Women of Empire 1914–1918

The Katherine Mansfield House and Garden are hosting Women of Empire 1914–1918, an exhibition which examines the untold experiences of Anzac women during the First World War.

Photo of a black cloak and a hat on a stand.

Cloak and hat from the exhibition

Paying tribute to the commitment, contribution and sacrifice made by women during World War I, the exhibition will showcase the lives of 30 women from Australia and New Zealand through period costume and ephemera. Whether serving as nurses on ships and battlefields, carrying messages by motorcycle, supporting frontline operations or working in new roles on the home front, women's lives were transformed by WWI.

One such woman was Dr Agnes Bennett, who took herself off to Egypt when war broke out to serve with the New Zealand Medical Corps, before taking command of the 7th Medical Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia.  After the war, Dr Bennett continued pioneering work in maternal and infant welfare and women’s education, setting up practice in Wellington.

Women of Empire aims to show the diversity of women's experiences by presenting a variety of costumes, ranging from military-style uniforms to ornate ensembles worn by society women. Curated by the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume, custodians Fiona and Keith Baverstock have toured the show in museums across Australia and New Zealand. With Wellington as the final destination, this is the last opportunity to see the Women of Empire in New Zealand before it returns to Australia.

Sponsored by the Wellington City Council, Women of Empire will be on display at the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden from 22 March–1 May. Entry will be free during ANZAC week.