Key Note Address, Women in Firefighting Conference 2006

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This key note adress was presented by Dr Merilyn Childs at the International Women in Fire Fighting Conference, 2006. It begins as a pretence that it is 2016, and female firefighters are a normal part of the fire fighting industry.

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Key Note Address, Women in Firefighting Conference 2006

  1. 1. A celebration of diversity in the fire services.Professor Merilyn Childs, University of Western Sydney Retirement Address International Women in Fire Fighting Conference, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia 7th June 2016
  2. 2. The focus of this address… This address is about culture and history, and is based on social research It has not about pitting “men” or “women” fire fighters against each other Rather it is about the way in which we imagine “fire fighters” and how what we imagine is possible is shaped by language & images It will foster the idea that it is time for us to imagine and to remember that it is normal for fire fighters to be female
  3. 3. Good work sister – a century of female fire fighting in Australasia. Dr Merilyn Childs, University of Western Sydney. Key Note AddressAustralasian Women in Fire Fighting Conference, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia 7th June 2006 Web site: http://www.firegirls.info/
  4. 4. Australia and New Zealand sit within a diversegeopolitical, social & economic region.
  5. 5. The Amazons- c1901The First Ladies Fire Brigade, Armidale, NSW Australia.Shown here in their fire fighting uniform.
  6. 6. The Amazons- c1903The First Ladies Fire Brigade, Armidale, NSW Australia.Shown here in their dress uniform.
  7. 7. Captain Minnie Webb Today I’d like to honour all these remarkable, yet normal women of the Amazons. In particular Captain Minnie Webb, arguably the first female Captain in the Australian fire services. Id also ask you to acknowledge the presence of Mrs Netta Darby and Ms Patricia Webb, Minnie Webbs nieces.
  8. 8. Women’s Fire Auxiliary c1940s During WWII, across Australasia, women were deployed in what had previously been deemed to be “men’s” jobs”. One of the jobs they were deployed to perform was fire fighting. The women of the Women’s Fire Auxiliary trained as the men did, attended fires, checked equipment, engaged in community safety, and competed in fire fighting games.
  9. 9. Women’s Fire Auxiliary on parade,c1942.
  10. 10. New Zealand women of the NZWFA
  11. 11. WA Women of the WFA
  12. 12. Women’s Fire AuxiliaryToday, I’d like to ask you to honour the presence of four female fire fighters who served with the NSW Women’s Fire Auxiliary during World War II. Mrs Madeleine Pinning nee Woodham Mrs Norma Ethel Manning nee Nicholls Mrs Marjorie Anderson nee Gow Mrs Nita McClure nee Stephenson
  13. 13. An excerpt from the WIFFConference
  14. 14. Women’s FireAuxiliary –dress uniform,NSW.
  15. 15. Women’s Fire Auxiliary – operationaluniform, NSW.
  16. 16. Yourheritage…
  17. 17. Normalthen…normalnow.
  18. 18. Also normal……
  19. 19. Thanks go to….  Dazzling Fancy Dress, Yagoona. Christine Grant (inspired owner!) & Andrea, Mel, Johanne, Janelle, Gabby, Richelle, Rebecca, Johanna and Pat, for their inspired interpretation of historic photographs, the many hours and skills for turning photographs of historic uniforms into reality  Work experience students Mia Harris and Al Zhu Jin (Ultimo TAFE) and Mahn Ishoo (Macquarie Fields TAFE) who helped out with meticulous stitching and other labour, Dazzling Fancy Dress, Yagoona  Numerous female & male fireys and friends for lending or giving historic artefacts to assist in this and the foyer display

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