During World War II, Australian servicemen and women were stationed in Europe, North Africa and in the South West Paci c. In 1942, Australia came under direct attack for the rst time when 200 Japanese planes dropped bombs on Darwin, killing 235 people. Japanese submarines audaciously entered Sydney Harbour in 1942, sinking the Kuttabul and killing 21 servicemen.
In an editorial, “Women’s Part in the Crisis”, editor Alice Jackson praised the courage of Australian women, and stressed the importance of their domestic roles. “While men sit around and discuss war,” she wrote, “the women have a programme of their own. They must battle with uncertainty, keep the front door closed on panic and nerves – mouths must be fed, beds made, socks darned.”
Women played an active role as nurses and in the WAAAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force),
AWAS (Australian Women’s Army Service) and WRANS (Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service). Women were not allowed to y or to leave Australia, but served as cooks, typists, signallers, drivers and engineers. The Weekly’s female war correspondents went into the eld to send back news and boost morale. Anne Matheson went to Downing Street to hear Churchill; Alice Jackson saw the rst shipment of Australian Bundles for Britain opened in London, and Tilly Shelton-Smith reported from Malaysia.
The Weekly also brought news back home when Australian forces went to Vietnam, with extensive reportage and full-colour photography.