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WASPS Directory, 1943

The Women’s Agricultural Security Production Service (WASPS) made a significant contribution to the national war effort during World War II by ensuring food crops were planted, harvested, and transported to market. This role fell to female labor because so many men were engaged in the war effort. The WASPS ensured that Australians at home and troops overseas were fed during the war years.

The Port Macquarie WASPS branch was formed in April 1943 with the support of the local Vegetable Growers’ Association. By 1944, the group had grown to 150 members, the largest of all WASPS groups. At the time, the WASPS branch was working with 60 local growers who transported the women, many of them girls, to their farms each day for 8-hour shifts. The workers were paid for their labor, 2/6 per bushel for peas and 1/6 for beans.

This hand-drawn and colored map of Port Macquarie features numbered locations and a legend indicating farm ownership or lessee details and locality information such as street lighting, roads, telephones, etc. It was used to allocate WASPS workers to farms in the Port Macquarie area.

In 1943, WASPS organized a pea picking competition with female contestants coming from all over the region. It was attended by the Minister of Agriculture and received nationwide publicity. It was won by Thelma Batcheldor who picked 369 lbs. in eight hours.


What was the main vegetable grown in Port Macquarie during World War Two?

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