14th September 2020

War Workers Uniforms, Part 3.

Just a small example of the disregard for women’s war work, from a man:

The Argus (Melbourne), 25th October 1940 page 10.

You must remember that women were not allowed to enlist until 1941, when severe manpower shortages made it necessary. Before that, and after for those unable to enlist, the volunteer organisations provided an outlet for their desire to do something for the war effort. The multitude of uniforms that resulted could have been avoided if Australia had done as the USA did, and designed a uniform for civilian defence work from the outset.

The Argus (Melbourne), 19th July 1941 page 1 weekend magazine.

Australian Women’s  Land Army

Girls were supplied with  khaki clothes including shirts, bib-and-brace overalls, woollen pullover, working boots, ankle and long socks, gum boots, stockings, short and long gloves, mackintosh, street frock and a pair of street shoes!

State Library Victoria: 1940 # 1713826

State Library SA #B 59957

Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS)

The Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) was authorised in August 1941.

The Sun (Sydney), 21st February 1942 page 3.

State Library SA : AWAS 1942.

Commonwealth Peace Officers

 Commonwealth Peace Officers.

See also entry for Commonwealth Peace Officers in the Uniform pages.















This lady was in charge of peace officers working at  South Australian munition factories. The uniform consisted of a tailored navy blue coat frock with chromium buttons on the blouse and pockets, a felt hat with a sliver and blue enamel peace officer’s badge, and “sturdy black walking shoes”.


Women’s Signalling Corps (WESC)

The Women’s Royal Naval Service was formed in April 1941 and disbanded at the end of the war. The first to be recruited were volunteers from the Women’s Signalling Corps (WESC).

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26th March 1940 page 6. The uniforms were green dungarees at this stage.

Australian War Memorial. 1941. Members of WRANS, still in their WESC uniforms.


Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF)

The Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) was formed in March 1941, with volunteers joining from the WESC and WATC (see prior posts). It would be replaced by the WRAAF.

Border Watch (Mt Gambier), 29th June 1954. New uniforms for WRAAF members. The home dress uniform on the left, the one piece cotton biscuit coloured dress for tropical wear on the right.

On the back of the card: ‘ This was the first of the women’s services (apart from the nursing service) to come into being. In World War II these gallant women worked as clerks, orderlies, drivers, flight mechanics, instrument repairers, armourers, to name just a few, releasing airmen for more arduous tacks.’