Interview with Patsy Adam-Smith (When the war came to Australia)

Unit Voluntary Aid Detachments
Accession Number F04158
Collection type Film
Measurement 83 min 14 sec
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description Betacam SP/Colour/sound
Date made 24 June 1991
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Period 1990-1999

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Mrs Adam-Smith became a Voluntary Aide working in hospitals in North Queensland for three years. The nursing consisted mostly of inoculations, malaria and worms were rife. Casualties were from New Guinea. Mrs Adam-Smith discusses contraceptives and their availability. Clare Stephenson is mentioned- she founded the Women's Australian Air Force Corp. She discusses the problems encountered by girls who became pregnant. Venereal Disease clinic lectures are mentioned as a total waste of time and incomprehensible in their presentation. Relations with the American servicemen are mentioned. Attitudes to women in the war- both civilian and servicewomen are discussed- servicewomen were well thought of. Mrs Adam- Smith comments on women having to give up work at the end of the war. There was no organisation for civilian women, like the ex-service women for after the war. Women's war effort hasn't been recognised. Identity cards for movement and rations are mentioned. She remarks that since General Macarthur was running the war here, this put Prime Minister John Curtin and General Blamey into difficult positions. Mrs Adam-Smith lists prominent women in the services- Clare Stephenson in the RAAF, Sybil Irving in the Army.