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WRANS summer dress uniform

Date: before 1945
Overall: 1075 x 390 mm, 0.5 kg
Medium: Cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Dress
Object No: 00034408

User Terms

    A white summer WRANS dress uniform issued by the RAN.
    This short sleeved cotton dress fastens down centre. The left sleeve features three cloth patches: a white patch with blue stitched text reading "Australia"; a white RAN patch with red and navy blue coloured stitched crown and two crossed anchors and a white RAN issue conduct patch featuring two navy blue coloured arrows.
    The right sleeve features two cloth patches: a white patch with blue stitched text that reads "Australia and a WRANS patch featuring a navy blue and red coloured crown and star with "W".
    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.

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