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Stars and Stripes jumper

Date: c 1945
Dimensions:
Overall: 450 x 695 mm, 0.15 kg
Medium: Wool
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Audrey Capuano
Object Name: Jumper
Object No: 00009354
Place Manufactured:Strathalbyn
Related Place:Pittsburgh,

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    Description
    This hand knitted wool jumper was designed in the style and colour of the American Stars and Stripes flag. It was made with short sleeves and a collarless neckline by the Australian Audrey Capuano (nee Westley), an American war bride who sailed from Sydney to San Francisco in 1946. During the long wait to gain her passage to the USA, Audrey knitted this jumper and wore it for her arrival in San Francisco. She was greeted with a hero’s welcome and even featured in a newspaper article, being hailed as 'Betsy Ross the Second' for her Stars and Stripes jumper.

    Audrey recalls, "The jumper has only 18 instead of 48 stars - quite enough as it took me two days to put them on."
    SignificanceThis jumper reflects 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. This stars and stripes pattern also reflects national identity and patriotism.
    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. It was 1942 when he arrived in South Australia after his convoy had been diverted to the battle of the Coral Sea, en route to New Guinea. They married at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney in August 1944, with Audrey having to wait until April 1946 for her passage to the USA on the SS MONTEREY.

    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 settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she retained strong links with other Australian War Brides, setting up the Australian Wives’ Club there. She was married 29 years before Bob passed away in 1988. They had four children together and Audrey still lives in Pittsburgh.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Stars and Stripes jumper

    Primary title: Hand knitted Stars and Stripes jumper

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