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Photograph of the 20 year reunion of the Australian war brides of Pittsburgh

Date: 1966
Dimensions:
Overall: 206 x 254 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Audrey Capuano
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00015091
Place Manufactured:United States

User Terms

    Description
    This photograph was taken on June 11 1966 by an Australian Womens Weekly representative. It was taken of the 20 year reunion of the Australian war brides of Pittsburgh, America. Audrey Capuano can be seen seated on the floor in the left foreground. Australian Audrey Capuano (nee Westley), was an American war bride who sailed from Sydney to San Francisco in 1946. More than 12,000 Australian women and children who sailed to the United States on converted troop ships and passenger liners in the years 1945 to 1947 in Operation War Bride. After moving to America, Audrey established the Australian Wives' Club in Pittsburgh.
    SignificanceThis war brides reunion photograph reflects upon the experience of many Australian women during World War II who became American war brides and moved to the USA to start a new life.
    HistoryDuring World War II between 12,000 and 15,000 Australian women married American servicemen. Some migrated and lived in the USA, while others returned to Australia in the years following the war, with or without their husbands. These women often encountered public scrutiny and disapproval for their decision to marry, with many Australians specifically men, resentful of Americans 'taking their wives'. For many women, American servicemen filled the vacuum created by Australian men stationed overseas. During the campaign in the Pacific thousands of American troops were stationed in Australia, at a time when many of Australia’s young men were fighting in Europe and the Middle East.

    Audrey Wesley was born in Strathalbyn, South Australia. At the age of 18 she met American Private First Class Angelo “Bob” Capuano (32nd Division Reconstruction Corps, US Army) at one of the weekly dances held in her home town of Strathalbyn, South Australia, in May 1942. They were married at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney in August 1944, but Audrey faced a lengthy delay before getting passage to the US to meet up with her new husband.

    Departing Sydney on the SS MONTEREY in a group of 410 Australian war brides in April 1946, Audrey was photographed in the Stars and Stripes jumper she had knitted, and 15 days later muscial bands and more photographers were out on the wharf to meet the group at San Francisco. Audrey was hailed in the American Press as "Betsy Ross the Second" - after the legendary Philadelphia seamstress who made the first flag during the American War of Independence.

    Audrey formed the Australian Wives' Club in Pittsburgh for social gatherings and companionship. Audrey and Angelo (Bob) raised four children in Pittsburgh, with Audrey making several visits to see family and friends in Australia.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Photograph of the 20 year reunion of the Australian war brides of Pittsburgh

    Primary title: 20 year reunion of the war brides of Pittsburgh photographed by a representative of the Womens Weekly

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