• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0518

Swinney, Stella Edith

(1911 – 1999)
  • Born 15 March, 1911, Sydney New South Wales Australia
  • Died 4 June, 1999, Canberra Australian Capital Territory Australia
  • Occupation Servicewoman


Stella Swinney completed her Bachelor of Arts at Sydney University and then worked at Farmer & Coy Ltd, Sydney, before joining the Women’s Australian National Services and the Australian Women’s Army Service. After completing a course at the Officers’ Training School she was posted to New South Wales Line of Command Area. Swinney was responsible for training and administration of the Australian Women’s Army Service in New South Wales. She took over from Major Eleanor Manning as Assistant Controller of New South Wales in May 1943.


Stella Swinney graduated from Sydney University in 1933 with honours in Psychology. She was on a Teaching scholarship, but was unable to get a teaching position, as the Government was not employing teachers in that period of the Great Depression. She joined the retail firm and eventually became staff training officer.

After working in that capacity for eight years, she joined the Australian Women’s Army Service and reached the rank of Major.

In 1944 she was invited to join the Department of Post-War Reconstruction to assist with the re-establishment of ex-servicewomen. In 1948 she travelled to Britain as interviewing and selection officer and travelled all over the country interviewing people as prospective migrants for Australia.

In 1951 she returned to Australia and worked for two years as secretary of Sydney University Women’s Union, then took a position as Training Officer with Bonds Industries. Her next appointment was as Personnel Officer for Grace Bros.

In 1962 she was appointed Principal of Duval College, at the University of New England, Armidale, a position she held for ten years, until 1972.

In June 1973, she accepted a position as Woman’s advisor to Mr J. Douglas Anthony leader of the Country Party in Australia to complete a report on the involvement of women in that party, with suggestions for greater participation for women at all levels, including policy-making.

In her retirement in Canberra she was involved with the Returned Services League and the Penguin Club.



  • 1937 - 1941

    Staff Training Officer at Farmer & Coy Ltd, Sydney

  • 2041 - 2044

    Member of the Australian Women’s Army Service

  • 2043 - 2044

    Assistant Controller of the Australian Women’s Army Service New South Wales Line of Command, she held the rank of Major.

  • 1933 - 1937

    Assistant to the Staff Training Officer at Farmer & Coy Ltd, Sydney

Published resources

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) (1941 - 1947)