Image Enrolling in the Land Army, c1944

TLF ID R3180

This is a posed black-and-white photograph, measuring 24.7 cm x 19 cm and taken around 1944 in Drouin, Victoria by Jim Fitzpatrick. It shows a formally dressed young woman seated in front of a desk labelled 'War Agricultural Committee'. A man, seated behind the desk, is handing her a book entitled 'Food front'. The furniture is basic, and in the background are a hand basin and a stove heater. Posters are attached to the wall. The photograph is labelled on the reverse: 'U429/104. War Agricultural Committee for Central Gippsland (7,000 sq. miles of rich dairying country) is headquartered at Drouin. Arthur Holmes, chairman, enrols a Drouin girl in the Women's Land Army, a wartime organisation formed to counter manpower deficiencies. Holmes is an agricultural expert employed by the Commonwealth Government'.



Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows Arthur Holmes, Chairman of the War Agricultural Committee for Central Gippsland and an agriculture expert, whose task it was to encourage food production and coordinate the supply of farm labour in the area - many tasks normally associated with younger men were undertaken by women and middle-aged men during the Second World War because so many younger men were serving in the armed forces in 1944.
  • It shows a young woman enrolling in the Australian Women's Land Army; this was established in July 1942 to arrange for women who were British subjects and over 18 to work on farms and so help redress the labour shortage caused by men serving in the armed forces - almost 6,000 women volunteered for the Land Army, often in preference to being compulsorily placed in a less attractive job (such as factory or munitions work) by the Manpower Commission, which had been established to direct and coordinate all labour resources in 1942.
  • It illustrates the importance of promotional messages during crises such as wars - in posters such as those shown in the photograph, issues are simplified in order to communicate uncomplicated messages; one poster promotes the importance of the Land Army's work; another presents Australia as the food arsenal of the Allied world; while the third poster identifies food as a weapon.
  • It highlights the importance of food supplies to the Allied nations in the War, both through the posters and through the title of the 'Food front' book - in 1944 Australia was pledged to produce sufficient food to provide a rationed quantity for home consumption, to supplement the food available to the people of Great Britain, and to supply Allied armed forces, particularly the British and US Pacific Fleets; this posed photograph reinforces the message that women had to take over the role of producing food.
  • It shows the fashions of the 1940s, such as a plain, 'sensible' coat and skirt for the woman, and a three-piece double-breasted, pin-striped suit, with a collar and tie for the man - despite wartime shortages, the young woman is intended to look smart and attractive in the photograph as it was considered important to assure prospective volunteers that they would not be sacrificing their femininity by joining the Land Army.
  • It is an example of a photograph from the 88-picture Drouin Collection, produced mainly to convince Australia's Allies, particularly the USA, that Australia was 'shouldering our full share of the burdens of war'.
  • It is an example of a photograph by Jim Fitzpatrick (1916-), who worked as a photographer for the Australian Information Service from 1942 to 1976 - during the Second World War he produced idealised images of rural Australian life for propaganda purposes in publications overseas, as well as documenting other aspects of the War, such as the Japanese surrender aboard the USS 'Missouri' in 1945.
Year level

5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • history;
  • studies of society and environment
Strand
  • History/Historical knowledge and understandings
  • Studies of society and environment/Culture
  • Studies of society and environment/Time, continuity and change

Other details

Contributors
  • Content provider
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: National Library of Australia
  • Remarks: Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
  • Author
  • Name: Jim Fitzpatrick
  • Remarks: photographer
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 30 Aug 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning resource type
  • Image
Browsers
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
  • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
  • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
Operating systems
  • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
  • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
Rights
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements