Expression of Interest for WRAAF Dining In Night Radschool Assoc RAAF Centenary Celebrations

21/06/2018 at 11:01 pm

Expression of Interest WRAAF 2021 Dining In Night







WRAAF Reunion 2021 Canberra AND 2021 WRAAF Dining In Night during Radschool RAAF Anniversary Celebrations

28/05/2018 at 8:56 pm

I’m writing this invitation to all exWRAAF of 1951 to 1977 (


Since 1964 exWRAAF have been getting together to regale each other with stories of their fun filled days as a member of the Women’s Royal Australian Air Force. Possibly even before then. We all know society and government rules of the day (1950s & 1960s) made women leave the Force once they were married. I would guess there must have been many cups of tea in the kitchens of married quarters across the bases of Australia that we are not aware of. But we do know that Shirley McLaren nee Lemon did organise her South Australian friends into a regular lunch at her place in Smithfield up until 1972 and then Maxine Cheyne until 1993. Along the way, there was an official (I guess by that I mean there was more than one interstate attendee) ‘reunion’, a photo to prove a function was held at the CWA rooms in South Australia in 1976. However, most of us in the other states didn’t know that at the time.


The Victorian girls got into the act in 1980, but not before the Sydney girls had been holding luncheons themselves, although there was not a ‘National’ function. The Victorian reunion was advertised as the first National exWRAAF reunion. I know because I was doing the advertising. We had 300 attends, and there are official photos of this wonderful day on 22nd June 1980. How we got to that day is another story, but it was the beginning of a near 40-year commitment by WRAAF all over Australia to keep their service to Australia in a special place, and to raise the profile of post war women in the Armed Forces. As a group the Victorian reunion committee joined RAAFA Victoria and this was followed by each state following suit with their own branches being formed. But we, Victoria WRAAF Branch, were not the first – Maxine and her friends can be proud of that title.


Recently Pam Nelsen and myself met with Shirley McLaren and Maxine Cheyne to talk about those early days, and once I have confirmed details of my notes and a bit of editing, I’ll distribute that historical achievement to all the relevant people in each state. What is acknowledged and I have already done so a few years ago, is to credit Shirley with the honour of being the instigator of the first exWRAAF luncheon that we are aware of. And to Maxine the organiser of the 1976 CWA luncheon, the first National reunion.


Forty-two years later, we have grown to be an Australia-wide exWRAAF community, inspired every year or two by an ever-growing number of attendees to reunions held mostly in alternating states. These reunions have been organised by dedicated women who have never forgotten the years of friendships, joy and the tears shared by us all over a one bar heater while cooking toast or toiling over a hot iron on a starched drab (a job I fortunately never had to contend with).


In recent years, there is, despite our aging membership, a huge dose of nostalgia as women now in their twilight years are released from some of their family commitments. Also, society has suddenly switched on that women are not chattels, never were and certainly are not. A far cry from a letter received from the RSL in Victoria spuriously suggesting we did not deserve to be marching on Anzac Day because we didn’t ‘fight’. Yes, 2018 By the Left Campaign, was certainly welcomed with open arms by many women long tired of the gender discrimination.


So, in 2021, the WRAAF will be celebrating 70 years. Sure, the WRAAF of 1951 to 1977, some 26,000 female members, is no longer an entity, but the Women of the RAAF are still serving and still performing their work ethic to the highest standards maintained in any workforce. No different to the workforce of the Women’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force during the World War Two, nor Korea or Vietnam or in the peace in between. The peace time that this Clerk G entered in 1965. Equal partnership in a free world of men and women. It’s still coming but boy we have come quite a way.


As those of us from those 26 years who are still standing (or should I say sitting), we have thankfully seen the women of those latter years attend our reunions and even more recently we have seen some young Permanent Air Force women attending. These young, smart, confident, women have careers in the Service we thought would never happen, and they are growing families along the way. This is good news.


I feel confident at this time, that all the hard work by so many of us over these last 40 years has finally been repaid by the power of determination and faith in our identity. And there is evidence that the name Post War WRAAF will never be ‘glossed over’ or ever confused with the women before us, who rightfully can be acknowledged as the pioneers of our young women today. Take a moment to think of a young 18-year-old joining up in the year 2018 and what you could tell them. To enjoy every breath, every month, every year you are a woman of the Australian Armed Service. In our case a WRAAF.


Jodi Peck is taking on the task of organising the next National WRAAF reunion to be held in Canberra in April 2021 and Jodi has posted to social media her intent. Jodi is a Warrant Officer in the PAF and the daughter in law of a WRAAF Joanne Peck and her enthusiasm is a joy. Bookings through the Defence Force have been made, and the lead up to this exciting event will bring all the richness of our past back to us so that we can savour, and yes, remember all our treasured times.


I have been liaising with Jodi since the South Australian National Reunion in April this year (2018) and she has received approval to hold this reunion as a confirmed and supported part of the Air Forces’ 100th Anniversary and our WRAAF 70th Anniversary. I’m sure you all join with me in welcoming Jodi and her committee and look forward to working with her in her endeavours. Each state will be encouraged to contact Jodi to help get the word out to those of us who live without computers. You girls will not be left behind. Jodi and myself are conscious you have a voice. I will be helping Jodi throughout the next few years in some capacity. Hopefully a conduit to all my fellow WRAAF throughout Australia. You all know my address, 28 Jacqueline Rd Mt Waverley Vic 3149. My mobile is 0488 066 680. Please text on that number. For those without a smart phone, please leave a message.


There will be notices forthcoming as arrangements are made. It is early days but good days.




2021 will be a very good year. We will be spoilt with functions. Most of you are aware of the work that Trevor Benneworth has done over many, many, years in bringing stories of the Air Force to us through his website, Radschool Association Magazine. This year he has announced a week-long festivity in conjunction with Defence Force authorities to be held in Melbourne now 22nd to 31st March 2021. Yes, it has changed – go to


During that week we have been given the ability to have a dining in night for WRAAF. It is a celebration of WRAAF that I asked Trevor to investigate, and I am delighted that it has been included. It will be on the Thursday night. At RAAF Base Officers Mess.  Details of the event will be planned and published as the months progress. In the meantime, you can access Trevor’s site at If you are without a computer you can fill in a form that will be forthcoming with your details and send it to me, Lyn Mitchell, 28 Jacqueline Road, Mt Waverley Vic 3149. Please pass news of this function and our National Reunion 2021 to all who may not have access to digital media.


At this stage if you/partner/friend intend on attending the Radschool Association festivities, I would suggest then staying in the eastern states and head on up to Canberra for our 2021 National Reunion. If you can’t make it to Canberra, then we/you have an opportunity to attend a reunion in the form of a dining in night.


It is an exciting time to be an exWRAAF. We are all old enough and wise enough to forget the foibles of our youth. We can take time to forget for a moment the bad times and take heart at the character and fortitude we developed by going through those years; we can take pride in our grey or white hair, the wrinkles, the bits and pieces of our bodies that don’t quite look as they did some fifty years ago. Because by jove, we have lived a life that no one else has had. The life of a WRAAF.



22nd to 31st March 2021 Radschool RAAF Anniversary Celebrations (dates to be confirmed)

WRAAF Dining-In-Night to be held on the Thursday free night at Laverton RAAF Base, Officers Mess. Click link to see more


70th Anniversary Reunion – Canberra 23-25 Apr 2021.

Hello ladies, after conversations with ex-WRAAF ladies, Air Force Headquarters (AFHQ) and the Air Force 2021 Committee, I can now confirm the WRAAF 70th Anniversary/Reunion will be held in Canberra over the Anzac weekend 23-25 Apr 2021.

The Reunion will be in a similar format to those of the previous reunions: cocktail/registration event on Friday evening, dinner on Saturday.

2021 is an exciting year for Air Force – its the 100th Anniversary of the RAAF as well as the 70th Anniversary of the WRAAF. The RSL have confirmed Air Force will lead the 2021 Anzac Day parade at the Australian War Memorial. For those ladies who would like to participate, we will be marching as a National Group. And finally, I will also coordinate a church service.

To ensure that we reach the largest possible audience, in addition to this page I will create a 70th Anniversary page,

and I will liaise with the individual states to source contact lists so that I can send letters to those ladies not on social media.

Firm details will be confirmed shortly, however please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

I look forward to successful Reunion and seeing as many of you as possible.

Kind regards,

WOFF Jodi Peck


To see post on Facebook go to this link


To keep in touch go to my website



Below is a copy of the updates from Trevor’s Radschool Website for those of you who do not have or spend time on computers.



RAAF Radchool Association’s Celebration.

100th Anniversary of the Air Force.

12 April, 2018.


Allan George and I met with the RAAF’s 2021 organising committee (leaving names out) in Russell Offices in Canberra to discuss our plans for the Celebration and to learn of the RAAF’s official intentions. It seems the dates we have planned will have to be changed (again) as the RAAF has a large official function planned for the 31st March 2021 (The actual Anniversary day) which will be held in Canberra and at which the RAAF’s Band will be required.


The Avalon Airshow, at which the RAAF will have a very large presence, is usually held late in Feb, early in March so the week prior to our original dates (15th to the 24th March) could be available but as Easter Sunday in 2021 falls on the 4th April, the immediate week after is no good. We could perhaps go for the following week, 8th April to the 17th April.


The earlier period (15 – 24March) is not really suitable as it will conflict with the Melbourne GP – making accommodation very expensive, but there is not a lot on in Melbourne around the latter time (08 – 17April). We checked with the Melbourne Visitor Centre in Federation Square and that week we would only conflict with the Comedy Festival which shouldn’t worry us too much.  School holidays in Melbourne during that period will be 01 April –  19 April. That could be a benefit – cheaper accommodation, less traffic.


One concern the RAAF had was they did not want us to represent as being the official RAAF Celebration, though they have no quarrel with us organising as the Radschool Association’s Celebration – we have and will continue to do that.


The RAAF has not planned an Open Day at Point Cook so that won’t happen, unfortunately.




17 – 21 April, 2018.



I had several meetings in Melbourne that week. First up was at Laverton to see and hear the band. They allowed me to sit in during one of their practice jazz sessions and if you’ve never seen or heard the band in full cry, you’re missing something, they are fantastic. With them and the Army and Navy bands providing the entertainment for the Sunday we, along with the people of Melbourne, are in for a wonderful treat.


Army and Navy Bands.

I’ve spoken with the ADF’s Joint Operations Support people in Melbourne re asking for the Army and Navy Bands for the Sunday event. They have given me a form which I have to fill in asking for the “Assets”. We’ll wait until we confirm the dates before filling it out.



After Laverton it was over the road to Point Cook to see the XO of 21 Sqn who generously gave an hour or so of his time and showed me around the Base. We were hoping to hold the “Meet and Greet” and the “Farewell Dinner” in one of the hangars at either Laverton or Pt Cook but we couldn’t find anything suitable, most were either not big enough or were condemned or were being used. We’ve got an inquiry into the Melbourne Show-grounds to see what they have available and at what cost. More on that later.


We did discuss using some hard stand areas at Point Cook for bus assembly for the day out events and that looks promising.


Channel 7

I had an appointment with one of the Execs at Channel 7 in Melbourne to discuss the station’s thoughts on televising the Sunday event at the Myer Bowl but unfortunately we couldn’t hold a face to face meeting as he was preparing for an overseas trip to cover the Villers-Bretonneux event but we d

id have a phone hook-up. He said he has studied our plans for the Sunday event (at the Bowl) and without committing anything, at this stage CH 7 are very interested. We left it at that and will continue to liaise with him.



I went out to Summit Safety in Bayswater to see them about a Celebratory shirt which everyone who attends will receive. It’s got the Radschool Crest on the left (no pocket though) and the words “RAAF Radschool Association, 100 year Anniversary of the RAAF” on the right sleeve. This is the shirt, it’s not confirmed but it’s a start.



I met with the Head of Broadcasting and Scheduling at AFL House in Melbourne and in memory of the RAAF being stationed at the MCG during WW2, asked whether it would/could be possible for the AFL to make available sufficient free seats for all at the Radschool Celebration to watch a game at the “G”. Although not promised, this request was received very favourably – more on this later. And – thinking along the same lines, we also discussed the possibility of a RAAF style CEO sleep-out where current and ex-members of the RAAF could sleep rough for one night at the “G” in memory of and similar to the RAAF bods during the war. The AFL could not OK this request as they don’t have control over the MCG, it has to be submitted to the MCG trust – but it looks hopeful.  Any and all proceeds raised from this event will be given to a charity.



We saw Carl Schiller, the National President of the RAAF Association. If/when the Sunday event goes ahead there will be possibly 10,000 people at the Music Bowl, all of whom will be looking for a program, a soft drink, something to eat, etc, (the Bowl people have the liquor licence and sell the alcohol) but the RAAFA supports several charities and we discussed whether they could involve these charities to provide people to sell programs, food and drink and raise much needed funds.  More on that later too.



We’re still some years away from the event but the cogs turn slowly – we’ll be ready when it happens.




23 April 2018.


We’ve heard from the Melbourne Show-ground, they have this facility below under construction which will be finished mid 2019. As we’re expecting about 1,000 people, this looks perfect for our Registration/Meet and Greet and for the farewell dinner. Train service is available right to the door.


There is an excellent possibility that we will get the building rent free, paying only for catering. Drinks will be available at cost.






14 May 2018


We’ve received approval from the Melbourne Showgrounds for us to hold a “Sleep Rough” night at the Showgrounds as part of the celebration. There will be more on this later but it will be open to all ex and current serving RAAF people, both male and female. We’ll encourage you to get sponsorship and all funds raised will go to the RAAF Association which will donate them to one of their charities.


We’ll organise the food and drink (water) – all you’ll need to do is bring something to keep you warm as you’ll be sleeping in the open in one of the Showground stands or somewhere else as directed by the Showground management.


RAAF 100 year celebration.

March 2021







Back in January 1920, the Australian Flying Corps became the Australian Air Corps which, on the 31st March 1921, became the Australian Air Force. It obtained the King’s consent to become the Royal Australian Air Force on the 13th August 1921.



On the 31st March 2021 the Australian Air Force will be 100 years old and as the Air Force was born at Pt Cook, we think it would be a golden opportunity to hold a giant celebration in Melbourne and to invite everyone who spent time at Pt Cook and/or Laverton.  And – as we’re a Radschool Association, the invite would also include anyone who was trained in the radio game, whether tech or operator, at either Ballarat, Frognall or Laverton and of course the trainers as well as all the support staff. The invitation would also include your wife, girl-friend, husband, boy-friend (or all of the above). We’re all getting on a bit and this might be our last hurrah, so we’ll make it a good one.


The 31th March 2021 is a Wednesday, so we think we should plan for at least a week-long event starting on the 22nd March.   There will be lots of events so start putting away your pennies now, we’ll need confirmation of your attendance, and as we’ll need to pay deposits etc we’ll need your full payment some months prior to March 2021.


For those that live north of the Murray, the weather in Melbourne in March is not too bad. Temps are in the low 20’s during the day and drop to the low teens during the night. There is only a 25% chance of rain so any outdoor event should (??) be fine.


We’ll have an indication of costs later, but these won’t include accommodation which will be your responsibility. As some people live in the area, some will come by van or mobile home, others stay with friends and some will stay in motel/hotel accommodation, individual accommodation costs are a variable so not included.


We’ve commenced negotiations with the RAAF for access to Laverton or Pt Cook, (we don’t have it yet) as we’d like to have the main events in (perhaps) the old ARDU or 1 AD hangars at Laverton or in one of the hangars at Pt Cook – it will all depend on what is still available in 2021.


It’s still a few years away but these things take time to organise. We are going to chase sponsorship to keep our costs down – more on that later. We think we’ll need to organise for at least 1,000 people so there’s a bit to do. Make sure you tell your friends, we want as many people as possible, the more the merrier.


Let us know what you think. The events we have planned you can see below but we need to know what you think.  We’ve booked the Myer Music Bowl for the Sunday the 28th March (a pleasant Sunday afternoon) and we’re negotiating with the RAAF, Army and Navy to have their bands entertain us during the day. We’re also proposing an “Air Force has talent” contest where several serving pre-auditioned members will vie for a cash prize and we’re negotiating with a Melbourne TV channel which will televise all or part of the Music Bowl event – this will make it easier to obtain a sponsor to cover all the costs – so it will be free.


If you don’t normally get the RAM, but would like to be involved, click HERE, fill in this general form and once we have your email address we’ll include you in all future mail-outs.


We have some ideas but to get an idea of your thoughts, would you fill in the fields in the form below and send to us, there will be much more detail later. (Use your TAB button to navigate from one field to the next.)



You can access the celebration form HERE and if you have any queries, you can get in touch with us  HERE.




Schedule of Events.



Monday 22 March 2021

Registration, Meet and Greet – Melbourne Show-grounds.  Evening event.



Tuesday 23 March 2021.

Bus trip to RAAF Ballarat and Ballarat gold fields (Sovereign Hill). (About 1½ hours each way).  Daylight event.



Wednesday 24 March 2021. 

Tour of the Liberator and  Werribee Park.

Sleep rough night – Melbourne Show-ground.



Thursday 25 March 2021.

Free Day.

Proposed WRAAF night – Laverton Officers’ Mess



Friday 26 March 2021

Proposed AFL match MCG/Etihad. TBA advised by AFL HQ.



Saturday 27 March 2021.

Bus tour to Phillip Island. Tour Vietnam Vets Museum, Penguins at dusk, return to Melb. (About 1½ – 2 hours each way)



Sunday 28 March 2021.

RAAF, Army, Navy Bands concert Myer Music Bowl, including Air Force has talent contest. RAAF fly past. Daylight event. Sponsored and televised. Open to the public. Sunday night free.    (See the proposed Sunday event HERE).



Monday 29 March 2021.

Free Day.



Tuesday 30 March 2021.

Bus to Yarra Valley Chocolate and Ice Creamery and Puffing Billy steam train. (About 1 hour each way). Night Free.



Wednesday 31 March 2021.  (Anniversary Day)

Farewell luncheon hosted by Senior Officer of Air Force – Melbourne Show Ground.  Evening event.







2007 WRAAF Reunion Photos Source Lyn Morrison

12/11/2017 at 6:27 pm

No 1 Stores Depot (1SD) RAAF Tottenham Reunion Lunch

02/03/2017 at 11:38 am

Source from Noelene Park – Thankyou


Held 19th November 2016

at Yarraville Club, 135 Stephen Street, Yarraville, Vic

No 1 Stores Depot RAAF Tottenham Reunion Lunch





Finding Things

30/11/2016 at 4:05 am


This was the tshirt sold as souvenier. Not mine. Joan Arbon’s treasure. And it has a date. I’m trying to compile a complete list of reunions we’ve had since 1976 in Adelaide.

It’s a classy design, even today.


WRAAF Brisbane Branch Newsletter Oct – Dec 2015

28/01/2016 at 2:19 pm

Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 1
Special WRAAF Reunion 2015 Edition
Message from our President
Rosie Forster
Welcome everyone to the last meeting for 2015. With only 41 days to Christmas one wonders where the year has gone.
It has been a busy time since our last meeting with the run up & ending with the Reunion. Firstly, my sincere thanks go to the committee for their wonderful support in making it a success. The feedback has been so positive & the Memorial Service was the icing on the cake. There were a few hiccups but that was to be expected & we overcame them.
I hope everyone enjoyed their time over the 3 days, as I did, it was so good catching up with old friends & making new ones. I thank all of you for help & support in making this Reunion a memorable one.
With the All Services Morning Tea being our last function for the year; looking back we have had a busy & exciting 2015.
In closing, I would like to wish you & your families a very merry Christmas & a happy & safe New Year & will see all of you in January.
2016 WRAAF Branch Meetings
New location for meetings
Meetings are held on the 3rd Saturday in January and then on the 2nd Saturdays in March, May, July, September & November at Ann Street Presbyterian Church Trust Offices Meeting Room at 143 Ann Street Brisbane (located between office tower at 145 Ann Street and the Church). Access is by Security Card so you will need to arrive by 9.50am at the latest and a Committee member will let you in.
16th Jan 2016
12th March 2016
14th May 2016
9th July 2016
10th Sept 2016
12th Nov 2016
Newsletter Subscription $12.00.
For those not wanting to be a full or associate member of the WRAAF Branch but want to keep in touch with friends and the Air Force generally. You will receive 4 newsletters each year.
AGM 2016
Carol McCool
Deputy President
Pam Condie
Truus Perry
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 2
Jan Noack
Minute Secretary
Pam Condie
Assistant Treasurer
Jill Buckland
General Committee
Eunice Smith
General Committee
Gillian Shepherd
General Committee
Margaret Humphries
RAAFA Delegate
Carol McCool
RAAFA Delegate
Jill Buckland
CESW Delegate
Margaret Stevenson
CESW Delegate
Lyn Wilkes
Other positions
Health and Wellbeing Officer – Maureen Stewart
Honorary Auditor – Lorraine Claydon
9 to 11 October 2015
A Reunion is defined as “a social gathering attended by members of a group of people who have not seen each other for some time”. Well on the second weekend in October almost 300 ex-WRAAFs did just that. We socialized with those we had seen a few weeks earlier, those we had caught up with at the last couple of reunions and in some cases with “girls” we hadn’t seen for 40 years.
The feedback has been fantastic and a great time was had by all. A lot of planning went into the Reunion and it started almost immediately after the Perth Reunion in 2013 when the Brisbane Branch offered to host 2015. Thanks go to our President Rosie Forster who raised the idea to undertake the reunion and to the Reunion Committee who formulated the plans and organized the venue, the food, the events etc.
Friday Night 9th October Meet and Greet
The Reunion Committee were at the Coolangatta Sands Hotel early to set up and compete the last few details for the Meet and Greet and ladies began lining up at the door well before the appointed time. By the time rolls were checked, names ticked off and merchandise picked up 258 of us were circulating around the room. There was lots of calling out names, searching faces to see if we recognized someone familiar and then shouts of joy and hugs when we re-connected with friends from decades ago. A few glasses of wine, nice finger food and lots of photos and then all too soon it was time to finish up, get some rest and regroup for sightseeing and Saturday night’s big dinner.
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 3
Saturday Night 10th October Dinner
Saturday’s weather was perfect for strolls along the beach and doing lunch and shopping before getting ready for Dinner. As with Friday night ladies were lined up early and this time 276 of us rocked up, dressed up and partied. We also had 2 serving airwomen who joined us. We had a witty and vibrant MC, Jill Chivers, who managed to keep us interested and made herself heard above 276 of us catching up and reminiscing. She also presided over what must have been the longest raffle in history. There were lots of great prizes thanks to the generosity of many of our members and many lucky ladies went home with handmade gifts and gift cards.
There was lots of circulating and catching up from where we had left off the night before. Jill Chivers introduced our guest speaker for the evening – Wing Commander Colleen Higginson (Staff Officer Workforce – Air Force Headquarters). Colleen is a 37 year veteran of the RAAF who joined as an ACW and is currently a WgCdr. Her talk covered those 37 years and the changes she has seen and the work she is currently doing. Her experiences are so different from those of many of us and she has achieved so much. She talked about retention strategies for women, diversity and career options. Many of us would have liked to have had the same opportunities but they were “different times’. However her closing remarks resonated with us and summed up the reason why we love these reunions – “However the one thing that has always, and will always remain, is the camaraderie shared between us women with all other women who have worked and continue to work in the Air Force no matter what year that has been. We are all members of a very unique fraternity and have come together this evening to continue the spirit and friendships of our careers and our loyalty to the Air Force …”
All too soon it was past 10pm and time to finish up, say goodbye, and swap email and phone numbers and head off. Many were travelling back to every state in Australia the next day and many were going to the
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 4
Memorial Service at the Currumbin RSL on Sunday. There was a call for another reunion in two years’ time and hopefully we will be able to say “See you in 2017 in ……….”
Presentation at Dinner Saturday 10th October by special guest Wg Cdr Higginson
Wing Commander Colleen Higginson
Staff Officer Workforce – Air Force Headquarters
Presentation to WRAAF Reunion Dinner
10 October 2015
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this evening at my first WRAAF Reunion. Rosie asked me to speak about some of my experiences since I joined the Air Force in January 1978 and how things have changed since I first joined. Tonight I will start by giving you an insight into my background and roles I have done in the Air Force and I will follow this by concentrating on the wonderful policies that are currently available to increase women’s recruitment and retention in the Air Force. When I look at the changes during my career, I believe many changes have been incremental; however in the last few years, the changes have been quite revolutionary, especially for women.
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 5
Myself… I grew up in Rockhampton and attended Central Girls primary school from 1963- 1969 and then I went to Rockhampton Girls Grammar school from 1970 – 1973. I came from a family of three girls, no brothers, and a mother who worked in our family business since I was born. When I left school, I started a Nursing career in 1974, however left to live in Brisbane and worked as a credit agency reporter. I returned to Rockhampton in early 1977 and by chance noticed an advertisement in the local paper about the Defence Force recruiting opportunities and I applied to join the Air Force as this seemed such an interesting career. I did not come from a military family, however yearned to live in the city once again; this seemed an exciting way to fulfill my ambitions. The Air Force was looking for Medical Clerks – I thought I could combine my Nursing and clerical background to be great in this role – however the recruiting officer was looking for Communications Operators (COMMSOPS) and convinced me I would be better suited to this work – it paid more than the Medical Clerk, so I agreed!
I joined the Air Force on 16 January 1978, having turned 20 years the week before. I left Rockhampton by train, was put up in the People’s Palace (now backpackers) and signed the Oath at Recruiting before we were flown to Melbourne. At Laverton, my first home in the Air Force was Block 100 where I was a member of 252 Recruiting Course. After graduating from the Recruiting Course on 27 Feb 1978, I moved to the blocks over the road, and started the COMMSOP training at School of Radio (RADS) in Laverton. After graduating as a COMMSOP, I was posted to RAAF Glenbrook to the RAAF Telecommunications Unit (RAAFTUS).
The first job I had as a COMMSOP was fun. I can remember one day you would be rostered onto SEND and you would stand and push the torn tape messages into the mainframe computer after writing the message details on a little pad which was checked by the CPL supervisor at various intervals throughout the day. The next day wasn’t all that much different, rostered onto RECEIVE, you would be take the torn tape messages from the computer, annotate the details on the little pad, and once again be checked by the CPL supervisor. The next day you would be rostered on to actually type the messages that were to be SENT – and gradually the full round of COMMSOP duties at that junior rank were performed.
I married at age 24 years – I was an LACW and my husband was a CPL COMMSOP. I was now working in the Air Operations Communication Centre (AOCC), a very satisfying role due to the immediate response of communicating with the aircraft. We were posted to Darwin in November 1984 – just before the house we were building was finalized – now this was a fairly typical thing that seemed to happen to people who bought/build houses and we had to rush the house so it could be rented out.
In Darwin, I became pregnant with my son Christopher who was born in September 1985. I took the three months Maternity Leave as well as two additional months of recreation leave, and returned to work feeling confident I was able to combine motherhood and work. I was a shift worker and had been approved to work a different shift to my husband, which enabled someone to always be at home during the night and therefore Christopher only needed childcare during the day. I believe returning to work as a married mother was the very first time I ever felt ‘different’ to my colleagues, and the first time I faced what I now realize was probably unconscious discrimination, however this was understandable given the era. My work supervisors, all male, had a perception that married mother’s should still be at home, and I faced difficult times balancing changing shifts and finding good childcare, and facing crises when Christopher was too ill and to attend crèche or Family Day care – and at times would have to fly my mother to Darwin from Rockhampton to help me continue.
At this juncture, I would like to acknowledge that many of you women here tonight may have felt discriminated in your career due to marriage and/or pregnancy, once again as it was the policy of the day, it was accepted. It was only after the Commonwealth Public Service allowed women to retain their positions
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 6
after marriage in 1966, that the Women Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF) instigated this policy in 1969. Up until then, many of you were required to leave your beloved Air Force careers because you had ‘fallen in love’ and married. The public service abolished automatic discharge on pregnancy in 1973 and the WRAAF followed this policy in 1974 – so I now acknowledge the difficult time this may have been for some of you who didn’t want leave the Air Force.
I continued my COMMSOP career, juggling the demands of parenthood and in 1987, recognizing shift work was going to be difficult to maintain as a parent, I started a part-time Bachelor of Public Administration at the local Charles Darwin University with a goal of commissioning as an Administration Officer. Most folk I worked with thought I was a bit crazy to study, especially with a small child, but I persevered and after three years of part-time (assisted by the Defence Assisted Study Scheme DASS) study, I was fortunate to be offered civil schooling to finish my degree full time, and I was then commissioned as an Administration Officer in 1991.
Attending the 17 weeks Officers Training course as a mature 33 year old mother of a six year old once was an amazing opportunity – we did wonderful things such as abseiling, cave climbing, cross-country skiing, and I remember Sir Edmund Hilary’s grandson as one of our mentors on the training. Officer’s training was a time when you were able to grow your confidence and do things you had never thought you could do – it was also a time when I needed to socialize with my younger peers. I was the oldest member on the course, and when we were all allowed to go into town, they were grateful to me as I was the one who would retire early to sleep in the car and drive everyone back to Point Cook when they finished.
I had my first two postings as an Officer in Darwin, one to 2CRU (Control and Reporting Unit – the Air Defence unit) on Lee Point Road and then the Base Support Centre on the RAAF Base at Darwin managing Air Force and financial administration. I continued in training courses away from Darwin – Basic administration for 6 weeks and Finance for 4 weeks and I also continued academic study.
I left the permanent RAAF in 1996 and became a Defence public servant managing the Pay Centre for Army and then the Housing Management section with a team of Air Force, Navy and Army and public servants. During this period I was a Reservist at the then 13SQN, and continued my development as a FLTLT Administration Officer.
I found myself a single parent in 1999, and was offered an opportunity to rejoin the Permanent Air Force, and was posted to RAAF Glenbrook – where my career had initially started. After this I have had other postings back to Darwin (XO/CO 396ECSS), Canberra (Coord and Committee Secretariat in AFHQ), back again to Darwin (DCO and NORCOM), Adelaide (SOPERS/CO HQAOSG) and I am now in Canberra in a Workforce position.
I have also had deployments to the Afghanistan and Iraq conflict – for both of these deployments I was the Financial Advisor – meaning I was in control of the money for Defence and the Australian Military Commander on these operations. I recall how shocked I was once when I was required to transport more than USD 10,000 from one UAE country to another and when I queried the bank manager on the feasibility of this with cognizance of our customs policy of not taking/bringing more that AUD 10,000 into/out of Australia. The manager said…in this country, some of our people take more than that on a weekend away with their families. Needless to say, the wealth of our host country was quite a shock to me.
I clearly remember the anticipation I felt during my first deployment when I needed go the US Bagram Afghanistan to do some financial work – I might add I really was quite excited but at the same time fairly frightened as this was ‘real time’ and I guess you are never really sure what can happen, and if your weapon
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 7
training had prepared you well enough. I can also remember when I was on the Iraq deployment when I was stationed in Qatar – I regularly needed to go to other locations, and flying to Kuwait when the entire city was under military control was interesting – the liberties I previously had to wander to the city were not enabled. I was now totally armed and dressed with Kevlar vests at all times. I can remember the anticipation when the base was under fire.
Before I move onto discuss the opportunities that have now been made available for women, I would like to read an interesting quote, cited by Bomford and published in the Australian, from Major Barbara Maxwell, Chief Instructor and Commanding Officer of the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) School in Sydney in 1972. Major Maxwell said of the women under her command:
We try to keep our girls soft and feminine… I think there are jobs for men and there are some for women… We do a lot of communications work and driving and catering, jobs that suit the mentalities and abilities of women…I just don’t like guns, I suppose. It isn’t very feminine is it? Shooting, I mean!
Whilst I joined the Air Force six years after this, I fitted into this category perfectly – I worked in communications and we did not have to handle a weapon or were expected to deploy to a war zone. So much has changed for women in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in the years since Major Maxwell expressed her particular view of women’s roles in the army.
The role of women in the Australian military significantly began to change after 1975, which was the International Year of Women, and the WRAAF was abolished in 1977; the WAAC in 1979 and the WRANS in 1985, as female members were merged into the services. Equal pay was granted to all servicewomen in 1979.
Despite being integrated into the military, there were still restrictions on female service. The ADF was granted an exemption from the Sexual Discrimination Act when it was introduced in 1984 so that it could maintain gender-based restrictions against women serving in combat or combat-related positions. As a result of personnel shortages in the late 1980s the restriction against women in combat-related positions was dropped, and in 1990, Air Force women were for the first time allowed to serve in combat squadrons.
However it was not until the then Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, instigated several reviews into aspects of Defence and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) culture during 2011-2012 that there has been revolutionary changes for women. Reviews were held into the Treatment of Women at the Defence Force Academy; Review into the treatment of Women in the Defence Force (both by the then Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick) Review of the use of Alcohol; Review of pathways for women in the Defence APS; and the DLA paper review of sexual and other forms of abuse in Defence.
Defence responded to these reviews by implementing a program called, Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture. Air Force implemented its own “New Horizon” program to implement the culture change for Air Force members and as a part of New Horizon there are several policies that are available to women to enhance their recruitment and retention.
Air Force has recognised the strong capability imperative required to improve the treatment of women in the ADF and to enhance their career opportunities. It also recognises that policies to attract, retain and give women more opportunities makes good sense when there is a shortage of personnel in, and wanting to come in, to the Air Force in a time when Australia itself is looking at having an unprecedented shortage of human resources in the next decade in most sectors. Competition for the talent required in the Air Force in the future will be difficult and therefore, Air Force needs to increase its number of women as a capability issue.
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 8
Women in Australia comprise 51% of the population, 46% of the workforce, but only about 15% of the ADF and 18% of the Air Force. Whilst this figure has grown from 15% women in the Air Force in 2000, it is optimal for Air Force to try to increase its participation of women to at least 25% in the near future.
Attraction/Recruiting Strategies
Flight and Tech Camps were instigated in 2013 to support the exposure of non-traditional careers to girls aged 16-18 years old. Their primary objective is to provide a hands-on, risk-free experiential learning opportunity for yond women to experience aviation and technical roles, particularly pilot, in the Air Force and give the girls an opportunity to discuss Air Force careers with women working in those fields.
Gap year. The Australian Defence Force Gap Year is an opportunity for young adults to experience military training, service and lifestyle. It targets those members of the Australian community between 17 and 24 years of age who have completed their Year 12 (or equivalent) education. The aim of the Gap Year is to provide young men and women with a meaningful experience to gain a better understanding of the opportunities available to them in the ADF, and to facilitate their potential selection for ongoing Permanent or Reserve service.
CAF Flying Scholarships Air Force is encouraging the development of young female pilots and two sponsored scholarships open to women under the age of 24. The scholarships are available through the Australian Women’s Pilots Association and provide a grant of $2000 for each recipient.
Graduate Pilot Scheme was introduced in 2013 and this program is a targeted pilot recruitment model that aims to encourage women already studying Bachelor of Aviation degrees to consider joining the Air Force as pilots. Air Force has partnered with Griffith University to offer this program and work is underway to implement similar programs at other aviation universities.
Why is the Air Force only targeting women? As I said before, the growth in the Australian labour force is slowing and with our aging population, the number of young people available to enter the Air Force is shrinking. Policies that improve female recruitment enable Air Force to tap into a significant pool of talented people who are not currently joining Defence, particularly in Air Crew specialisation.
Retention Strategies
The Women’s Integrated Networking Group (WINGS) program brings women of all employment groups and ranks together to provide mutual support and advice for having a lasting career in Air Force, whilst also offering the chance to hear from invited guest speakers at monthly sessions at all Air Force establishments. The program is designed to empower women in Air Force to build the support and mentoring networks required to sustain a long term career in Air Force.
Technet. Is a mentoring and networking group for airwomen in non-traditional roles? It offers an open environment for technical women to seek guidance, support and mentoring on a variety of topics for personal and professional development.
Women’s Forums. The initial forum was held in 2012 and has been held yearly. The focus is to provide opportunities for participants to engage with Air Force senior leaders as well as executives from external organisations such as UN Women, Australian Financial Review, and the ABC Network, banking, IBM as well as personal development and networking opportunities.
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 9
Promotion. The Air Force has achieved above-average promotion outcomes without the requirement for gender targets in the promotion process. In 2014, there were significant changes introduced within the promotion system to order to ensure transparency and equitable decision making. All promotion board members were provided with unconscious bias training as part of the pre-board awareness package.
Breastfeeding Accreditation. Air Force was last year accredited as a “Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace” by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, the first military organisation in the world to achieve such an accreditation. This recognition publicly demonstrates Air Force’s commitment and support to women returning to work following maternity leave.
Diversity Handbooks. To assist both staff and managers, Air Force has produced Diversity Guide Handbooks – titles include Breastfeeding, Sole and Non-Custodial Parents; A working parents toolkit; One titled Flying through Parenthood, and a guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender members.
Flexible Working Arrangements. Defence has policies which enable flexible working arrangements for all staff in some posting position. Not all postings and positions are able to accommodate this, and whilst you may be in one posting which allows it, the operational nature of the next posting may not support flexible working arrangements such as Part Time Work for two, three or four day weeks, Variable Working Hours, and working from home arrangements.
White Ribbon. Air Force is seeking to become a White Ribbon Accredited Workplace. White Ribbon is Australia’s only national, male-led primary prevention campaign to end men’s violence against women. White Ribbon workplaces recognise that violence against women is both a human rights and a workplace issue. AMG has been proactive in the White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation program and the most visible aspect of their campaign was the pair of large white ribbons painted on a C130H and C-17, and associated flypasts.
I have seen quite a lot of change since I first started my Air Force career in January 1978 at RAAF Laverton. There has been an incremental change in policies over the years; however during the past four years there has really been a revolution of change in policies which have really benefited women. This has resulted in an increase of women in non-traditional roles, and the number of women pilots has increased from 19 in 2010 to 24 in 2014.
The retention policies that have been introduced are important to both men and women, but have been very successful for women. In Financial year 2011/2012 there was an 8.04 percentage of women separating from the Air Force, however during financial year 2013/2014 the separation rate has only been 5.18 percent of women.
Whilst women have always played an extremely important role throughout the entire time from when all of us have started our Air Force careers, women today are expected to perform in roles that were once as Major Barbara Maxwell would have said were not actual jobs for our girls who are soft and feminine…today women must use guns, whether this is considered feminine or not.
However the one thing that has always, and will always remain, is the camaraderie shared between us women with all other women who have worked and continue to work in the Air Force no matter what year that has been. We are all members of a very unique fraternity and have come together this evening to continue the spirit and friendships of our careers and our loyalty to the Air Force – I wish you all a most wonderful evening.
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 10
Sunday 11th October Memorial Service – Currumbin RSL (Rosemary Coleman)
The memorial service for the National WRAAF Reunion was held at the Currumbin RSL Club and proved to be a very fitting end to a wonderful weekend with 195 ladies attending. After the service the Reunion Committee received extensive comments, phone calls and praise for the service. However, the pivotal force behind the service was Mr Ron Workman, President of the Currumbin RSL Club who is also a long-time friend of Peg Lindsay and it was through Peg that Ron became involved. He proved to be an outstanding Master of Ceremonies but also a great organiser and a man of many contacts. Ron organised the cadet squadron from 213 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets, Elanora Qld, and they did a superb job in the Catafalque and Flag Parties. It is lovely to see such enthusiastic young people taking part in these memorial services and carrying on the traditions of defence service. It is understood that the WRAAF Branch made a donation to 213 Squadron as a thank you for their participation and contribution to the service. A number of ladies were impressed with the music “Absent Friends” and we intend to contact Ron and ask him for details of this music. The poem “A Little Sprig of Wattle” was included as a contribution to the ANZAC Centenary. 186 ladies stayed on for the lunch afterwards and by all accounts it was a very enjoyable affair and rounded off the reunion weekend.
For more photos check out Lyn Mitchell’s website
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 11
You can access the latest RAAF News – now simply called Air Force – online by going to
You can check out the latest issue of the Radschool magazine by going to, click on Magazines then follow the prompts to the latest volume.
RAAF Amberley Museum
Remember to keep an eye on the website for updates on how the WRAAF collection is progressing at
Health and Well-Being Officer
Maureen Stewart sends out birthday greetings and get well cards and regularly keeps in contact with members who are not faring too well. If you know someone who is not well, going or been to hospital or experienced a bereavement let Maureen know –
Update Your Details
If you change your email or postal address or phone number PLEASE advise the Secretary ASAP –
Important Email addresses
To contact our President, Treasurer or Secretary please use the following emails: ; ;
Paying for functions, trips etc.
Payments for membership, functions, fees, clothing etc. can be made to the Treasurer at meetings or deposited (electronically or manually) into our Suncorp Account.
? Account Name: (WR) WRAAF Branch RAAFA Qld Div. BSB No. 484 799 Account No. 04107 1771
? Cheques made out to WRAAF Branch RAAFA Qld Div.
? Direct deposit – Put name on bottom of deposit slip, include reason – fees, functions etc. & contact Truus Perry – see below – notifying her you have made a deposit and what it is for.
Membership fees must reach our Treasurer in time to send form & fees to the RAAFA by mid-April. If not received by this time you become unfinancial and must rejoin RAAFA/WRAAF Branch on 1 July.
Full membership: $32.00 per year Associate membership/Newsletter Subscription: $12.00 per year
Newsletter – October to December 2015
Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association Queensland Division
WRAAF Branch Newsletter –Oct to Dec 2015
Printed with the kind assistance of Councillor Bruce Casos, Division 4, ICC 12
President: Carol McCool Phone: 0419 798 567 Email:
Deputy President: Pam Condie Email:
Secretary: Jan Noack Email:
Minute Secretary: Pam Condie Email:
Treasurer: Truus Perry Email:
40 Sunnyside Road, Scarborough, Qld 4020
Assistant Treasurer: Jill Buckland Email: *****
General Committee Members: Jill Buckland, Gillian Shepherd, Eunice Smith, Margaret Humphries
Please contact an Executive Committee member at any time if you have a question or query
Please forward any items of interest for publication in the newsletter to with the subject heading “Newsletter”.
The WRAAF Website is

East Sale WRAAF Cruise update

03/01/2016 at 1:29 am

It is quite obvious there is an East Sale reunion in Coolum this year. Visit the website https://wraafraa

So I am working on the theory of a cruise in February 2017. Will keep you updated.

Photos of 2015 Coolangatta WRAAF reunion by Lyn Mitchell

30/11/2015 at 1:31 pm

Photos of WRAAF reunion 2015 Coolangatta

Hello everyone

Finally got to resize the photos of the reunion so that I could post them for you. I’ve found this is the easiest way to view them. Please feel free to copy and save if you find a good one. I am no professional, but sometimes I jag a good one.

It was a great reunion and I hope we get to do it again somewhere.

Love and best wishes to all

Lyn Mitchell

The link is:

WRAAF Reunion Gold Coast 2014 Change of Accommodation Rates

02/07/2014 at 4:26 pm

The original prices on the Registration form were incorrect, as quoted by a staff member.  The prices below have been corrected by the Manager & this is the email he sent.

1 Bedroom- sleep 2/2 nights = $518            sleep 2/3nights =  $568            sleep 6/7 nights = $   518
2 Bedroom- sleep 4/2nights =  $616            sleep 4/3nights =  $666            sleep 6/7 nights = $1,309
3 Bedroom- sleep 6/2nights =  $714            sleep 6/3 nights = $764            sleep 6/7 nights = $1,645

Mike Bell




RAAF/WRAAF East Sale 60s Era Reunion Update

10/03/2014 at 3:33 pm

Remember Sale Ites
7/8/9th November
There has been an amendment which might make a difference to your bookings for accommodation.
From Jim Birrell
we have cancelled the booking at the Cri and are now planning to use the Greyhound Racing Club (GRC).
The GRC is located near the corner of the Sale / Maffra Road and is very handy to a number of accommodation options. The GRC has offered us an upstairs room for both days at no cost. Bar facilities are available in the room.
On the same site is the Sale Showgrounds Motor Home / Caravan Park (03 51446432) with 112 powered sites and many unpowered sites available. This place has very good reviews in WikiCamps and I will certainly be staying there. 50 metres walk to the venue.
The ibis Styles Motel ( is 100 metres walk to the venue. Quote RAAF Reunion for discount.
Another very close motel is the Ace Swan, which is diagonally opposite the venue at 386 Princes Highway.
There are plenty of other places to stay in Sale so please don’t feel obliged to use those listed above.
We will have a casual Meet and Greet on the Friday, with finger food.
We will have a sit down dinner on Saturday in the room on Saturday evening. There is a happy hour at the venue from 5:30 to 6:30 which should start the evening quite nicely.
Ralph has arranged for the Swing Bridge to be opened between 3 and 4 on Saturday.
Ralph has also suggested that we may wish to visit the Services Museum at West Sale on the Saturday morning.
I will be trying to organise a game of Bowls with my old mate Dangler Lynch, who has confirmed that he will be attending this year.
Apologies to those who have already booked accommodation closer to the original venue but I assure you that we are on to a winner at the greyhound Track. Those who were at Paddy’s funeral will remember it well.

For further information please contact Jim Birrell []