'All the glamour of the east'

Tilly Shelton-Smith reports from Malaya, 1941

Jeannine Baker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In 1941, the Australian Women's Weekly sent journalist Tilly Shelton-Smith to Malaya to report on the 8th Division AIF from a 'woman's angle'. Allegations that her stories overly emphasised the recreational activities and living conditions of the troops, and implied fraternisation with local Asian women, caused uproar and ongoing resentment. This article examines the episode in the context of wartime tensions around gender, class, race and morale. The author argues that the underlying reason for the malicious attacks on Shelton-Smith was her unacceptable intrusion into the masculine military zone. The Weekly's house style and beliefs about the triviality of women's journalism also contributed to Shelton-Smith's demonisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-216
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Historical Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

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