Friday, 24 April 2009

a soldier's sweetheart

Could you imagine if 40% of all the men, aged 18 to 44, you knew went off to war?
This is what happened in Australia during the First World War.
What happened to all those women left behind, all the sweethearts, wives, mothers and sisters?
What did they go through?
This is a 'sweetheart' brooch. It is made in the shape of the Rising Sun insignia that the lads wore on their slouch hats. This one is from the Second World War. You wore it with pride on your chest to show that you had a loved one away at war. 

*If you are interested in seeing more 'sweetheart' brooches have a look here. It's not a definitive list but there are some lovely handmade 'recycled' ones there.


  1. Oh, that's beautiful! I didn't know about that tradition. I'm currently reading "The Gentle Arts" which is subtitled "200 years of Australian Women's domestic and decorative arts" by Jennifer Isaacs, which was commissioned for the bicentenary. It's almost a coffee table book, filled with photos of beautiful craft and the stories behind them. There's a whole chapter devoted to crafts produced during the war both for home and abroad. The boys got warm winter woolies (so many that one solider is quoted in a letter to his wife saying "Honestly, I'm not a centipede!" But the home crafts were doilies, milk jug covers and cushions emblazoned with patriotic slogans. There's an great quote (talking about why a woman made an apron with the Sydney Harbour Bridge on it that celebrated it's opening) that says "In those days we simply made the things we were interested in at the time. I suppose today you would buy a painted tshirt with Sydney Harbour Bridge on it or something like that, but then we made things ourself... It was a way of feeling part of everything - the exciting things."

    Thank you for sharing this brooch, I'm so happy to now know about it!


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