Community champs recognised for Second World War service
FOUR former members of the Australian Womens Land Army, Daphne Becker, Iris Rayner, Dorothy Cantle and Margaret Broome have been given Community Champion Awards by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
"The efforts of the Australian Womens Land Army were very important to the country's war effort," Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said.
"We should never underestimate how much we owe these women - for stepping in to ensure that food reached the troops and households and for helping to break down the gender barriers which paved the way for women in the workforce today."
A council spokesman said after 70 years of gentle pushing by former members, many of whom were teenagers when they served, the Australian Government last year officially recognised the efforts of the Australian Womens Land Army during the Second World War to combat rising labour shortages in the farming sector.
From December 1941, when Japan entered the war, Australia's need to build up its armed forces was placed above the needs of other industries.
Agricultural labour was steadily diverted to the armed services and war industry.
Recruits had to be between 18 and 50 years of age, generally drawn from the city and often unskilled in rural work.
This new form of labour had to be heavily promoted to rural employees, who were initially resistant to female labour.
Sceptical attitudes, however, generally changed to praise and respect.
Community Champion Awards were presented to Daphne Becker, Iris Rayner, Dorothy Cantle at the council meeting on Wednesday. Margaret Broome was unable to attend.