There's a War On! World War II at home
World War II inflicted momentous changes upon the people of New South Wales. As the cry 'There's a war on!' echoed across the countryside, men, women and children banded together to face an uncertain future. For some, wartime meant loss, hardship or time in a POW/internment camp because of their status as 'enemy aliens'. For others, supporting the war effort led to adventure, love, lasting friendships and new experiences.
There's A War On! World War II at home presents objects, memorabilia, photographs and video footage that present the memories and ongoing stories of everyday Australians living in extraordinary circumstances.
Featured in this exhibition is a collection of artefacts and stories from Wagga Wagga. The identity card of Jack Ellis, a carpenter at Hardy's, reveals why not all young men were able to go to war, while Meg Sheaffe's World War II Female Relatives badge and Doreen Erskine's scrapbook tell the stories of these two inspirational women.
The exhibition displays a diverse collection of precious and practical World War II artefacts, including the delicate lace wedding dress and veil worn by more than fifty Brunswick Valley brides due to rationing of material, and the helmet and diary of Hurstville twin sisters who contributed their bit to the local war effort through the National Emergency Service.
A Museum & Galleries NSW Touring exhibition, There's a War On! World War II at home showcases the varied experiences of the men, women and children who fought the war on the home front, further exploring World War II stories and showing the many lessons that can be learnt from this generation transformed by war.
Loading bails of soft goods at the Red Cross store, Sydney, c.1943
Images: Courtesy Meg Sheaffe. private collection