Highlife Magazine

Between the Dances is the work of Melbourne-based author, Jacqueline Dinan. The book compiles and shares the stories of more than 300 women who lived during World War II. Dinan travelled throughout Australia to speak with the women and gathered accounts in small towns as well as our capital cities. The stories range from nurses working in the war to housewives who lived through rations and the deaths of their husbands. Each story is a distinctive celebration of what each woman had to endure and live through during the time of war.


Of special mention are three local women included in Between the Dances. Aileen Ralph and Barbara Thelander lived in Sydney at the times of their stories but have since settled in the Downs and surrounds area and Beth Roberts a Toowoomba local for her whole life. Their stories remind us of the rich history of our surrounding areas as well as Australia as a whole.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and as such is a time to reflect on the efforts made, not only by our soldiers, but the contributing women too. Between the Dances offers a perfect opportunity to do so. Dinan says, “This book is a ‘living history’ told at the eleventh hour by a generation that was there and no history text book will tell it as well.” Well-crafted anecdotes and previously unpublished photographs frame the accounts, making it a book about a special part of women’s history, it’s a recommended read.

Words by Bree Caggiati