The Community at War

The National Emergency Services (NES) was established at the beginning of World War II in 1939 to ‘help protect, educate and provide aid on the home front.’ NSW Ambulance and St John’s Ambulance were engaged to provide first-aid training such as that undertaken by Nancy Irene Wallbank (1910–1981) of Dudley a suburb of Newcastle, NSW. […]

Read More…

Concealed Contributions

Hiding a fascinating story behind its deceptively simple appearance, this wooden shuttle was used during the Pacific War (1944 – 1945) to weave green camouflage netting, intended to be used by soldiers stationed in the Pacific. World War II placed an unprecedented demand on Australian communities. As men answered the call to fight, women increasingly […]

Read More…

Protect, Educate & Aid

During the Second World War (1939 -1945), thousands of Australian civilians joined the special organisations that formed to support the war effort at home. Armbands were worn by these volunteers to identify them as members of these organisations, such as the Australian Women’s Land Army, the Australian Comforts Fund, Voluntary Aid Detachment, or the National […]

Read More…

A Fitting Outfit

This brilliant jacket certainly fits the story of its former owner the country musician Tex Morton (1916-1983), born in 1916 as Robert William Lane. Robert or ‘Bobby’ began busking at 14 before recording several albums in Wellington, New Zealand. These are believed to be the first country music recordings made outside of America. In the […]

Read More…

The Lucky Ones

Following WWI and WWII the NSW government allocated land to select returned soldiers, as part of post-war repatriation and reconstruction programs. For those eligible to receive soldier settlement land, and where the number of applications exceeded the number of blocks available, a ballot was conducted. The wooden ballot-box and marbles shown here were used by […]

Read More…

The Cream of The West

Barrett’s Ice Cream, the ‘Cream of the West’, was sold during the mid-1960s in this round blue-and-white tin. Barretts also packaged their ice cream in a waxed, rectangular cardboard container known as ‘The Brick’. For obvious reasons, this once-familiar packaging has not survived. Barrett’s Orange-based ice cream business was founded by Walter E. Barrett in […]

Read More…

Message in a Bottle

Encased in an Eno’s Fruit Salts bottle, this miniature handcrafted sailing ship was posted to ‘Miss Violett Dawes’ by Angelo Laurenza during WWII. At this time Violet lived at Canowindra and Angelo was a Prisoner of War (POW) at the Cowra internment camp. It is not clear why the young POW gave the bottle to […]

Read More…

Merle’s Little Black-out Curtain Dress

This empire waist dress, which has a cross-over bodice and matching bolero jacket, was made from a former blackout curtain used during WWII. After ‘Victory in the Pacific’ was declared in August 1945, the curtain was salvaged by Merle Hadley (1926-2015) from her childhood home in Sydney. The dress was machine-sewn by Merle in 1956, […]

Read More…