"DIG FOR VICTORY" MOVEMENT
IN AUSTRALIA
DURING WWII

 

On 14 June 1941, the Brisbane Courier Mail, reported:-

"Nearly 50 girls from offices, shops, workrooms, and libraries enrolled last evening in a "Dig For Victory" Club which it is hoped will be the nucleus of a movement extending into many suburbs and country districts."

Mrs. H. G. Hansford chaired the first meeting at 5:45pm on 13 June 1941 at 341 Queen Street, Brisbane and agreed to become the President of the new Club. "Dig For Victory" had been one of the best known wartime slogans in Great Britain during WWII. Mrs. H. G. Hansford said:-

"I want to get everyone in Brisbane digging, even if they do not dig for our club, if they can dig only one day a month they will be welcome."

Mrs. H. Williams became the Treasurer and she received donations for the Club through the Red Cross Cafe.

The "Dig For Victory" Movement had no uniform and few rules and a nominal subscription. They had been offered land in Belmont, Indooroopilly and and Enoggera. Mrs. H. G. Hansford said she hoped that clubs would be formed in those areas. They also received offers of help from men to carryout the initial hard digging in the new gardens.

The new club started digging on 22 June 1941. Members mostly worked in the gardens on the weekends. Their first crops were in some allotments at Wendell Street, East Brisbane where they grew eschalots, radishes, lettuce and other salads. Their produce were given to the Red Cross Convalescent homes for soldiers and to the Red Cross Cafe. They also planted papaw trees and passion fruit vines.

In about June 1941, ten acres of land was made available at Bulimba. The "Dig for Victory" Movement needed 40 more members to work in the Bulimba gardens. The club made accommodation available for billeting on site.

During The Brisbane Show Week (Ekka) in August 1941, dancers in farming and garden clothes attended the first social function of the "Dig For Victory" Movement at a "Back to the Farm" dance.

On 28 February 1942, 80 members of the Brisbane Women's Hockey Association started digging for victory in an acre of ground at the rear of the Lady Wilson Red Cross Convalescent Home in Chelmer, in Brisbane. The club decided not to play fixtures that year and dug in the garden every Saturday under the supervision of Mr. W. H. Bechtel, Agricultural Advisor with the Department of Agriculture and Stock. They grew lettuce, beetroot, tomatoes, radishes and other vegetables for use by the Lady Wilson Red Cross Convalescent Home so that they became self sufficient. Mrs. H. G. Hansford of the "Dig For Victory" Movement brought along 20 of her members to help the Hockey girls on that first day.

Many sporting and other organisations joined the "Dig For Victory" movement. The Basketball Union supplied workers for Garden No. 1 at Wendell Street, East Brisbane.

The National Fitness Movement looked after Garden No. 8 at Clayfield supplying their produce to "Rosemount". They also sent lettuce to the Red Cross Cafe. Mr. Pritchard and Mrs. M. Young worked in the Clayfield garden every Thursday morning. They had some trouble getting sufficient volunteers to help with the mid week weeding and watering duties.

The Brisbane Courier Mail reported on 22 April 1942 that:-

"Gifts of salad vegetables from Dig For Victory gardens are now being received by four military hospitals - 112th Australian General, 101st Camp Convalescent, Rosemount, and the Lady Wilson Red Cross Convalescent home."

On Saturday 9 May 1942, eighteen ladies from the "Coorparoo Girls' Comradeship" group led by Miss M. Rea, began a new garden at "Erica" at Coorparoo as part of the "Dig For Victory" Movement campaign organised by Mrs. H. G. Hansford. Mr. E. Tree, of the Department of Agriculture and Stock, provided advice to the girls.

The garden at Loretto, on Cavendish Road, Coorparoo grew silver beet and peas.

On Thursday 28 May 1942, the National Fitness Council showed a program of short movies in St. Luke's Hall to raise funds for the Dig For Victory Movement .

Office Bearers in August 1942 were as follows:-

Chairman - Mr. H. Hansford
Honorary Secretary - Miss Jess Clarke
Honorary Treasurer - Miss Lena Ruskey
Publicity Officer - Miss A. Somerville

 

GARDEN LOCATION
No. 1 Garden Wendell Street, East Brisbane
No. 2 Garden 112th Hospital, "Yungaba" Kangaroo Point
No. 3 Garden Unknown
No. 4 Garden Mrs. Thies, Turner & Grafton Streets, Windsor
No. 5 Garden Lady Wilson Red Cross Convalescent Home in Chelmer
No. 6 Garden Loreto Convent, Coorparoo for 101st Convalescent Depot
No. 7 Garden

"One Man Garden" Wendel Street, East Brisbane for Anzac Hostel, Kangaroo Point

No. 8 Garden Residence of Mr. W. B. Darker, Union Street, Clayfield
No. 9 Garden "Erica", Cavendish Road, Coorparoo for 101st Convalescent Depot

 

The Brisbane Courier Mail reported on Wednesday 23 June 1943:-

" Fresh young green vegetables supplies by the Dig For Victory Movement are of the greatest benefit to sick and wounded servicemen said hospital officials yesterday.

"The dietitian at Greenslopes Military Hospital said that to men coming from northern areas, the salad materials which supplemented hospital supplies were most valuable. Besides quantities of lettuce and tomatoes the Dig For Victory Movement had sent spring onion and eschalots which were not easy to obtain, and were much appreciated by the patients."

"The Medical Superintendent of Rosemount Hospital (Dr. W. H. Steele) said that all patients except those on milk diet, were provided with green vegetables. Those supplied by the Dig For Victory Movement, particularly the tomatoes, were of very high quality, and had the advantage of being delivered fresh without having to lie about in the markets or receive a lot of handling."

The Brisbane Courier Mail reported on Wednesday 11 August 1943:-

"The Dig For Victory movement has supplied more than 12,600 lettuce - as well as large quantities of other vegetables - to military hospitals free of cost during the last 12 months."

 

REFERENCES

"Digging For Victory - New War Work", Brisbane Courier Mail, Friday 13 June 1941, page 9

"Many City Girls Join "Dig For Victory" Club, Brisbane Courier Mail, Saturday 14 June 1941, page 3

"Dig For Victory Plans", Brisbane Courier Mail, Monday 30 June 1941, page 13

"Girls Dig for Victory at Convalescent Home", The Telegraph (Brisbane), Saturday 28 February 1942, page 7

"Victory Diggers' Call to Kitchen", Brisbane Courier Mail, Tuesday 31 March 1942, page 6

"Dig For Victory Gardens in Crop Stage", Brisbane Courier Mail, Wednesday 22 April 1942

"At Erica, Coorparoo", The Telegraph (Brisbane), Saturday 9 May 1942, page 7

"The War Cause ... To Dig For Victory", Brisbane Courier Mail, Saturday 9 May 1942, page 6

"Victory Garden at City Army Hospital", Brisbane Sunday Mail, Sunday 10 May 1942

"Sporting Bodies Dig For Victory", Brisbane Courier Mail, Saturday 23 May 1942

"Digging For Victory", Brisbane Courier Mail, Monday 17 August 1942, page 6

"Victory Gardens Aid Soldiers in Hospital", Brisbane Courier Mail, Wednesday 23 June 1943, page 5

"Dig For Victory Gardens' Record", Brisbane Courier Mail, Wednesday 11 August 1943, page 5

 

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This page first produced 22 April 2017

This page last updated 22 April 2017