Second World War: home front
This environment represents a typical backyard in northern Australia during the Second World War. The threat of air attack was always present on the home front, and air defence, observation and air-raid drills were taken seriously. There were public air-raid shelters but most schools and families had also had their own. Children were taught to identify aircraft, as they were usually playing outdoors, children would think of rhymes and songs to remember the shape and names of aircraft.
While investigating this environment try to discover what children were doing at this time.
Civilians were expected to volunteer in some capacity for the war effort. This could include Red Cross work, camouflage net making, or training in essential services such as first aid or the emergency fire brigade. John Curtin, the Australian Prime Minister, referred to life in Australia as an “all-in effort” for “all-in war”.
Food and many household items were rationed more and more as the war went on. Mothers were provided with “Austerity Cooking” recipes, which used whatever ingredients were available as alternatives.
Women took over many of the jobs traditionally done by men, such as working in factories to make uniforms, working as part of the Women’s Land Army and in the auxiliary armed services as drivers, radio operators and mechanics. Women working in these roles were issued uniforms of their service.
During war metals and other resources are in high demand but are only available in limited supplies. Australian children were encouraged to salvage aluminium, rubber, paper, rags and other items, these would then be recycled and used for the production of weapons, aircraft and other vehicles required.