Memorial Box 5Many women were left largely on their own in the home and workplace during the Second World War. This box explores opportunities opened up to women who enlisted or who took over jobs that had belonged exclusively to men before the war.

The box also examines the emotional and physical impact of the war on children who were thrown into turmoil through loss, evacuation and uncertainty. Other children, although relatively unaffected, were still asked to contribute to the war effort in a variety of ways that are examined in the box.

Resource book

Download the resource book for Memorial box 5.

What’s in the box?

Here are some examples of the type of objects you will find in this Memorial Box.

Memorial box contents
Pair khaki cotton stockings, Khaki fur felt hat, Nurse’s ‘rising sun’ badge, WAAAF recruitment poster

Case study

Read the story of Glyneath Cody (900Kb PDF File), just one of several case studies you will find in this Memorial Box.


Using the objects

  • Classify the objects in the box according to whether they belonged to a civilian or soldier, size and weight, metal or cloth etc.
  • Interpret each object by discussing its features:
    • What is it?
    • What was its purpose?
    • Where was it made?
    • Are there any markings to give us clues?
    • How old is it?
    • Is it still used today?
    Students can summarize their findings on the following activity sheets:
  • Try on the items of uniform and encourage students to go back to the situation and time the uniforms represent.
  • Test observation skills by asking a student to choose an object and to describe it without actually stating what it is, and have others select the object based on that description.
  • Observe the insignia on the buttons and badges and take a pencil rubbing (use a soft pencil).

Using the official documents

  • Interpreting the official documents by considering:
    • What is it about?
    • Who wrote it?
    • Why was it written?
    • When and where was it written?
    • Is it reliable?
    • How is it useful to historians?

Using the photos

  • Interpret photos by considering:
    • Where was the photo taken?
    • When?
    • Who is the photo of?
    • How can you tell?
    • What is it showing?
    • What are the conditions like?
    • Why was it taken?
  • Make up a story based on a photo and act it out.
  • Photocopy the photos and using balloons above the heads of people write in what they are thinking or saying.
  • Develop a collage based on 'remembrance', using the photos as a stimulus.
  • Sequence the photographs to tell a story.
  • Look for links between photographs and other objects or stories within the Memorial Box.
  • Discuss the usefulness of photographs as historical evidence.

Other Activities

  • Ask students to put themselves in the position of a character they have learned about through material in the box and, as that person, to write a letter to a loved one from whom they are separated, describing their situation.
    • My dearest - for primary students (70Kb PDF file)
    • My dearest - for secondary students (70Kb PDF file)
  • Encourage students to ask their parents, grandparents and family friends to show any memorabilia and to share stories about their experience of Australia in conflict.

Book a box

While use of a box in your classroom, library or community group is free, borrowers may be asked to pay a charge for freight and handling.

Make a booking with your local agent.