School of Arts

Melissa Watts

CRCAH doctoral candidate

Women in the Australian Survey Corps during WWII, their work and ongoing legacy in Australian historical study and culture


From 1942-45 members of the Australian Women's Army Service (A.W.A.S.) served as cartographers and drafts women in the Australian Survey Corp. Their role was to produce maps, service and technical manuals and maintain confidential details for the Australian Defence Force during WWII. They were stationed at the Villa Fortuna mansion in Bendigo.

Watts will produce a novel and academic thesis based on these servicewomen. These texts will examine the women's backgrounds, the highlights and challenges of their work, and their lives post- service. The work will also study the public representation of the women during the Second World War and their ongoing legacy within Australian historical study and culture.


Columns in The Ballarat Independent

Short stories

'Tashkent's Koran' in Ex-parenthesis, 2012

'St Petersburg' in Eclectica, 2012


'We buy him on our hands and knees' in Eclectica, 2012

'Eucyliptus Pyriformus' in Artists inspire Artistry – Capturing Flora published by Ballarat Art Gallery reprinted by Art Monthly, 2012

'The Whispers of God' in Traditions Found, New Writing, published by Ballarat Art Gallery.

'Hide and Seek, The Sensory Garden' in Poetry Pathways, 2015 published by Ballarat Writers Incorporated.

Public speaking

2011 – In conversation with Maureen McCarthy, keynote session, Ballarat Writers Festival.

2013 – Invited speaker on the M.A.D.E. by Writers panel, discussing how life as a writer interacts with the ideas of freedom, power and democracy. Melbourne Writers Festival.

2013In Conversation with M.J. Hyland, keynote session, Melbourne Writers' Festival.

2011-2014 – Monthly guest on Voice FM discussing writing events, books and literature.

Upcoming Twilight talk at the Art Gallery of Ballarat: June 17 5.30pm. Topic- Female cartographers of WWII.