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WRANS waterproof jacket used by Margaret White

Date: 1968 - 1972
Overall: 980 x 500 mm, 0.2 kg
Medium: Cloth, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Margaret White
Object Name: Jacket
Object No: 00036398

User Terms

    A navy blue waterproof jacket once belonging to Margaret White who served in the WRANS (Womens Royal Australian Naval Service) from 1968 - 1972.

    SignificanceThe history of the WRANS is very reflective of womens changing role in society and their changing participation in wars and world events over the years. From beginning as telegraphists on unequal pay, the WRANS grew to undertake more diverse roles to finally being accepted as fully and equally qualified members of the RAN.
    HistoryPrior to the outbreak of WWII, Mrs Florence McKenzie and a small number of others realised that women could replace men in the field of communications during the event of war. Mrs McKenzie, an electrical engineer, began training women in telegraphy. Her training school was named the Women's Emergency Signalling Corps. Fourteen women were trained by Mrs McKenzie and later employed by the Royal Australian Navy.
    A decision was made by the Naval Board to begin recruiting more women in July of 1942 and the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) was formally established as a part of the Royal Australian Navy in October 1942. Women were trained to replace male wireless telegraphists and some members undertook other positions and worked as motor drivers, stewards, cooks ,writers and supply assistants.
    When the war ended in August 1945, instructions were given for the WRANS to demobilise and the last war time member of the WRANS was discharged in 1948.
    However, an ongoing manpower shortage saw the re formation of the WRANS in 1951 and they became a permanent part of the RAN in 1959. They ceased to be known as the WRANS in 1983 when the unit was fully absorbed in the RAN and women were permited to serve aboard RAN vessels. The title WRANS was disbanded in 1985.
    Margaret White joined the WRANS in 1968 and began her service as a recruit radar plotter. Throughout the years of her service, members of the WRANS were commonly posted to land based areas all over Australia including HMAS CERBERUS, HMAS WATSON, HMAS HARMAN and HMAS ALBATROSS.

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