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Knitting circles stitch wartime comfort for our troops

As Mackay’s sons fought on foreign soil in World War 1 groups of women at home began knitting their way to offer support one ball of wool at a time.


Not only did the click of their needles provide much needed socks to men on the frontline, but their fundraising efforts would also ensure a lasting tribute to their service.

With conditions on the Western Front constantly wet and cold, soldiers wore two pairs of socks amid the fear of contracting trench foot.


Poorly insulated boots meant socks sometimes only lasted a day or at best few weeks, creating a constant shortage of socks.


Without dry feet, the Allied forces could not survive the rigours of war and maintain a strong defence.


With the outbreak of war, the Red Cross mobilised to create the Australian Comforts Fund in August 1916 and rallied women to knit a million pairs of socks. Read more here

Members of the Cooee Knitting Group in Mackay in WW1. Efforts to date have not been able to find any information published on this group. Pictured from left is Elsie Greenfield, Wanda Brookes, Alice Clarke, Madge Swanson, Dulcie Bernard, Una Dimmock, Ailsa Brown, Isabel Clark and Kath Zillman. Image: Mackay Historical Society.

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