July 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Australian Women’s Land Army. Their role was to replace male farm labourers who were enlisted in the armed forces or were involved in other critical wartime occupations. From July 1942 to August 1945 when enrolments ceased, 1135 Queensland women had enrolled as permanent members. At the end of the war there were between 400 to 500 Land Girls working throughout Queensland either at Land Army Camps or special billets.
There were 4 permanent Land Army Camps in Queensland – Atherton, Buderim, Victoria Point and Birkdale. There were also about 50 “Seasonal Camps” including Kingaroy, Gayndah, Home Hill and Magnetic Island.
The State Library of Queensland is very fortunate to hold a number of original manuscripts related to the Queensland branch of the Australian Women’s Land Army as part of OM90-04 Australian Women’s Land Army Records 1942-1975, which contains histories of the Queensland Women’s Land Army, service record books, Land Army gazettes, photographs, member lists, letters, reunions, bulletins and scripts of radio broadcasts. Some examples from this collection are below.