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All In

Overview
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Documents and correspondence concerning wartime rationing and inventions.

Middle Head garrison, Richard Ashton, 1943.
[Oil on canvas on cardboard 3.6 x 50.6 cm AWMART23662]

A radio broadcast presented by the Rationing Commission to the workers of Australia.
A question and answer session about rationing and coupons? This radio broadcast excerpt from the Rationing Commission answers a question about sugar rationing.
We must share our food. 1944.
[Poster 73.2 x 47.3 cm, AWM ARTV02569]

Rationing was introduced in Australia in 1942.


All in - 'living with war'
Roadside billboards encouraged Australian housewives to assist the war effort.
[Series C2829/1 NAA]

On 9 September 1939, the National Security Act became law. The Act enabled the Australian Government to invoke compulsory clauses of the Defence Act and to control areas that it was not able to control under the existing Constitution. New laws and regulations were required to help win the war and they affected many areas of the day-to-day life of ordinary Australians lives.

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Men and women were ‘manpowered’ (ordered) into essential industries with many women entering the work force taking on jobs previously only available to men. For the first time women were recruited into the three armed services in non-medical auxiliary roles. Despite their importance in the war effort, female salaries were far lower than those of their male counterparts. Although many of their jobs disappeared at the end of the war, the new freedoms many women had experienced during the war years exposed them to wider and more varied employment opportunities. This increase in wartime production meant that Australia experienced almost full employment during the war years.

portrait
Families and communities
were encouraged to
contribute to the
National Savings
Campaign.
[Army Museum of
Western Australia]
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article
‘Australia’s task in total war’ The Herald, 28 December 1942.
[Item 2232/2 Series A5954]

Civilians, as well as the troops both at home and overseas, needed to be fed. New rationing regulations were imposed on Australian men, women and children in order to cope with the huge demands placed on both agricultural producers and manufacturers. Petrol rationing was introduced in 1940 and, in 1942, Prime Minister John Curtin introduced personal identity cards and ration books for clothing and food.

The new rationing regulations included food items such as meat, tea, butter and sugar as well as clothing and footwear. Prices were pegged and daylight saving and shorter holiday periods were introduced to boost production hours. Power blackouts and ‘brownouts’, standard wartime air raid precautions in cities and coastal areas, also saved precious resources.

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The Australian Government also introduced a National Savings Campaign to raise the enormous sums of money necessary to fund the war. Intensive publicity campaigns encouraged Australians to donate to the new war loans funds and to participate in whatever work they could do to assist the war effort. Advertisements and articles in newspapers and magazines and government-sponsored radio programs all reinforced and encouraged the new wartime lifestyle but it was the rationing of so many consumer goods that really forced Australians to practise thriftiness in their everyday lives.

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Personal identity cards were introduced in 1942.
[Item 1943/15/464
Series B551/0 NAA]

 

 

 

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8 May 1945/15 August 1945
Australia at war 3 September 1939
Libya and the Siege of Tobruk 1941
Greece and Crete April-May 1941
Syria and Lebanon June 1941
Malaya December 1941 to Moresby May 1942
Australia under attack 1940-1945
Coral Sea, Kokoda, Milne Bay May-September 1942
El Alamein October-November 1942
The Home Front 1939-1945
The Coastwatchers 1941-1945
Australian prisoners of war 1940-1945
Little-known operations 1939-1945
Papua 1942-1943
The Japanese retreat March 1943-January 1944
War at sea 1939-1945
Air war Europe 1939-1945
Bougainville, Borneo, New Britain, New Guinea 1944-1945
8 May 1945/15 August 1945
We must share our food. 1944.
[Poster 73.2 x 47.3 cm, AWM ARTV02569]
Rationing was introduced in Australia in 1942.
Middle Head garrison, Richard Ashton, 1943.

An encampment for men of the Fortress and Coastal Defence units In Sydney, New South Wales.
The Middle Head Garrison is visible in the distance.
[Oil on canvas on cardboard 3.6 x 50.6 cm AWMART23662]