Women in War Time

Last week we celebrated ANZAC Day and held a special ceremony for this event. The theme this year was Women in War Time and we spent our time discussing and exploring what happened to women in World War II (1939-1945). At first the government politely discouraged those women who wanted to perform some kind of military service. However, it soon became clear that the war was going to demand much more than the government had expected.  Women could do the technical jobs normally performed by men, freeing those men for combat.

Before the war, it was generally expected that a working man was the main provider for his family. So, any woman who took a job was somehow taking it from a man, who needed it to support his family. With so many men away at war, this argument could no longer stand.

Many women had the opportunity to work for the first time. Women were recruited to many jobs which were previously considered too physically hard for them: welding, machine repair, operating tractors and other large engines. They made uniforms, weapons and ammunition. They helped build trucks, tanks and airplanes. Women also stepped into agricultural jobs. Many thought women would be incapable of these tasks.

A volunteer force called the Australian Women’s Land Army sent women out from the cities to work on farms: ploughing, harvesting, milking cows. They were essential in keeping up the food supply of Australia. These women began working in areas which had traditionally been male.

There were many nurses who served in active duty.  There were pilots, army personal and women in the navy, as well as ambulance driving, and the Auxiliary fire service. The volunteers service comprising of women was also vital for the war effort. The girls certainly reflected on the situation during this time. 

The Junior School gave thanks for the many soldiers who fought for Australia. Thank you to Mrs Wagner who made the occasion very memorable. Some Year 6 students, accompanied by Mrs Wagner, sang ‘The Last Anzac’;  Ava Cassidy, Natasha Gillam and Ella Jones. The girls sang beautifully which helped us to reflect about this day.

You might like to take a look at the presentation shared with the girls: Women in War Time

What is ANZAC Day?  ANZAC Day, 25 April, is probably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Wreath Laying – Flowers have traditionally been laid on the graves or memorials of the dead. Our Principal, Mr Fry lay a wreath at the base of the flag in the Junior School.

The Ode – The Ode is taken from Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen.

They shall grow not old, as we

that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor

the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun

and in the morning

We will remember them.

(Audience responds)

We will remember them.

The Last Post – In the military, The Last Post traditionally marks the end of the working day. The Last Post is a bugle call played during commemorative ceremonies to serve as a tribute to the dead.

One Minute’s Silence – One minutes silence is included in the ANZAC Day ceremony as a sign of respect. It offers time for reflection on the significance of the ceremony.

The Rouse – The Rouse is played following the silence and signifies waking up to a new day. During the playing of The Rouse, flags should be slowly raised to the masthead. At the end of The Rouse the ode reader says: Lest we forget. The people gathered repeat: Lest we forget.

The National Anthem – Advance Australia Fair is sung at the conclusion of the ceremony.

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