STORY OF BALLARAT’S FORGOTTEN WAR WOMEN

Research coordinator Jennifer Burrell, Life Member Betty Slater, Hon Catherine King MP, Vice-President Barb Harris, Ballarat Library, 6 June 2014
Research coordinator Jennifer Burrell, Life Member Betty Slater, Hon Catherine King MP, Vice-President Barb Harris, Ballarat Library, 6 June 2014

A $4,500 grant from the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program will enable the Ballarat & District Genealogical Society to tell the stories of civilians who supported Australia’s war effort during the First World War.

Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King said the funding would support the research and online publication of a database that focuses on role of civilians who keep the home fires burning.

“The Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program supports projects that commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women in the First World War,” Ms King said.

“What is often forgotten when we reflect on our nation’s military history, is the people that are affected by the war back at home – the families and the children of our service personnel.

“This project aims to tell their stories and in particular the important role of local women from the Ballarat region who played a key part in the war effort.

“These roles included: fund-raising for the provision of comforts for troops; assisting volunteer organisations such as the Red Cross with the supplies to assist wounded, imprisoned or the missing; enlistment activities; and work in the local mills and factories to produce clothing and printed materials.

“Not only did these women deal with the consequences of war back home but their efforts during the Great War saw them break down the barriers, which lead many Australian women to take a principal role both domestically and abroad in the Second World War.

“I’d like to acknowledge the work of Ballarat & District Genealogical Society for their dedication and commitment to this important project. “Thanks also to the members of local Anzac Centenary Grants committee for their expert advice and assessment of applications for funding from the program.”

The program has already received applications to support up to $125,000 of local projects in the Federal Electorate of Ballarat that commemorate the First World War.

For further information go to http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/grants/index.htm or contact Ms King’s office at 5 Lydiard St North, Ballarat, Ph: 5338 8123.

Hilda Smith (nee Hutchins) age 20 with her children Clarence William Jnr and Hillary Jean  in 1916
Hilda Smith (nee Hutchins) age 20 with her children Clarence William Jnr and Hillary Jean in 1916




Hilda Smith raised her two children alone for the duration of The Great War. When her husband returned in January 1919 from service at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, he saw his 3 yr old baby son for the first time.















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