WRAAC History

For over 100 years Australian women have played a significant role in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) commencing in the 1890's when the first Army Nursing Service was established in NSW. Today women continue to play an integral part in the defence of Australia.

After Federation in 1901 the Australian Army was established and Army Nurses served in the Boer War. During the 1940's a shortage of males led to the formation of the Women's Services for the three Arms of the ADF being Army, Navy and Airforce. By the conclusion of World War II the Women's Services were disbanded, except the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS). (In 1949 the AANS received the Royal prefix to become the RAANS).

2011 marked the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Women's Services. Click  btn readmoreto read the Media Release from the Minister of Department of Veterans Affairs.


In 1950 Cabinet approved the reformation of the Women's Services. The reformation was in response to manpower shortages in the military during the Korean War and national service. WRAAC (originally WAAC until the Royal prefix was granted by King George VI in 1951) commenced recruitment in 1951. Year 2011 marks the 60th Anniversary of the formation of WRAAC.

Led by Captain Joan Williscroft members of the Women' Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) at Georges Heights, march through the newly opened gates. The gates were opened by the Governor of NSW, Lieutenant General Sir Eric Woodward. Photo courtesy Australian War Memorial



During the 1970's, Cabinet took the decision to amalgamate the Women's Services with the employment corps and trades of the ADF.  WRAAF was disbanded first in the mid 1970's. WRANS was abolished in 1985. In 1984 WRAAC was disbanded.  In December that year, the final WRAAC recruit course and officer cadets marched out of WRAAC School Georges Heights. In January 1985  WRAAC School closed.



6 Dec 1984. The WRAAC Flag is lowered and slowed marched out of WRAAC School ending almost 25 years service to the defence of Australia 












The Corps Badge was designed by the first Director WRAAC Colonel Kathleen Best OBE RCC. The badge includes the Stars of the Southern Cross representing the southern hemisphere. These are superimposed on a Silver Lozenge which is the heraldic Shield for Women. Surrounding the lozenge are gilt Gum leaves. All is surmounted by St Edward's Crown denoting the attachment to the British Monarchy.



For chronological detail on WRAAC history please go to  http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0388b.htm


Unless otherwise noted this article, its content and images are Copyright of WRAAC Reunited.