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Army June 21, 2012
If you can think of a
witty caption for the
picture at left, email
au with "caption
comp June 21"
as the subject. Try
to keep entries
under 25 words and
include your name,
rank and unit.
SAY AGAIN, OVER
Last edition's winning entry
"Damn! I left my ID in my other shirt."
Sig Sean Vrana
17 Sig Regt
We also liked
"Okay, which one of you took my
Holsworthy Health Centre
By Bob Dikkenberg
By Lyn Kane Dale
and Samantha Bergersen
Reviewer: John Wellfare
AS THE Army approaches the
lifting of gender restrictions on
all roles, it's interesting to note
that women were once restricted
to serving in either the Women's
Royal Australian Army Corps
(WRAAC) or the Royal Australian
Army Nursing Corps.
Lady Soldiers, a new documen-
tary by former WRAAC member Lyn
Kane Dale and film maker Samantha
Bergersen, explores this recent his-
tory through the stories of 16 of the
more than 10,000 women who joined
the WRAAC and the Nursing Corps
between 1951 and 1985. It follows
the women from enlistment, through
basic training, their careers and dis-
Most of the women featured
joined the Army during the 1960s
and the gender inequalities of the
times come through in their stories.
Like most men and women
who have ever joined the Army, the
women featured in Lady Soldiers
signed up for independence, adven-
ture or to carry on strong family tra-
ditions of military service. Listening
to their stories, viewers can feel the
frustration of women who enlisted
for these reasons and spent their first
postings after basic training washing
dishes in a mess.
WRAAC members had to be
single -- because according to the
Army of the time a married woman's
place was in the home -- so many
of the women featured in the film
were forced to discharge when they
wanted to marry.
Some of the women experienced
bullying and discrimination in their
careers -- beyond the basic discrimi-
nation of only being allowed to serve
in two corps -- but their attitudes
to their military service are mostly
upbeat and most of them seem to feel
the experience was a positive one.
Their stories serve as a reminder
of how far the Army has come since
World War II. One can imagine a day
in the future when people look back
and wonder how we ever thought it
was okay to restrict women from any
role, even combat roles, on the basis
of their gender.
The documentary presentation
can take a few minutes to settle in for
viewers. Because of a lack of avail-
able material and an obviously tight
budget, the visuals are comprised
entirely of photos, not video.
Filmmaker Bergersen has done a
good job keeping movement on the
screen with gentle zooms and pans
over photos as the voices of the 16
women tell their stories, so it's more
than a photo gallery with a sound-
It's a shame the budget didn't
allow for all 16 women's stories to
be filmed in studio interviews, as this
would have broken up the photos and
made it easier to keep track of each
person's story as it unfolded through-
out the film.
The film starts with all the wom-
en's experiences on joining, then
their experiences at recruit train-
ing, then first postings and so on. It
makes sense to present the stories in
this way, rather than telling them in
full one after the other, but without
a filmed interview to fall back on, it
can be a struggle to reconnect with
an individual's story as it comes and
goes throughout the documentary.
For this reason viewers will prob-
ably find themselves getting a bet-
ter understanding of the stories after
watching the film a second or third
It's a forgivable flaw in Lady
Soldiers because it's clear the film
makers were working to a tight budg-
et with an ambitious project.
Lady Soldiers will undoubtedly
bring back memories for former
WRAAC members and is worth a
look for anyone interested in hear-
ing the stories of "ordinary people"
during this interesting period in
Australian military history.
Lady Soldiers is available on DVD for $30.
Contact Lyn Kane Dale on lyn.dale99a@
yahoo.com to order a copy.
Women tell their
stories of service
Different time: Lady Soldiers showcases many photos from the women featured as well as a range of
official images and recruiting advertisements from the period.
Directed by Ridley Scott
PROMETHEUS is about team of sci-
entists investigating a planet believed to
contain clues to the origin of humanity.
Things start to go wrong when two
members become separated and find out
the hard way why there are so many dead
aliens lying around an ancient cavern.
Director Ridley Scott brings in ele-
ments from his original Alien film,
including strong female characters and a
human-like robot with dubious ethics.
But Prometheus expands on the sci-fi
horror of Alien using biological elements
and themes on the origin of humanity.
The main characters continue to
obsess on why humanity was created yet
a simple answer seemed to come when
a scientist told the android that humans
built him simply because they could.
Ridley Scott's main aim for
Prometheus was to explain the giant
"space jockey" sitting in the chair on the
crashed ship in the first Alien movie.
It also offers possible background for
the infamous alien creatures.
The acting is mostly solid and the
visual effects are well up to standard.
However, the movie could have bene-
fited from more character development in
the script and the tight-fitting spacesuits
with fishbowl helmets were reminiscent
of 60s science fiction.
The film answers some questions but
in modern Hollywood style many more
are left unanswered ready for the sequel.
-- Cpl Max Bree
spirit of original
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