Title / object name
|Maker ||Date |
|Unknown ||Early 1940s |
|Overall ||1415 (Height) mm|
Gift of Elizabeth Williams, 2008
This pair of overalls provides a rare opportunity to document women's work during a fascinating period of social history in New Zealand, when many young women were placed on farms during the Second World War to maintain the agricultural economy during a time of male labour scarcity. The New Zealand Women's Land Service was the largest of the women's war services. 2,711 Land Girls were placed on farms and hundreds more served unofficially on family farms, totalling 2,963 different farms.
These overalls were issued by the government as part of the working equipment for Land Girls. Three pairs of working overalls were issued to Land Girls upon placement (along with many other items of dress). Replacement overalls could be purchased after 6 months. The overalls were considered very useful at the time, and their owners continued to wear them after the war, particularly if they continued farming. These particular overalls (from a collection of three) were worn by Elizabeth Williams (nee Nolan) during the war when she worked on her father's and neighbour's farms in Poverty Bay, and for many years afterwards. She wore them while farming and house painting - consequently, they bear the evidence of multiple uses, sustaining paint stains, rips and mended tears.