Historic ANZAC Day for women of the ADF 

ANZAC Day this year was an historic one for the women of the Defence Force, with women from the Army, Navy and Air Force invited to march together in solidarity.

The tri-servicewoman of the ADF banner was unveiled for the first time, with past and present women of the ADF joining together as one.

The show of togetherness was a first for many servicewomen including a 98-year-old Air Force former servicewoman who had never marched before.

Behind the campaign were a few leading women including RAAFA’s Women of the Air Force WA Branch President, Sue McKinnon.

Sue was part of the inaugural April 1985 meeting for the Women’s Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF) Branch WA, when women finally secured recognition for their services in the ADF. The original goal for was to bring together ladies who had served in the Air Force under the umbrella of the RAAFA WA. Sue proudly served for ten years in the WRAAF and RAAF from 1976 until 1986 in a logistics role. During this era women weren’t permitted to serve overseas in Airforce roles and weren’t permitted to fly the planes.

Sue has since continued her service to others through Women of the Airforce organisation, and as a volunteer at the Aviation Heritage Museum.

In 2023, It was decided to rename the branch to the Women of the Air Force to be more inclusive for all women who had served with the RAAFNS, WAAF, WRAAF and more recently the RAAF.

Alongside this name change was the launch of a second new banner which was unveiled for ANZAC Day.

“With the change of name, we decided it was an ideal opportunity to set about designing a banner to include all women who served.  It was proudly displayed for the first time at the parade on ANZAC Day 2024,” said Sue. 

Sue is looking forward to seeing more women feeling included and welcome to march, honouring their history and role in the ADF.

“To march down the terrace and have the crowds waving and clapping you feel like your heart is going to burst,” said Sue.

Women of the ADF will be continued in future ANZAC Day parades. More women are encouraged to join, even if they have never marched before.