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Though it is a draft of five uneven verses, it vividly summarises with great enthusiasm and telling detail Russell's WAAAF experiences.
The final verse 'Melbourne' is an appeal for a return to a forward posting, away from the formality of WAAAF headquarters.
In the WAAAF women were able to create their own culture, succeeded in this, contrary to public expectations.
Undoubtedly the experience of being in the WAAAF provided Elsa with the confidence to build an independent life for herself.
Sources on Russell include the following interviews conducted by Paula Furby: with Elsa Russell, 12 March 1996 at Turramurra, NSW; with Grace Bartley and Pearl Batchelor 26 June 2000, at Camden, NSW; telephone interview with anonymous WAAAF colleague at Laverton, now living in Victoria, 17 July 2000; with Robert Curtis, Redfern, Sydney, 5 February 2001; telephone interview with anonymous contemporary and friend of Elsa and Audrey Russell in Sydney, 6 February 2001; numerous conversations with Elsa Russell's niece Louise Havekes 1997-2001.
Joyce Thompson, The WAAAF in Wartime Australia, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, p.
While my three interviewees and the women I spoke to at the WAAAF luncheon were uninterested in stories of gender relations, to a few women such stories formed part of their personal narrative.
Beryl Martin states that as well as defending their country WAAAF women also had to defend their honour, labelling one particular event as the 'Battle of the Buttons'.
While these events could have been treated seriously, no published sources focus on this darker aspect of WAAAF life.
Both in the interviews and in published memoirs, many WAAAF members agreed that if they experienced any sort of ill-feeling towards them as women, it came from the public and not from members of the RAAF.
The idea that women outside of the WAAAF regarded them as women of low repute was a common one among women of the WAAAF--an external denigration that perhaps hardened their sense of collective identity.
For many women, their lives were informed by their identity as WAAAF members.
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- Wa Alternative Development Project
- WA ANG
- Wa pedal
- WA State Sediment Cleanup Screening Level
- WA van Ekenstein
- Waage, P