Friday, 22 May 2015

Women of Empire 1914 to 1918 {Field Trip}

1914 to 1918 signifies huge changes to role of women in the world.  Women of Empire 1914 - 1918 exhibition is dedicated to the bold adventurous women who took on new roles of support to the men in the war.

This exhibition was a wonderful opportunity to meet these amazing women and to see the types of clothing that they wore. These woman traveled the world.  Some of them stayed home and did amazing things and some traveled to the Western Front but each one did their own unique contribution to keep things afloat while the men served King and Country in far off places.

Women of Empire 1914 - 1918 is an exhibition which draws on personal experience of women from Australia and New Zealand during the First World War.

The original costumes and accessories on display are from the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume Collection.

The costumes used were to display an era; of women in uniform, working women, women campaigning, women fundraising and women in mourning ... These were the Women of the Empire.

Women of Empire 1914 - 1918 was jointly presented by Dressing Australia Museum of Costume and the National Wool Museum.  The exhibition will be touring venues in Australia, New Zealand and other overseas venues.  It is a tribute to the First World War centenary and is a tribute to the EXTRAORDINARY Women of the Empire.

Photo Journal

Florrie Forde (1879 - 1940) - She would perform at up to three theaters a night to entertain the troops and nurses. Florie was born in Fitzroy Melbourne.

Louise Mack (1870 - 1935) was the first female war correspondent.  She published A Woman's Experiences in the Great War in 1915. She toured Australia as a guest speaker raising funds for the Red Cross.

Jane Sam had 16 children.  She is known for having raised a family of war hero's despite her own upbringing.

Matron Grace Wilson (1879 - 1957) was an amazing woman.  She took over a field hospital in 1915 that in her words was 'too awful for words'. The hospital supplies had not arrived and despite the conditions she encouraged the nurses under her and together made order out of chaos.  Despite all the difficulties and primitive conditions of the hospital the mortality rate was only 2%.

  • From let to right: Louisa Blanche Riggall (served as a volunteer for the Red Cross and was known for her passion and compassion. Interestingly she was refused honours back in Australia because she was not registered here.  Her family raised funds for her memorial.  
  • Olive Kelso King was an ambulance driver. She supplied her own vehicle. 
  • Laura Salmond. 
The displays were grouped together and the clothing was beautiful. I really appreciated the attention to detail in each piece of clothing on display.

Dr Elsie Dalyell (1881 - 1948) was a  is know for saving life and limb. Her pioneering protocols for the treatment of gas gangrene saved many limbs and lives. She did ground breaking work on the causes and treatment of childhood rickets.

Mary Elizabeth Chomley (1872-1960) was secretary of the Prisoners of War branch of the Australian Red Cross. She kept track of over 4,000 soldiers who were prisoners of war, keeping track of them,  made sure that they received necessities of food, books and letters. She was awarded an OBE in March 1918 in recognition of her work.

Dear Aunt Maggie ...
I am enclosing a piece of blue ribbon which we wore on ANZAC Day 25th April, the other half I have sent to Mother, it's nothing much but I think you will like to have it. I will always remember ANZAC Day.
This is an original letter written by Monty Markham to his Aunt Maggie in Brisbane on 12 May 1916, he attached a remnant of blue ribbon to the letter.  Those who served at Gallipoli wore a blue ribbon and those who had taken part in the historic landing wore a red one as well.

Queen Mary's Needlework
This piece of embroidery was completed by Queen Mary in 1911. Another interesting aspect about embroidery is that it was practiced by soldiers in rehabilitation.  It was a part of their getting well regime.

Poppy Day 

Nathaniel Ethan and Laura at the 1914+ Poppy Project.

1914+ Poppies

1914+ Poppies is a satellite project to the 5000 Poppies ANZAC Centenary Tribute. Over 4,000 poppies were created by crafters of all ages in the Geelong region and collected between 2 August 2014 - 31 January 2015.

Poppy Day Pin

The very first Poppy Day was held on the 11 th of November in 1921 at the Cenotaph in London. Thousands of silk poppies and metal poppy pins were made to raise money for the Earl Haig Fund for Ex-Servicemen. The little metal pin is stamped 'Poppy Day'.

It was a wonderful experience to be immersed is history and to see the types of clothing worn a hundred years ago and to read the amazing stories of these women's lives and the contributions they quietly made to support all those who were on the front lines of World War One.

If this exhibition comes to a museum near you make the time to go and see it it's well worth the effort.

Linking to:  Field Trip Friday

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