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The Australian Home Front - World War 1

The role of women and children and perspectives of war from home.
by

Marion Da Costa

on 18 November 2012

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Transcript of The Australian Home Front - World War 1

The impact of conflict on the
fledgling Australian nation World War 1 as seen through the
eyes of those at home WW1 Begins,
August 1914 Postcards from the Front -
Letters from Home Sox, Jox and Biscuits in a Box Sacrifices at Home Enthusiastic support for Britain
Young men, like Archie, rushed to the recruitment office
Political parties, churches, community leaders and newspapers united
Only the fittest and healthiest were initially accepted Nurses at home and overseas The war demanded EVERY individual's total commitment. Initially, women's efforts to join the war were rejected by the government. However, as the war dragged on, women were able to serve as nurses at home and overseas. How was nursing linked to the traditional role of women in the home? Send Reinforcements - the pressure to enlist Hating the Hun Many posters encouraged hatred of the enemy or confrontation between groups of Australians. Which group of people are we being encouraged to fear and hate in this poster by Norman Lindsay? The Australian branch of the Red Cross Society was established in 1914. Groups formed all over the country to make things and organize parcels to send to the troops overseas. What special things from home might a soldier in the trenches find useful? As the war dragged on, people were reminded of the sacrifices they needed to make at home to help the men and end the war. Some women handed white feathers of cowardice to men who had not enlisted. Letters to the newspapers criticized men who played sport or attended entertainments while their countrymen were dying overseas. Pubs began to close early at 6pm and people were encouraged to give up drinking.
What do these posters say about the attitudes of Australians to making sacrifices at home. Trade agreements with Germany and Austria-Hungary were canceled. 4500 Germans living in Australia were placed in internment camps. At the end of the war, 6150 Germans and other enemy alien nationals were deported. The racial tensions in Australia made the war seem closer to home for Australians. The image of Germans, or the Hun, in newspapers led Australians to believe they were fighting a sub-human monster who committed atrocities. What does this poster represent? What sort of emotions does it evoke? Women at Work As there were many men at the front, women were asked to take on jobs that had once been reserved for men only. Traditionally, women stayed at home, worked as domestic servants or unskilled factory workers. What other jobs might women have been required to do during WW1? Women worked in the public service, banks, on buses and trams and in the police force. They demonstrated strong commitment and good organizational skills. As the news came in from Gallipoli, there was a surge of new enlistments in the armed forces. However, as the slaughter of men in France increased, there were urgent calls across the empire for more recruits.What does this poster urge us to do? Conscription - taking sides The government used women and mothers in the effort to recruit soldiers. In 1916 and 1917, Conscription or compulsory military service was an emotional issue in Australia. Two referendums were held to decide if conscription would be introduced in WW1. What do these posters show us about the divided opinions of women during WW1? Who was being encouraged to write letters? Why would this have been seen as important? Everyone was involved in supporting the war effort, even school children knitting socks for soldiers. Other comforts of home included soap, tobacco and cigarettes, letter-writing paper and enveloped, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razor blades, warm knitted clothing, fruitcakes, Anzac biscuits, and chocolate. WW1 was the first time in history that women had made a major contribution to the war effort. It was an extension of their traditional caregiver roles.
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