Historical information

The Volunteer Air Observers Corps (VAOC) was a civil defence formed on 31st December 1941 as part of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) support during World War II. The VAOC rapidly developed observation posts manned by men and women all over Australia, the main purpose being to identify and report any aircraft movement to an RAAF regional base. During the early days of 1942 the posts were manned 24 hours a day, gradually relaxing as the threat to Australia lessened. All members were continually trained in aircraft identification and provided an invaluable service to the RAAF. The VAOC was disbanded in April 1946. During its operation over 2,600 observations posts were maintained and approximately 25,000 personnel served.

These certificates were presented to Mrs. H (Hazel) Penfold and Mr. A. R. (Alexander Rex) Penfold in recognition of 3 years of service during this period. Hazel was the daughter of Mark Ellwood and Rosina Mary Smale and the older sister of Grace, wife of John Hamilton-Smith. The family of Grace and John Hamilton-Smith have donated many items to the Wodonga & District Historical Society.


This item commemorates one of the important roles played by civilians on a local, state and national level during WW2 and is attached to a local Wodonga family.

Physical description

2 coloured certificates on cream paper. The design includes 2 aircraft and a man and woman positioned between with the Union Jack and the Australian flag in the top section above the Royal Australian Air Force insignia and the words "For King and Country" Dark cream columns with a pale blue surround frame the details on the certificate. 3 one Years service stickers are attached at the bottom above the insignia of the Volunteer Air Observers Corps.

Inscriptions & markings

For King and Empire Presented to Mrs H. Penfold
As a record and in appreciation of patriotic response to the
call of country by serving in the
This 20th day of September 1945
signed G. Jones
Air Vice Marshall Chief of Air Staff
signed ?
Unit Commanding Officer