eventive - writing, events, publicity

A Woman's War

Review Comments

'A remarkable story…I heartily endorse the book as means of raising awareness of the chronological events of WW1…
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

As there are so few books written about war from the point of view of women, this timely and wide ranging record is going to contribute greatly to the long neglected female perspective on wars, invariably started by men
Dr Jonathan King, Military Historian

A story that touches every woman’s heart and encapsulates the ANZAC spirit portrayed by the women of WW1, qualities we can all reflect on in facing today’s hardships
Andrea Coote, MP

I would thoroughly recommend it to be read in Secondary Schools and by all women…and I will be passing it to my daughters and granddaughters to read
Joan Spence OAM, President, RSL Womens’ Council

An emotional journey for elderly readers and a great history lesson for everyone else'
Herald Sun

It is rare to read a woman’s account in fiction form…this book offers a timely account of the heart-rendering story of a mother’s loss in war’
The Weekly Times

...this is a mythbuster
Country Style Magazine

...an excellent addition to the reading lists for Australian history
Agora, Feb

...thoroughly researched and rich in detail. ...non-fiction wrapped in a fictional cover.
Fiction Focus, Vol 24

Akin to ‘My Brother Jack’ and ‘Fly Away Peter’, ‘A Woman’s War’ presents themes and historical information, allowing it to marry learning between English and History classes'
HTAV Bulletin

Earthy and insightful…good to find a book that tells the story from a woman’s perspective.
Elizabeth Trudgeon, Ballarat Historical Society

An excellent publication to be put as a “must read” in our high school curriculum.
Gill Coughlan, State Secretary, RSL Womens’ Council

The book explores community spirit, class structure and contemporary politics in early twentieth century Melbourne.
Marion Dewar, Editor, The Country Women’s Association of Victoria Inc


A Woman's War

Rosie is not alone in her growing apprehension towards Australia's involvement in a war. Like many mothers, she feels helpless as her sons are swayed by the relentless pull of 'mateship' and are lured by the sense of 'adventure' awaiting them in another continent. While yearning for news from them in Northern France, Rosie grapples with the changing reality that war is placing on women on the home front. Women are increasingly the fabric of the community and Rosie shoulders her share of responsibility with grinding work at the factory. She also discovers women working for a common cause at an industrious Red Cross parcel drive, converging at a controversial peace rally and embroiled in the conscription debate. Each has a story to tell.

A Woman's War takes us into the life of a mother during the Great War. It provides a unique and intimate perspective of how she and other women of her inner-city, working class community endured an incredibly diffi cult period of Australia's history and exemplified to future generations how to face hardship. This poignant and insightful story reveals tribulations and tragedies not talked about by the generations of women who followed them.

The feature battle of this book is the battle of Pozières, where the Australian army suffered its worst casualty rate in any battle to date – 23,000 over 5-6 weeks.

A Woman's War is available now. If the novel is not on the shelves of your local bookstore, simply ask them to order it in. The publisher is Sid Harta and ISBN is 1-921642-04-1.

About the Authors

Authors

Jacqueline and John Dinan wrote A Woman's War together. Their skills and experience are complementary.

Jacqueline Dinan

Currently, Jacqueline is primarily raising her three sons. In 1999, Jacqueline started up her own public relations consultancy, Eventive, specialising in media relations and event management. Her range of clients has always presented her with an array of projects, thus giving Jacqueline the opportunity to research and write about different topics. Before setting up her own business, Jacqueline was employed by a corporate public relations consultancy. Prior to that, she worked in the human resources department of a multinational company.

John Dinan

For decades John has read about the two world wars. John has developed an immense knowledge of and respect for WW1 history and is particularly interested in the air war above northern France. He draws personal inspiration from the courage and tenacity shown by the men involved. Courage and tenacity were traits he displayed in competing in athletics, culminating in winning the prestigious Stawell Gift in 1980 and representing Australia in the 1986 Commonwealth Games, as well as at several other international track meets. Professionally, John is employed in the financial services industry.

Author Contributed Articles

Forceful Women Kept the Home Fires burning - Daily Telegraph

Forceful Women kept the home fires burning - The Daily Telegraph

Jacqueline Dinan, the co-author of A Woman's War, has written an article for the Daily Telegraph focusing on the effect the First World War had on the women of Australia. Click on the image to view the article in full or download it in PDF.

Source:The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday, April 20, 2010, Page 46

Art and War influence each other

Art and War influence each other - HTAV Bulletin

Jacqueline Dinan, the co-author of A Woman's War, has written an article for the History Teachers' Association of Victoria's Newsletter focusing on the effect the First World War had on Artists in Australia. Click on the image to view the article in full or download it in PDF.

Source: History Teachers' Association of Victoria, HTAV Bulletin Issue 07, 2010, Pages 3-4.

Lions at Large

Lions at Large - The Battle of Pozières - HTAV Bulletin

Jacqueline Dinan, the co-author of A Woman's War, has written an article for the History Teachers' Association of Victoria's Newsletter focusing on the battle of Pozières. Click on the image to view the article in full or download it in PDF.

Source: History Teachers' Association of Victoria, HTAV Bulletin Issue 02, March 2010, Pages 2-3.

Art and War influence each other

Pioneering Spirit Advances Women - HTAV Bulletin

Jacqueline Dinan, the co-author of A Woman's War, has written an article for the History Teachers' Association of Victoria's Newsletter focusing on the affect of the War on the Women of Australia. Click on the image to view the article in full.

Source: History Teachers' Association of Victoria, HTAV Bulletin Issue 05, 2010, Pages 2-3.

Art and War influence each other

Australian historical fiction, marrying History and English - VATE Converence 2010

Jacqueline has recently spoken at the VATE (Victorian Assoc Teachers of English) 2010 Conference and the following article was published in the Conference Booklet.

The article explores how A Woman's War could be studied along similar issues & themes to those found in books such as My Brother Jack & Fly Away Peter. Click on the image to view the article in full or download it in PDF.

Source: Victorian Association Teachers of English, VATE 2010 Converence Booklet, 2010, Pages 2-3.

Snapshot: The Envy of All Troops

Snapshot: The Envy of All Troops

Jacqueline has recently written an article for Agora, the quarterly journal of the History Teacher's Association of Victoria.

The article examines the role Women played in the Australian Red Cross during World War I, where it is believed that the Women of the Australian Red Cross were the envy of all Allied troops. Click on the image to view the article in full or download it in PDF.

Source: Agora, History Teachers' Association of Victoria, Pages 24-25.

Teacher's Notes

A set of Teacher's Notes for A Woman's War has been created by Jacqueline Dinan that are available for download.

Media Release

In much of what has been published in these genres, the realties of the home front keepers, have been generally applied as an addendum to the praise of men who were directly involved in the war.

'A Woman's War' turns inwards to uniquely explore what it was like for women to live through a war. The story of a mother, who helplessly witnesses twin sons embark, highlights the battle on the home front - the personal and community aspects surrounded by the societal and political exterior of the 1914-1918 war years.

The focus is on Rosie, who in her mid to late thirties exemplifies a woman's role of life giver, maker of home and cultivator of community, which is redefined by world scale events. Her story is an account of instinctive aptitude to 'get on with it'; invisibly holding friends and family together and taking on of responsibilities to maintain neighbourhood connectivity and essential factory output.

While she waits for letters from lands never before considered, Rosie shoulders her share of responsibility by walking at a peace rally, working in a factory and participating in a Red Cross parcel drive. At the drive women are working as one in action, yet they do not share the same mindset. Here the evocation of the division between the realities of war and the prevailing ideas for women of the period are marvellously played out, providing a sense of veracity on how the Great War impacted those who were left to uphold things at home.

Thoroughly researched, this novel vividly explores how women harnessed the states of apprehension, sorrow, fear, loneliness and anger into a life force to deal with the loss and deprivation of war and influence the way Australians then reacted to their countries involvement in a global affair. The 1st person narrative is poignant and the plot is simply and seamlessly weaved over a factual base, allowing the story to be understood by women of all walks of life. Though 'A Woman's War' is an historical story, it is also a book for today as women from all cultures continue to cope with present challenges. With its unique presentation of Australian and social history, this very readable novel is ideal for enhancing secondary and tertiary curricula.

Background - The Battle of Pozières

The Battle of Pozières was part of the Somme offensive and was launched on 23 July, 1916. Overall, it went for five-six weeks and comprised three parts: the capture of the Pozières town; the capture of the Pozières ridge; and the subsequent push for the German strongholds at Thiepval and Mouquet Farm. The first ANZAC Corps comprising the survivors of Gallipoli and new reinforcements, led the entire battle.

The town of Pozières was strategically important as it lay on high ground and its capture would give the Allies access to the defence systems of the Germans. The Australians succeeded in capturing the town in twenty-four hours. This was the Germans' first blow in the Somme battle and, as they could not afford to lose such a strategic hold, they retaliated with a fierce artillery barrage in an attempt to remove the Australians. The barrage from the Germans was said to be the worst of the war until that point. Despite that they had suffered high casualties, the Australians withstood it. The town of Pozières ceased to exist.

The Australians then mounted an assault on the Pozières ridge, which was a mere 200 metres from the town. The Germans were well dug in but the Australians captured the ridge in two weeks of fierce fighting.

The Allied High Command decided that the momentum should be used to push on from the ridge and try to take the German-held positions at Thiepval and Mouquet Farm. The Australians tried to take these positions for three weeks but were not successful.

The Australians had delivered significant blows to the German armies by taking the town and ridge, even though they were not successful in taking Thiepval and Mouquet Farm. Huge numbers of Australian men—around 23,000—were killed, taken prisoner, went missing or were wounded in the Battle of Pozières and it remains Australia's costliest battle in terms of ground won for men killed.

The total number of causalities at he Battle of Pozières and an earlier battle at Fromelle, were around 33,000 in the Australian's first six weeks on the Western Front. To put this in perspective, it is worth noting that in the Gallipoli campaign, there were just over 28,000 Australian casualties over a period of eight months.

Background - Why did the World go to War in 1914?

The catalyst for the First World War (1914-1918) occurred in June 1914 when Arch Duke Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria, was assassinated by Serbian nationalists who were trying to gain independence for their country from Austria.

Prior to this in the mid 1800s, the German empire was invading other countries and aggressively expanding its borders. Germany went about protecting its strong position by aligning itself with certain other countries. Other European countries began to protect themselves by aligning either with or against Germany, and any treaty a country signed had to be honoured in the event of an attack on any member state of the alliance.

At the turn of the 20th century, all the nations of Europe were very suspicious and wary of each other. Tensions broke out into conflict when a group of Serbian Nationalists assassinated Arch Duke Ferdinand. The Austro-Hungarian Empire issued an ultimatum to the Serbian Government to hand over those responsible by a certain date. Serbia did not comply with their demand as an act of defiance. Austria-Hungary therefore declared war on Serbia, and this ignited further unrest in Europe. The dominos began to fall.

Russia, a staunch supporter of Serbia, moved its troops towards Austria, which caused Germany to mobilise its army. Germany's initial move was to invade Russia's main ally, France. In doing so, it took its army through Belgium, which was neutral, and in response to this act of aggression, Britain declared war on Germany. Britain's declaration brought in countries from its Empire: Australia, Canada, South Africa, India and New Zealand. Japan was aligned with Britain so it dutifully declared war on Germany also. The British Empire, France, Russia and Japan were known as the Allies, whereas Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were referred to as the Central Powers. In 1915 Italy also aligned with the Allies, followed, in 1917, by the United States of America.

The War lasted for four years and was the most destructive in terms of men and material than any war previously. This war was predominately fought in trenches, and millions of lives were lost with little ground gained by either side. In early 1918, the Central Powers finally made a break in the stalemate and it looked to have the war won. The Allies however stopped the advance and slowly gained control to the point that Germany and its allies were a spent force by November and sought an armistice, which was signed on 11 of November 1918 effective at 11a.m.

Background - Australian Women on the Home Front during WWI

World War 1 advanced women politically and economically and enhanced their independence. There were increased opportunities in the paid labour market with alternatives to domestic service, as well as higher wages and better conditions.

Women's contribution to the workforce rose from 24 per cent of the total in 1914 to 37 per cent in 1918. The increase was in traditional areas of women's work - clothing and footwear, food and printing sectors. There was some increase also in the clerical, shop assistant and teaching areas.

Female workers had been less unionised than their male counterparts. This was because they tended to do part-time work and to work in smaller businesses. World War 1 forced unions to deal with the issue of women's work.

The war did not inflate women's wages. Employers circumvented wartime equal pay regulations by employing several women to replace one man, or by dividing skilled tasks into several less skilled stages. In these ways, women could be employed at a lower wage and not said to be 'replacing' a man directly. Also, contracts of employment during World War One had been based on collective agreements between trade unions and employers, which decreed that women would only be employed 'for the duration of the war'.

Many women became involved in war-related activities - such as cooks, stretcher bearers, motor car drivers, interpreters, and munitions workers. Many women were also actively involved in encouraging men to enlist, and were often used in recruiting and pro- and anti-conscription propaganda leaflets.

Anxiety for their menfolk in war, the pressures of employment, combined with the need to perform housework in strained circumstances and the inadequacy of social services exacted a heavy toll. Many joined a number of women's organisations - including Australian Women's National League, Australian Red Cross, Country Women's Association, Voluntary Aid Detachment, Australian Women's Service Corps, Women's Christian Temperance Union and Women's Peace Army.

Sources:
http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww1/homefront/homefront.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwone/women_employment_01.shtml

Reviews

‘A remarkable story…I heartily endorse the book as means of raising awareness of the chronological events of WW1…’
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

‘As there are so few books written about war from the point of view of women, this timely and wide ranging record is going to contribute greatly to the long neglected female perspective on wars, invariably started by men’
Dr Jonathan King, Military Historian

‘A story that touches every woman’s heart and encapsulates the ANZAC spirit portrayed by the women of WW1, qualities we can all reflect on in facing today’s hardships’
Andrea Coote, MP

‘I would thoroughly recommend it to be read in Secondary Schools and by all women…and I will be passing it to my daughters and granddaughters to read’
Joan Spence OAM, President, RSL Womens’ Council

‘An emotional journey for elderly readers and a great history lesson for everyone else
Herald Sun

‘It is rare to read a woman’s account in fiction form…this book offers a timely account of the heart-rendering story of a mother’s loss in war’
The Weekly Times

‘…this is a mythbuster’’
Country Style Magazine

‘…an excellent addition to the reading lists for Australian history’
Agora, Feb

‘…thoroughly researched and rich in detail…non-fiction wrapped in a fictional cover.’
Fiction Focus, Vol 24

‘Akin to ‘My Brother Jack’ and ‘Fly Away Peter’, ‘A Woman’s War’ presents themes and historical information, allowing it to marry learning between English and History classes
HTAV Bulletin

‘Earthy and insightful…good to find a book that tells the story from a woman’s perspective.’
Elizabeth Trudgeon, Ballarat Historical Society

‘An excellent publication to be put as a “must read” in our high school curriculum.’
Gill Coughlan, State Secretary, RSL Womens’ Council

‘The book explores community spirit, class structure and contemporary politics in early twentieth century Melbourne.’
Marion Dewar, Editor, The Country Women’s Association of Victoria Inc

‘The research that went into this book is phenomenal…it is authentic, real and you feel in total empathy with the story of those left at home’
Aussie Writer’s Rock

A Woman's War Launch

A Woman's War Book Launch

Jacqueline & John Dinan, accompanied by a member of the Australian Reenactment Society, greet Mrs Jan de Kretser, wife of the Victorian Governor, who launched their novel, 'A Woman's War'

© 2016 eventive - writing, events, publicity