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01 Track 1.wma
Family Articles

Flora Kearvell (nee Gelven) WW2 Australian Women’s Land Army

Flora was born at Port Pirie, South Australia, in 1916, one of a family of four sisters and two brothers. Her father was a draughtsman engineer and her mum was to die when Flora was only thirteen years old. Flora was always keen on an outdoor life and at an early age was working on farms at Ardrossan.

At the outbreak of World War Two she moved into the city and took a job in a munitions factory to assist the war effort. She worked there for about eleven months before hearing about the formation of an Australian Women’s Land Army, which she was pleased to join.

Her wartime story is told by herself on an Australian War Memorial audio recording that was made in April 1985. The Australian War Memorial organisation has kindly granted permission for the audio recording to be made available on our Family History website: www.kearvell.com

The recording lasts about 1 hour 15 minutes and takes the form of an interview between Flora and Sue Hardisty, a researcher.

The recording is an interesting insight into the lives of the Land Army girls who took over the jobs of farm workers who had joined the Armed Services. Many believed the Women’s Land Army would not be able to replace the men - but by the end of the War they would have to “eat their words”. Sadly, the Land Army girls’ contribution to the war effort is only now being fully recognised and acknowledged. For many years they have remained a “forgotten service”.

Life was very tough for the women and the work ‘back-breaking’. As Flora says, “hard yakka”! Her recording takes us through many aspects of the job including pay, working conditions, camaraderie, rationing, social occasions, victory celebrations and meeting her future husband, Howard Kearvell, an Army Guard at the Loveday Internment Camp. They were married in 1945 at the end of the War. Flora died in 2011.

She includes many anecdotes in her recording - not least the one about Howard and the laxative chocolate.......but I’m not going to spoil her story by telling you the outcome!


To listen in to the recording please “click” on the Australian War Memorial CD cover picture below. The recording spans two tracks. “Click” on the tracks in turn. The total play is about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Australian War Memorial ID Number S02705


To obtain a copy of this recording please contact the Australian War Memorial at www.awm.gov.au


The Kearvell Family website is pleased to acknowledge the help and permission given by the Australian War Memorial in making this recording available.

02 Track 2.wma

Track 1  approx 45 mins

Track 2  approx 30 mins


For each track, they will need to download to your pc in their entirety before the recording audio commences in your Windows Media Player. Therefore the download times will vary depending on your Internet connection. On a reasonable broadband connection Track 1 will load in 2-3 mins and Track 2  in 1-2 mins