The women who camped on Stockton beach to protect the harbour from the bombs of WWII

Simon McCarthy
Updated May 7 2024 - 11:51am, first published April 24 2024 - 7:00pm
Valerie Blackett had perhaps the most important wartime job in Australia.
Valerie Blackett had perhaps the most important wartime job in Australia.

A few days after her 18th birthday, Valerie Jean Blackett walked from Victoria Barracks to Central Station as an enlisted woman, bound for service as a gunner protecting the Newcastle Harbour from encroaching Japanese submarines and aircraft.

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Simon McCarthy

Simon McCarthy

Journalist, Newcastle Herald

Simon McCarthy is a journalist working at the Newcastle Herald in NSW. He writes news and features, and produces video and multimedia, for the Herald and Herald Weekender magazine. He contributes regularly to the Newcastle Herald’s daily Topics column, and is the co-creator and producer of the Toohey’s News podcast. McCarthy has worked as a journalist in regional NSW since 2013. He joined the newsroom of the Newcastle Herald in 2017 from the Northern Daily Leader in Tamworth where he worked from 2015 to 2016.

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