Pioneer Girls and Flappers: Women’s Work and Community in early 20th century Footscray

Wednesday, March 09, 2022 at 06:30 PM


Melbourne, VIC
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Natasha Cantwell

Public Record Office Victoria is celebrating International Women's Day 2022 with a free online talk, open to everyone!

Pioneer Girls and Flappers: Women’s Work and Community in early 20th century Footscray

From the 1890s through to World War Two, thousands of young women found employment at the Colonial Ammunition Company works on the banks of the Maribyrnong River in Footscray. The site was chosen in part to be close to a large population of working class women to supply the factory with labour. This unusual workforce was intimately connected to the local community, through family, sport, charity, trade union and political ties. The five decades were a whirlwind of disaster, war, strikes, organisation and, in the end, wholesale dismissal. In line with the 2022 IWD campaign theme #BreakTheBias, this talk will explore the transformational and often surprising ways in which these women and their work broke through the bias.


Katie Wood is a PhD Candidate in history at La Trobe University. Her thesis explores the history of women’s work in the metal trades, from the 1880s onwards, as part of a broader ARC project, 'Breaking Down Tradition: Women in male-dominated work, 1840-2000'. She is also a Senior Archivist at the University of Melbourne Archives.

Peter Haffenden is a project manager and former Director at Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West in the City of Maribyrnong. The Museum began its work in the 1980s with a focus on the history of industry in the area and paid special attention to women in industry. During this work and research the Museum developed a unique archive which has interviews with women working in a number of industries, including the munitions industries.

Tickets are free but registration is essential. Register here.

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