Museum exhibition pays tribute to selfless Australian nurses at war

Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
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Museum of the Great Southern’s Catherine Salmaggi.
Camera IconMuseum of the Great Southern’s Catherine Salmaggi. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Australian nurses who have come face-to-face with the horrors of war are the focus of an exhibition at the Museum of the Great Southern.

Australian Nurses at War, which opened at the museum last week, pays tributes to nurses who served in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War.

The involvement of Australian women as nurses in war started in 1899 with the formation of the NSW Army Nursing Service Reserve.

Nurses exhibition at Museum of the Great Southern.
Camera IconNurses exhibition at Museum of the Great Southern. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Since the Boer War, Australian nurses have cared for the sick and wounded in every conflict to which Australia has sent troops.

Museum regional manager Catherine Salmaggi said many had served close to the battlefield, dealing with mud, dust, bad food and a lack of standard amenities in makeshift field hospital.

“Australian nurses have been going to war for well over 100 years, but their important contribution to Australia’s overseas military operations often goes unreported,” she said.

“I am sure visitors will be moved by the selfless dedication of these women who served their country in times of conflict.”

Enid Home in her younger years as a nurse.
Camera IconEnid Home in her younger years as a nurse. Credit: West Regional

The exhibition was developed through the passion of late WWII nurse Enid Home.

Ms Home, a former Freeman of the City of Albany, was married to Major Arthur Home of the 13th Australian General Hospital.

Many of the nurses under his command were aboard the ship Vyner Brooke when it was sunk by Japanese aircraft as it was leaving Singapore.

Only 24 of those 65 nurses survived the war, with some killed in the bombing and others massacred by Japanese troops after reaching land.

The free exhibition is on display until January 30.

Nurses exhibition at Museum of the Great Southern.
Camera IconNurses exhibition at Museum of the Great Southern. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

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