Orders to raise the Volunteer Air Observers Corps issued

22 Dec 1941

Orders for raising the Volunteer Air Observers Corps (VAOC) were given by the Air Board today, with formal War Cabinet approval following nine days later. Regulations approved by the Minister for Air, Arthur Drakeford, on 22 January 1942 provided that the Corps was to comprise principally civilians who gave their time in a voluntary and honorary capacity to report sightings of enemy aircraft over Australian territory. Accordingly, it was decided the VAOC would not be part of the RAAF, even though controlled by the Air Board. By the end of March, a network of 500 observation and control posts linked to RAAF Fighter Sector Headquarters was in operation, covering 240 kilometres inland from the coast from Cairns, Queensland, to Port Lincoln, South Australia, and from Albany to Geraldton in Western Australia. By July 1942, these posts were manned by approximately 26500 volunteers, both men and women.