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Conflicts : World War Two : On the homefront

There were many disturbances to life on the home front during the Second World War. Families were disrupted as members went away to war, clothes and food rationing were introduced and there were frequent calls for fundraising and investment in war loans.

After the Japanese entered the War in late 1941, and particularly after the bombing of Darwin in February 1942 when the threat to Australia seemed more imminent, air raid precautions (or ARP) became a priority. In Adelaide, trenches were dug in public places, such as Victoria Square, and residents were encouraged to construct shelters at home. Air raid wardens were appointed in each district and trained by organisations such as the Defence Society. Natalia Davies had predicted the need for a civil defence society in 1933. On 25 February of that year Natalia convened a meeting to discuss the 'necessity of preparing for warfare on civilians by securing gas-masks and building fortifications' which led to the formation of the Defence Society. The Society also trained volunteers as 'roof watchers'. Blackouts were introduced and air raid drills were practised in suburban streets. Children rehearsed air raid response procedures at school and collected scrap metal and rubber to be recycled.

Civilians often participated in voluntary work and women went to work in traditionally male areas, such as the armed services, farming and other essential industries. In Adelaide many women worked in munitions factories at Hendon and Penfield. Women also joined women's auxiliary branches of the armed forces.

A.R.P. diaries of Lucy Lockett Ayers
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Air raid precautions : black-out instructions
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Air raid precautions handbook
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Certificate of appreciation: Civil Defence Force
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Clothing ration card
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Defence Society
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Defence Society members practice shooting
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Defence Society Rifle Officer Collier
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Defence Society roof watchers
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Female roof watcher in asbestos hood and gloves
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Gas mask
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Meat ration card
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