6th August 2020

Being a late baby boomer, it amazes me the effort people went to to recycling what we would regard as inconsequential, throw away items during the austere war years. Like buttons:

Australian National Defence League

In 1938  a new  “National Defence League of Australia” (there had been earlier incarnations) was established with 3 main objectives:

The Sun (Sydney), 23rd October 1938.

Several months after the new league’s formation a women’s auxiliary was formed. Women signed up for courses in first aid, elementary nursing, physical culture and transport (ambulance and truck driving and maintenance). Later on subjects such as map reading, signalling and drill were added. From 1940 until 1945 they hand-made camouflage netting for the military, each net taking 8-22 hours to make. They also reconditioned clothes and water bottles for the troops, repaired anti-gas eye shields, made comfort packages, and sorted salvaged material. They raised funds for hospital equipment. In 1942 the auxiliary opened a canteen and rest rooms for service women.

From Australian War Memorial: Members of the National Defence League Women’s Auxiliary removing buttons and clips  in 1944 from old Clothes before despatching them to the waste manufacturers.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16th December 1943, page 3.

Lord Mayor’s Patriotic and War Fund

In Sydney, the women’s committee of the Lord Mayor’s Patriotic and War Fund depot were knitting socks and “sewing buttons for soldiers whose tunics are in a state of disrepair” as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. (Men couldn’t possibly sew on their own buttons, could they?)

RAAF Salvage Depot

The Argus, 6th November 1942 page 6.

South Australia Girl Guide Thrift campaign

Chronicle (Adelaide) 30th July 1942 page 26.

Pix magazine, 24th June 1944 page 21.