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Maxwell, Barbara Edwina Audrey (1932 - 1991)

Colonel

Born
6 October 1932
Rangoon, Burma
Died
17 May 1991
Occupation
Servicewoman
Alternative Names
  • Starrett, Barbara (married name)

Summary

Born in Burma in 1932, Barbara Maxwell came to Australia with her family in 1946 and attended Girdlestone School, Perth, Western Australia. She joined the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC) in 1952, serving in Japan, and was in every Australian Command with the exception of Eastern Command.

While posted to the 11th RAANC, Western Command, Warrant Officer 2 (WO2) Barbara Maxwell gained selection for the Officers' Cadet School. This was after the Military Board gave approval for other ranks of the RAANC to attend the Women's Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) Officer Cadet School. Except for the last few days of the course Barbara Maxwell wore her RAANC grey uniform and she won the 'Scarf of Honour' (dux) for the course.

Barbara Maxwell was fourth Director of the Women's Royal Australian Army Corps from 5th July 1977 to 14th March 1979. She was the first Director who had not previously served in Australia's wartime army. Following her retirement from the Army Barbara Maxwell pursued a business career with her husband, Bruce Starrett. [1]

[1] Soldiers of the Queen by Janette Bomford p. 117

Details

Events

1951 - 1959
Served with the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC)
1954
Member of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces in Japan
1954
Awarded the British Commonwealth Occupation Force medal
1960
Attended officer cadet course at Women's Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) School, Georges Heights
1960
Awarded top academic cadet prize
1961 - 1962
Lieutenant instructor and platoon commander of the WRAAC School Recruit Training Wing
1963 - 1964
Lieutenant Adjutant and Quartermaster at the WRAAC Barracks, Melbourne
1964 - 1965
Captain Staff Officer at the Royal Military College, Duntroon (Australian Capital Territory)
1966 - 1967
Captain Staff Officer with the Department of Defence (Army Office)
1968
Captain Staff Officer and Officer Commanding 6 WRAAC Headquaters Tasmania Command
1969
Captain, senior instructor at the WRAAC School
1969 - 1972
Involved in organization and conduct of collections for Red Cross, Austcare, etc., with Mosman City Council
1969 - 1972
Major, chief instructor at the WRAAC School
1972
Married (Lieutenant Colonel) Bruce Starrett
1972 - 1974
Lieutenant Colonel, assistant director WRAAC Headquarters Eastern Command at Victoria Barracks, Paddington
1972 - 1979
Member of the Royal Australian Naval Sailing Association
1973 - 1974
First servicewoman crew member of service-owned yacht in the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race
1974 - 1975
Involved in organization and conduct of collections for Red Cross, Austcare, etc., with Mosman City Council
1974 - 1975
Lieutenant Colonel, commanding officer and chief instructor at the WRAAC School
1975 - 1977
Lieutenant Colonel, staff officer grade 1 at the Directorate of Service Conditions with the Department of Defence (Army), Canberra
1977 - 1978
Involved in establishment of WRAAC Association
1977 - 1979
Colonel, director of the WRAAC
1978
Awarded National Medal and Bar
1979 - 1991
Colonel in Reserve of Officers Headquarters, 2nd Military District

Sources used to compile this entry: Ollif, Lorna, Colonel Best and her soldiers: The Story of the 33 years of the Women's Royal Australian Army Corps, Ollif Publishing Company, Hornsby, NSW, 1985, 249 pp; WRAAC Association, A Stroll down memory lane, 2001, 38 pp.

Related entries

Archival resources

Australian War Memorial Research Centre

  • Army Minister visits WRAAC School DPR/TV/1513, 12 July 1972, F04559; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details

National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room

  • [Biographical cuttings on Barbara Maxwell, former head of the Women's Royal Australian Army Corps]; National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room. Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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