During World War 1, 16 nurses from the Penrith District served overseas with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in Rabaul, on hospital ships and with the Australian Imperial Force in Egypt, England, the Western Front and Salonika (Greece). The nurses enlisted under terms which offered free return passage by 2nd class steamer or military transport, free uniform and allowance for upkeep, pay rates of £100 per year for Matron while a staff nurse received £40 per year (the same rate as a private soldier). It was not until late 1916 that nurses received officer status. Working conditions were less than ideal. Many Australian nurses served in British hospitals under British staff and felt aggrieved as they had enlisted to nurse Australian soldiers.
Overall, 2139 Australian nurses served overseas while 423 remained on home service. 21 Australian nurses died on overseas service and 235 were decorated.
This page commemorates the work undertaken by the 16 Penrith district nurses, including their service on the hospital ship Grantala. If you would like to submit additional details for any of these nurses, please email: Lorraine Stacker