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Squarepic2014's Centenary commemorates the start of the ‘war to end all wars’; the Great War of 1914-18. In a new series, Lorna introduces us to the brave nurses of WWI.

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Sue McLean
My grandmother, worked for the AANS in London. Any chance there is a record of this?
Finding your nursing ancestor
Hi Sue,
Yes, it is possible to track your grandmother down, though many records have been destroyed over the years. I recommend you join the FB Group WWI Australian and New Zealand nurses, their is a wealth of information in their files about this very topic https://www.facebook.com/groups/231152183701926/


World War One nurses
You can ask questions about WW1 nurses on Facebook at

read articles on how to research your nurse at

or email Dr Kirsty Harris at kjharris@unimel b.edu.au


Jenny Milligan
Looking at info for a new peruod
head coverings
I really enjoyed reading your article.

I am curious as to the history of head-coverings by nurses in Australia. In the USA, most nurses wore a cap (usually white) in the particular design coinciding with her nursing school or university of graduation up until the early to mid 1970s. Students in nursing would have "capping" ceremonies that were a big deal attended by family and well wishers. It represented a certain measure of accomplishment in the road to becoming a "real nurse." After that time, caps or head coverings of any kind for nurses (except in the operating room itself, where it was necessary to have an all encompassing head covering for maintaining sterility) fell out of favor. It was thought to represent a relationship akin to that of a "maid" or "servant"; "handmaid to the physician" instead of encouraging nursing to be recognized as a profession in its own right. Was there a similar movement in the history of Australian nursing?

Capping ceremonies
Heh Sara,
Caps were worn in Australian hospitals, I don't know of 'capping ceremonies' but I am not a nurse.

The AANS and VADS WWI uniform and other Commonwealth nurses at this time all wore veils on the ward. Modern nurses tell me that it goes back to religious orders, hence the term 'Sister', etc. Even ANNS in WWII, where a more modern grey and scarlett uniform was worn, veils were still the head covering on the ward. Modern AANS wear the same sort of kit as soldiers.

Hope that helps a bit :)

I greatly enjoyed your article and look forward to learning how to make the uniforms in your next article.


Thank you!
Thanks so much for your feedback, I am so engrossed in my research that its often hard to see where to stop, LOL!

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