Image Women stapling ration books, 1943

TLF ID R3567

This is a sepia-toned photograph, taken in April 1943, of young women at the South Australian Government Printing Office using large machines to staple ration books.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset illustrates an aspect of the rationing system that was in operation in Australia during the Second World War to limit consumption at home so that the military forces overseas were well supplied with what they needed.
  • It shows cardboard ration book covers for coupons which were issued annually - rationing began in 1940 with petrol, and was extended to food and clothing in 1942, including meat, sugar, tea and butter, and all manufactured apparel, hats, footwear and handknitting wool; in 1943, household drapery and furnishings were added; although food and clothing restrictions were gradually reduced from June 1945, petrol continued to be rationed until early 1950 because of post-War difficulties with foreign exchange and oil supplies.
  • It illustrates the large manually operated stapling machines of the era.
  • It shows women working in the public service - at this time, married women could not be employed in the public service on a permanent basis, although manpower regulations in 1942 registered women for work to fill in gaps left by men serving in the defence forces.
  • It illustrates clothing and hairstyles for women workers during the Second World War - the women are wearing simple long- or short-sleeved knitted wool jersey dresses, or tops and skirts, all of which would have required ration coupons to buy new; and they have rolled or curled shoulder-length hair.
Year level

F; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements