One WAAAF remembers

Look at the memories of one member of the WAAAF

  1. What is her impression of the service?
  2. What benefits did she get from it?
  3. What benefits did Australia get from it?
  4. How valuable is one person's view as evidence?
  5. Using all the evidence on the WAAAFs, how would you now characterise or describe the role and impact of women's services during World War 2?

Judy Stone, WAAAF

I came from a home where my mother did practically everything for me. I went into Bankstown camp and was among the first of the WAAAF in New South Wales. Now just imagine coming from a home where you never cleaned anything. Your main job was to mend your stockings, and to find out that you had to clean everything you used, including the toilets and the showers... everything. Believe me, that was a culture shock! And to think you had to share a bedroom - it was only a hut - with all those women and you'd never even undressed in front of others before. It was so entirely different. It didn't take us long, though - it was a case of survival of the fittest and you had to be fit so we survived.

Very early in the piece there were some servicemen who rather resented us being there but I think in the main most of the men accepted us. They couldn't have handled it without us or a lot of the men wouldn't have been sent overseas. So we were very necessary.

It had a tremendous influence on my life and I think anybody who was involved, anybody who felt they were doing a worthwhile job, would feel as I do - that it was a terrible time, it was a horrific time, but you wouldn't have missed it for anything because it gave us a different outlook on life, it made us more understanding of a lot of things and it made brothers and sisters of a lot of people who would never have known each other otherwise.

(Joanna Penglase and David Horner, When the War Came to Australia, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1992 pages 49 - 50, 245)