In 2014, the Rockhampton Country Hospital Museum in Central Queensland undertook research aimed to identify and honour the First World War contributions of local nurses who trained at local hospitals, had a Pre-war or Post-war link to the local area, and enlisted to serve their country. Limiting the geographical area to central Queensland allowed the research to focus on Rockhampton Hospital nurse training records, archived at the Rockhampton Country Hospital Museum, as well as stories written home and printed in local newspapers. An outcome of the research was a greater insight into the achievements of these dedicated nurses, and an increased awareness of their legacy of caring.
In the Central Queensland area 33 nurses enlisted and served in World War 1. 18 of the nurses researched trained at Rockhampton Hospital, 6 trained at Mount Morgan Hospital, 5 trained at Rockhampton Children’s Hospital, 2 trained at Rockhampton Women’s Hospital, and 2 trained at Gladstone Hospital. All survived their war service and so the Rockhampton district benefited not only with their return, but also 9 nurses who had trained elsewhere, served overseas and brought their skills and knowledge back into the district.
State Library recently commissioned a digital story – 30944 Central Queensland Nurses of the First World War digital story 2017 to examine the training, dedicated service and legacy of central Queensland nurses who enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service during the First World War, and to highlight the work of the Rockhampton Country Hospital Museum in uncovering their stories.
Robyn Hamilton – Coordinator, QANZAC Content, State Library of Queensland