How Our Region Helped in the Country's War Efforts; Areas, Families, Volunteers All Had Role to Play

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), April 27, 2019 | Go to article overview

How Our Region Helped in the Country's War Efforts; Areas, Families, Volunteers All Had Role to Play


THIS year marks 80 years since the beginning of World War II (1939-1945) and its impact was felt around the world, even in small towns on the Sunshine Coast.

For some families, life went on as normal, especially during the early years of the war.

But for others, their lives were changed dramatically.

The ripple effects of war are still remembered by many local families today.

Residents of the Sunshine Coast recall life during the war as a time when people worked hard to support the war effort and their families.

As well as raising and providing for their families, many women were involved in fundraising.

They organised dances and suppers, entertained soldiers and made home-cooked care packages.

They sewed and assisted with war-time activities such as making camouflage netting, staffing air-raid shelters and learning first-aid.

Nell Cordwell, in Audienne Blyth's book Australia Remembers: Yandina Women Remember, tells the story of working at the Commercial Hotel in Nambour during the day, and in the Allhambra Hall at night, weaving camouflage nets with strong khaki cord and a shuttle.

Soldiers would comment on the great job they were doing.

Another local woman remembers how the greasy twine hurt her mother's hands and that today's modern macramA[c] techniques are very similar to those used then.

Residents who were children on the Coast during the war remember blackouts, air-raid wardens with their tin hats and whistles and the horrible noise of the siren.

They remember air-raid drills at school, and their specially designed hats (similar to a legionnaire cap today), equipped with a wooden clothes peg to bite down on to stop their ears from bursting from the explosives' noise.

Some schools were closed or relocated or the hours staggered and student numbers reduced.

The arrival of soldiers changed the pace of some sleepy towns.

Medical corps enlisted women in their ambulance courses, and some women learned how to pull apart a gun and shoot it as well as how to launch grenades.

On one such occasion, Lorna Fischer recalls in Australia Remembers one grenade being launched right on to the hall roof at Maroochydore, startling everyone inside into thinking that they were under attack.

There were soldier camps from Yandina to Caboolture, with more than 10,000 Australian soldiers and 2000 American soldiers in the Landsborough Shire area alone. …

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