Macquarie University
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Australian WWII war brides in America: their memories and experiences

posted on 2022-03-28, 22:42 authored by Robyn Anne Arrowsmith
This thesis is the first in-depth study of the experiences of Australian WWII war brides of American servicemen who went to live in post-war America. By drawing on the oral testimony of 60 of these women, their narrated memories create a rich archive which allows this cohort to articulate their individual wartime experiences and to place them within the context of the national wartime arena where their voices have not previously been heard. This study examines the power of public perceptions during wartime, and challenges the gendered myths and stereotypes relating to young women who married American servicemen. These women were thought to have married hastily before embarking on an adventurous journey to an exciting future in a new land. In extracting evidence from recorded interviews, this thesis reveals the stark realities the Australian war brides faced when they decided to marry an American serviceman, and clearly demonstrates how the experiences of this particular group of women differed greatly from the contemporary stereotypes. The archive created for this study shows the diversity of this cohort, and reveals how their migration experience differed from that of other war brides and other female immigrants to America. The war brides’ testimony uncovers the motivations which influenced their decisions to become US citizens, and the thesis examines their resourcefulness and pro-active approach in dealing with this, and many other challenges they faced, both in Australia and in America. The war brides’ maintenance of strong links with Australia over a sixty-year period shows an enduring attachment to their families and the land of their birth.


Alternative Title

Australian World War Two war brides in America: their memories and experiences

Table of Contents

Introduction -- 1. Meeting and falling in love: myths and romance -- 2. Red tape -- 3. 'Ladies in waiting': the long wait to join husbands and fiancés -- 4. Sailing to America -- 5. Arrival in America -- 6. Living in America - immigrants in a new land -- 7. Links with Australia -- 8. US citizenship for Australian WWII war brides -- Conclusion -- Appendices.


“A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Modern History, Politics & International Relations, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University, 2010” Bibliography: p. 340-362

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Dept. of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jillian Roe

Additional Supervisor 1

Angela Woollacott

Additional Supervisor 2

Mary Spongberg


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Robyn Arrowsmith 2010




Australia United States


1 online resource (x, 362 p.) ill. (many col.), maps

Former Identifiers