5th December 2022

Volunteer Women’s Army Auxillary Corps (V.W.A.A.C.)

On page 71 of “Buttons of the Defence Forces in Australia” by J. K. Cossum, printed in 1988, is an image of a button bearing the letters VWAAC. Cossum notes that it was “thought to be Victorian Women’s Army Ambulance Corps.” Cossum did not have the luxury of the internet with resources like Trove ( https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=#) to research. Rather, it was the “Volunteer Women’s Army Auxillary Corps” from WW1.

Farmer and Settler (Sydney), 28th March 1918 page 8.

Table Talk (Melbourne), 16th May 1918 page 22. The first parade held at Victoria Barracks on 17th May 1918.

Australian War memorial, image HO2386. The VWAAC march down Bourke Street on Comfort Fund Day in July 1918.

Bendigonian, 14th November 1918 page 11.

The corps was formed under the control of the Commonwealth Defence Department. They aimed to welcome home returned soldiers and help with repatriation. They helped sell YMCA fundraising buttons, prepared “welcome home” suppers and met returning soldiers at railway stations. Apparently there was some disparaging comments about the corps, which they found insulting. The British version, of which Queen Mary had been the commander-in-chief, had approximately 10 thousand serving in France in 1918, working as cooks, clerks, waitresses, bakers, driver mechanics, assisting the Royal Flying Corps, sail making, as fitters and turner, etc.

The Lone Hand (Magazine), 2nd September 1918 page 415.