: Australian Army Nursing Service
Fate: Returned to Australia 6 February 1919

100 Years of Australian Women and War

Australian Red Cross

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Women in action – nurses and serving women

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For centuries women have been involved in every kind of war and conflict imaginable, especially as nurses. Australian nurses have dealt face-to-face with war – the sick, the wounded and the dead. They have served in Australia, in war zones across the world and on hospital ships and transports.

More recent conflicts have seen the gender based boundaries traditionally seen in wartime blur. These days, there are few jobs within Australia’s armed services that are not open to women. Female soldiers, sailors and airwomen are now commonplace.

And while women still fulfil traditional roles of administrators and nurses, it is not unusual to see male nurses and female doctors working together on military missions, such as when the Australian military provided support to victims of the December 2004 tsunami in Indonesia. Read more >>>


Australian Women’s Land Army

The involvement of Australian women in each war is closely connected to their role in society at different times, and the nature of each war.

Australia has been involved in a number of wars including The Boer War (1899–1902), World War I (1914–1918), World War II (1939–1945), The Korean War (1950–1953), The Vietnam War (1962–1972) and The Gulf War (1990–1991).

On the home front, women dealt with the consequences of war—managing children and family responsibilities alone, shortages of resources, as well as their fears for the future, and the grief and trauma of losing loved ones.

Many women were also actively involved as nurses and in other active service duties, and contributed more actively to war efforts through military service. Other Australian women were also closely connected with war through male relatives and friends away on military service.

In World War II, women were actively recruited into jobs that had always been the preserve of men; they worked in factories and shipyards, as members of the Women’s Land Army and as Official War Artists. Read More >>>

Members of Australia’s Land Army


Establishment of the Australian Women’s Land Army

On 27 July 1942, the Australian Women’s Land Army (AWLA) was established as a national organisation, reporting to the Director-General of Manpower. The aim of the AWLA was to replace the male farm workers who had either enlisted in the armed services or were working in other essential war work such as munitions. The AWLA was not an enlisted service, but rather a voluntary group whose members were paid by the farmer, rather than the government or military forces. Membership of the AWLA was open to women who were British subjects and between the ages of 18 and 50 years. Housed in hostels in farming areas, members were given formal farming instruction and were initially supplied with uniform, bedding etc. Members were not engaged in domestic work rather they undertook most types of work involved with primary industries. The organisation was to be formally constituted under the National Security Regulations, but a final draft of the National Security (Australian Women’s Land Army) Regulations was not completed until 1945, and did not reach the stage of promulgation due to cessation of hostilities and the decision to demobilize the Land Army.  A ‘Land Army’ was established in each state and administered that state’s rural needs, though some members were sent interstate when available. In September 1945 it was decided that complete demobilization of the Australian Women’s Land Army would take effect not later than 31 December 1945. Read more >>>