SALUTING THEIR SERVICE on ROTTNEST ISLAND
Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association (RVGA) will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the AWAS (Australian Women’s Army Service) first deployment of women to Rottnest Island during World War 2 with a special weekend,
Saturday, 8th and Sunday, 9th October 2022 – 10am to 3pm
at historic Kingstown Barracks, Rottnest Island
Many Western Australians know little about the importance of the military history of Rottnest Island and its part in the defence of Western Australia.
Rottnest Island was part of Fremantle Fortress, the combined coastal defences protecting Fremantle harbour and its submarine base during WW2. The women carried out a variety of technical tasks to assist with this defence. RVGA will celebrate the contribution of the Rottnest Island women’s service. Other services to be embraced in this commemoration will be the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS), Women’s Australian Auxiliary Airforce (WAAAF) and the Australian Army Nursing Services (AANS).
This event, sponsored by Rottnest Island Authority, will highlight the rich military history Rottnest offers and explain the important role women played in this history. Soon after the Second World War began, women from all over Australia signed up to serve their country. They moved into roles supporting Australia’s military activities, roles that had previously been undertaken by men. This change in roles also changed the way Australian women were represented in the media of the times.
This commemoration is also a great opportunity to focus on the role of the military in defending our nation.The event will start on Saturday at 10:00am with a welcoming ceremony. Saturday afternoon and Sunday will be more family focussed with interactive activities using key communication techniques from the war. Island visitors will have an opportunity to try their hand at using Semaphore Flags, send messages using morse code and operate signal lamps.
Throughout the weekend there will be interpretive displays and activities including a Guide stationed at Signal Ridge and extra guided tours at Bickley Battery.
The interpretive displays will include photographs of many of the women who served on Rottnest. Some of the women in the photos have not been identified. This may be of particular interest to the many descendants of those women.
Come along and explore the important role Women played on Rottnest Island during WW2.
Contact Lyn Le Provost