Wendy James - child evacuee | Second World War

Running time
1 min 30 sec
Date made
Place made
Australia

Wendy James was just six years old when her mother and siblings were evacuated from their home in Darwin, just before the bombing of Darwin. Wendy revisits the challenges her family faced during the war.

Transcript

LIZ HAYES: I'm Liz Hayes. For International Women's Day 2019, we recognise the role of women in wartime. Women like Wendy James from Darwin. Together with her mother and siblings, 6-year-old Wendy was evacuated just before the Japanese started bombing the top end in February of 1942.

WENDY JAMES: Being a refugee in the wartime was probably one of the most unpleasant memories of my life. We lived in people's back rooms and we had no money. And my father's letters would arrive and they would fall out of an envelope like confetti because of the censorship. They would just be snipped all the way through, so we'd sit in the kitchen table trying to put all these lines of writing together to say — well, we know he's alive, but umm, yes, we don't know what's going on.

I believe we were refugees; economically and physically, because although we had a lot of family in Western Australia, they had their own terrible problems. Their sons and their husbands were all away at war. In fact, it wasn't that long after the Depression, really, and people had only just started to gather themselves together when this happened. So they really didn't want a family of three and four people landed on their doorstep, much as they loved us.

LIZ HAYES: Women in Wartime – recognising their role and their sacrifices during war and peacekeeping efforts.

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