Members of Voluntary Aid Detachments (VAD) worked as nursing orderlies in hospitals. They performed jobs such as scrubbing floors, sweeping, dusting and cleaning bathrooms etc. They also cleaned bedpans and washed patients.


AWM ID Number 026569

Voluntary Aid Detachment members drying dishes after they were
washed in an electric washing machine in Sydney on 8 September 1942


Their work was generally carried out in non military hospitals, Red Cross convalescent and rest homes, canteens, and on troop trains. Ward and pantry maid roles however were allowed in military hospitals.

VADs received medical training, but they were not classed as fully qualified nurses. These trained VADs worked in convalescent hospitals, on hospital ships and in the blood bank.

VADs worked at "Glenroma" at Laurel Avenue, Chelmer which was Brisbane's first Australian Red Cross Convalescent home.


AWM IS Number P02522.025

Voluntary Aid Detachment members :- From left to right: QFX51823
Jean Fraser, Edna Stone (back), Ursula Lewis and Allison Murphy.
Outside their tent on the beach at Burleigh Heads, QLD in 1943


The Australian Women's Auxiliary Service (AWAS) was established in 1943 to manage the large numbers of VADs utilised by the military.



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This page first produced 22 May 2009

This page last updated 16 January 2020