Nurses: from Zululand to Afghanistan

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Sister Fletcher is pleased to see land at last. Photographed by Damien Parer on 13 February 1940. Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. image id 000924.

Sister Fletcher is pleased to see land at last.
Photographed by Damien Parer on 13 February 1940.
Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. image id 000924.

Nurses: from Zululand to Afghanistan, a new exhibition at the Australian War Memorial, explores the personal stories of Australian military nurses, from the first known Australian nurse in the Zulu War of 1879 right up to the experiences of nurses serving in recent conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

North Queensland, c.1944. While on duty, a sister with the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) uses a thermometer to check the temperature of a patient. Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. image id p00784.008.

North Queensland, c.1944.
While on duty, a sister with the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) uses a thermometer to check the temperature of a patient.
Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. image id p00784.008.

The exhibition draws on the Memorial’s rich collection to tell the story of Australian military nursing. The iconic veil and cape worn by early nurses together with the technologically advanced equipment used today, speak of the changing role and place of nurses in Australian military operations. Photographs, diaries and personal objects, such as a hand-stitched doll, reveal a much more personal story.

Nurses: from Zululand to Afghanistan is on display at the Australian War Memorial until 17 October 2012. Entry is free. For more information visit: www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/nurses/

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Madang, New Guinea, c.1945.

Group portrait of Nurses, left to right: Sisters Witcombe, McNamara, Furey, Senior Sister Doherty, Sisters Scholes, Rodda, Fewkes, in their tropical uniforms at no. 1 Medical Receiving Station RAAF.

Photographed by John Thomas Harrison. Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. image id og3354.