Built in 1879 to host Victoria's first international exhibition, the Royal Exhibition Building (REB) has played a significant role in the political, cultural, economic and social history of Australia. The collection illustrates significant periods and uses of the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. The best represented events are: 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition (MIE), the 1888 Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition (MCIE), and the opening of the first federal parliament of Australia in 1901. As well as objects exhibited at the two international exhibitions, the material relating to these events includes official and souvenir guidebooks, plans, photographs, invitations, tickets and souvenirs. The Museum also maintains a REB research archive of over 6000 folders containing copies of documents, newspaper articles, photographs, fliers, and so on.

Dorothy Lilian Quinn was born on 27 May 1923 in Wagin, WA, and was a shop assistant in a cake department when she enrolled to serve in the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) in Perth on 31 October 1942, service no. 103502. The WAAAF was the largest of the World War II women's services, and had been formed in March 1941 after lobbying by women who hoped to serve. The Chief of the Air Staff was also keen to release servicemen in Australia for service overseas.

Dorothy became an Aircraftwoman and served as a Sick Quarter Attendant (SQA) due to her qualification in St John's First Aid and Home Nursing. She was located at the 1 School of Technical Training Exhibition when she was discharged on 14 November 1944, four months after she married and likely because she was pregnant. (She confirms she was based at the Exhibition Building in correspondence on page 11 of her service record.) She married Reginald Benjamin Hubbard, an officer in the RAAF (service #409706) on 3 June 1944 after a short engagement. (Her service number is associated with her married name Dorothy Lilian Hubbard, although her identity tags still have the name Quinn.) Reg, born in Melbourne, had been on overseas service in New Guinea, and returned to Australia in March 1944. Dorothy seems to have returned home to live with her parents at 45 Railway Road, Subiaco, WA while Reg continued to serve in the RAAF, based variously at Melbourne and Port Pirie.

On 2 May 1945 the West Australian newspaper announced the birth of Dorothy and Reg's son Kenneth at Kensington Nursing Home, Subiaco, Perth. They had another son in 1948, and by then were known as Dot and Reg.

Dorothy's photograph is preserved on page 12 of her service record, held at the National Archives of Australia.


During World War II, the Royal Exhibition Building (REB, then called simply the Exhibition Building) was occupied by the RAAF and the WAAAF non-crew aircraftmen and aircraftwomen, trainers and administrators. Decades later, in 1989, works to replace floorboards in the REB uncovered over 270 personal items that had been pushed into holes in the floor during World War II by personnel stationed there, including intimate letters, food and personal effects. These items were never expected or intended to survive, and offer a rare unfiltered record of a time lost to public memory. Some of the items include personal names - of servicemen, families and girlfriends. Two of those items relate to one person: D. L. Quinn, whose two identity tags were found.


Family Notices. (1945, May 2). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved April 29, 2015, from
1944 'Family Notices', The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), 10 June, p. 1. , viewed 29 May 2020,
Family Notices. (1944, June 10). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved April 29, 2015, from
ENGAGEMENTS. (1944, May 16). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved April 29, 2015, from
1948 'Family Notices', The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), 29 July, p. 1. , viewed 29 May 2020,
'Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) and Women's Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF)', Australian War Memorial, accessed 29/5/2020.
Hubbard, Dorothy Lilian. National Archives of Australia, A9301, 103502, barcode 4967877 (digitized).

Hubbard, Reginald Benjamin. National Archives of Australia, A9300, 1010873, barcode 5240272 (digitized).

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