During the school holidays, over 60 St Patrick’s College students ranging from Years 7-12 represented the school in the Campbelltown Anzac Day march. School Captain, Stephanie E and Emily W accompanied by Year 7 students Bronwyn Z and Laura Z (who were wearing World War I nursing costumes) presented the wreath on behalf of the students and staff of the College. Aimee C was also given the honour of presenting a wreath with her uncle on behalf of the NSW Police. Mackenzie M and Christabelle A marched with the Air Cadets and Dominique T represented the Army Cadets at the Camden Dawn Service.
Nurses with Elwyn Spencer of the RSL (courtesy Jeff McGill)
St Patrick's History Club’s Anzac theme this year has been to commemorate the role of Australian war nurses. The Club put together a presentation recently at a school assembly about the history of Australian nurses from the Boer War until recent times. The presenters demonstrated the great changes from WWI nurses (who were not allowed to marry and earned less than half of males of equivalent rank) to the present day where males are also nurses (and women get equal pay and can marry and have a family in the ADF).
Bringing this theme to the Campbelltown Anzac Day march, 10 members of the History Club dressed in war nurse outfits and led the march. We have been working closely with Mr Elwyn Spencer from the Campbelltown RSL sub-branch over the past month who have been very supportive to commemorate the World War I nurses connected with Campbelltown. The RSL kindly lent us an authentic World War II uniform (worn by Emeline L) and a 1970s formal nursing outfit (worn by Chantelle G) during the march. Eight other students Bronwyn Z, Laura Z, Molly Q, Olivia H, Olivia M, Eve M, Tess M and Abbey C all wore Australian World War I nursing outfits kindly made by Mrs Lucette Zapirain. A little helper, 8 year old Alessandra from St Peter’s Primary School, came as a ‘junior nurse’.
Each nurse carried a sign with the name and photo of the nurses from Campbelltown- Eleanor Dagma Gjedsted, Ida Mary Graham, Clarice Elizabeth Green, Sister Elizabeth McRae, Elizabeth Chisholm Thomson and Ruth Allardyce Steel. They also honoured Nurse Haultain from Ingleburn who was killed aboard the Centaur in WW2. These students stood for the whole service behind the flag bearers during the ceremony.
After the service the girls received many lovely comments from the community thanking the girls for honouring our nurses who have not received the recognition they deserve, for example, nurses were omitted from honour rolls. Our local political representatives were particularly impressed and we received a lovely letter acknowledging our College’s efforts from Dr Freelander. Our nurses also featured heavily in the local newspapers.
I wish to thank Mr Bettiol, Mr Nash (especially for photography), Mrs Nash, Ms Iler, Ms Bella, Mrs Samyia, Mrs Roa and Ms Pulham for helping supervise the students at the march. A massive thank you to Mrs Zapirain, for her tireless work and attention to detail on the costumes.
The History Club are putting together a display at the College on Campbelltown's World War I nurses. More information to follow.
Fran Musico Rullo - HSIE Teacher