Tram Conductress in her new uniform pictured standing in the doorway of a tram Brisbane 1942

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Where: Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

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When: 01 January 1942

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Creator: Queensland Newspapers Pty Ltd.

Location: Brisbane, Queensland.

Description: Women were employed as tram conductresses to help relieve the shortage of manpower during World War II. (Description supplied with photograph)

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Owner: State Library of Queensland, Australia
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 1378
trams road town uniform worldwarii tramconductors woman state library queensland duty standing doorway brisbanetrams vintageuniforms

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    • 29/Mar/2022 01:17:29

    Frequent media reports regarding conductresses underlined both their efficiency and decorative appearance, especially the smartness of their uniforms, emphasizing their femininity. This approach defused accusations of masculinization of women, which was thought to be a characteristic of Communist ideology. This was particularly important, as influential conservative elements had an extreme fear of a Communist uprising. As a result, they were intensely suspicious of any initiative that was not aligned with their conceptions of civil society. One of the best examples of the media coverage was the photographic essay published in The Australasian of 26 September 1942 entitled “Tram girls are doing a vital war job”, covering the transition of Miss Charl Round from her previous occupation as a nurse in a mental hospital to becoming a full-fledged M&MTB conductress working from Hawthorn Depot. The physical attractiveness of Miss Round added to the strength of the message. This strategy was so successful that the role women played as tram conductresses were held up as an example to society, showing that women had a true and valid right to participate in the general workforce, in occupations that had previously been forbidden to them – and that the total war effort was dependent on their participation, across industries as varied as abattoirs and the post office, munitions and aircraft factories, and as skilled technicians in laboratories. In the services, women were even trained in the combat role of manning anti-aircraft guns, as well as in the intelligence services as radio intercept operators and code breakers. Source: