Yellow Heart Gallery

Devoted to Care: Our Nurses in World War One

Curator name(s):  Emma Taylor

Gallery Location: Level 1, Zone F — just passed the Queen Victoria Lecture Theatre

Exhibition dates: 5 October – 30 November 2018

Image credit: The No. 3 Australian General Hospital overlooking Mudros harbour on the Greek island of Lemnos, c1915 (image courtesy of the curator’s family collection).

To mark the 100th anniversary of the final year of World War One (1914–1918), the WCHN History and Heritage Group recently installed a new exhibition in the Yellow Heart Gallery called Devoted to Care: Our Nurses in World War One.

This exhibition commemorates the contributions of nurses who trained and worked at the former Adelaide Children’s Hospital and Queen’s Home and went on to provide important medical assistance in the military hospitals abroad.  It highlights how the prior training these nurses undertook at our hospitals set them up to make outstanding contributions in key locations of this war, such as the Australian General Hospitals of Greece, Egypt and France.

Their dedication, in the context of incredibly difficult conditions, saved the lives of countless Australian wounded. The exhibition focuses on some nurses about whom we know a little more of their stories, or who made significant advancements in the treatment of infectious diseases. One example is nurse Fannie Williams, a trainee nurse at the Children’s Hospital from 1904 to 1907. The only woman sent to work as a bacteriologist in World War One, Williams went on to publish a substantial body of research related to her work in the field and receive an MBE.

Devoted to Care acknowledges the sacrifices of not only those who left on ships to actively serve in the Great War, but the nurses who stayed behind to keep the Adelaide Children’s Hospital ‘ship’ afloat in the face of a scarcity of supplies and trained staff.

The exhibition was curated by Emma Taylor, a volunteer with the WCHN History and Heritage Group. It is available for viewing in the Yellow Heart Gallery (Level 1, Zone F) until the end of November.

For more information about the exhibition, download the exhibition brochure.

Read more information about the History and Heritage Collection.

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