- April 1941
- Armed services organisation
The Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) was established in April 1941 when the Royal Australian Navy enrolled 14 women at HMAS Harman, the wireless telegraphy station near Canberra. It was a non-combat branch of the Royal Australian Navy that, liike many of its sister services created during the Second World War, alleviated manpower shortages resulting from men being assigned to combat roles.
WRANS performed a variety of duties, inclduing working as telegraphists, coders and clerks; but also as drivers, education officers, mechanics, harbour messengers, cooks and sickberth attendants.They worked for intelligence organisations and as domestic staff at Government House, Yarralumla.
The Service was temporarily disbanded in 1948, but was re-formed in 1951 to help the RAN cope with manpower shortages. By 1959 the organisation was incorporated as a non-combatant (and thus non-seagoing) part of the permanent naval forces.
Women were permitted to serve aboard Australian naval ships in 1983, which meant that WRANS personnel were fully integrated into the Royal Australian Navy. This being the case, 1984 the WRANS was premanently disbanded.