Aboriginal women and girls knitting for the war effort, 1941


Resource title: Aboriginal women and girls knitting for the war effort, 1941

Digital resource identifier: R9401

Resource description
This posed black-and-white photograph shows Aboriginal women and girls from Cumeroogunga Reserve in New South Wales.

Stage of schooling: Middle Primary

CCE focus: Government and Law


The photograph shows Indigenous women and girls knitting for Australian personnel serving overseas in the Second World War. Some of the socks, jumpers, scarves and balaclavas they have made are displayed in front of them. This learning object provides an opportunity for students to explore Australian values using a historical context, as well as the contribution of Indigenous men and women to Australia’s war effort during the Second World War.

Opportunities for Civics and Citizenship learning

‘Aboriginal women and girls knitting for the war effort, 1941’ provides opportunities for students to:

  • explore the contribution made by women during times of war

  • explore life on the ‘home front’ and the contributions made by ordinary Australians in the Second World War

  • investigate Indigenous people’s struggle for civil and political rights

  • recognise that Indigenous Australians have made significant contributions to Australian society

  • arrive at an understanding of the ‘common good’ in democratic societies.

Ideas for the classroom

  • Brainstorm and list the values admired in contemporary Australian society. Ask students to relate these to Australian identity and to think about their origins.

  • Show the photograph to the class and encourage students to place the photograph in its historical context.

  • Ask students to think about how the photo relates to the values they nominated as important.

  • Provide students with additional information about the photograph and about the deprivation of rights suffered by Indigenous people at the time

  • Ask students to identify the values the women and girls are upholding.

  • Complete the activity by asking students to write an article for a newspaper of the time using the photograph and supporting the group’s efforts, but making the link to the political and legal status of Indigenous people at the time.