Ada Alice Morehead

Ada Morehead 1


  • Date/Place of Birth: 9 June 1887, Luddenham, NSW                                                   
  • Date/Place of Death/Place of Burial: 7th July 1951, Colombo Hospital Ceylon, Rookwood Cemetery 
  • Australian Army Nursing Service
    Enlisted: 31 July 1915
    Discharged: 26 September 1919 
  • Memorial Details Honour Roll, Methodist Church, Luddenham,  St Mary Magdalene Anglican Church, St Marys, St Thomas’ Anglican Church, Penrith 

Biographical Details 

Ada Alice Morehead was born on 9 June 1887, the daughter of John and Annie Morehead of ‘Ferndale’ Luddenham. Ada is believed to have completed her nursing training at the Nepean Cottage Hospital and later the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital. Before her enlistment, Morehead was on the staff of the District Nursing Association of Sydney. 

Military Service with AANS 

Morehead applied for enlistment with the AANS on 24 July 1915 and was approved on 31 July, the day she left Australia on board the RMS Orontes, along with Penrith nurse, Constance Neale. On 28 October 1915, Staff Nurse Morehead commenced duty at the 2000 bed Norfolk War Hospital, Norwich England. This facility, requisitioned by the military, was the former Norfolk Lunatic Asylum at Thorpe, near Norwich. On 1 December 1915, Morehead was detailed for duty at the 4th London General Hospital, Denmark Hill London which catered for military and civilian patients. On 2 November 1916, Morehead was transferred to No 3 Australian General Hospital at Brighton, England before being detached from duty with No 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital in March 1917. In company with Sister McAnene (from Camden), she visited Penrith in Cumberland, England. She mentioned in the Nepean Times on 25 August 1917, ‘The town, however, is in very marked contrast to “our” Penrith, and possibly the only features common to both being that they are situated on rivers and are both in counties of Cumberland. Probably the last mentioned fact was responsible for the name being chosen for “our” town’.   

In January 1918, Staff Nurse Morehead was posted for duty with the 5th Stationary Hospital in France. In April 1918, Morehead was posted for duty to No 1 Australian General Hospital and promoted to Sister in December of that year. On 28 December 1918, Morehead disembarked at Southampton bound for Sutton Veny. Between March and July 1919, Morehead was granted leave for non-military employment in England. This leave was cancelled on 23 May 1919. A medical board convened on 31 May 1919 found that Sister Morehead was debilitated and had suffered influenza and coughing for three months. On 4 June 1919 Sister Morehead embarked as a member of the nursing staff along with her sister Claraaboard the Bremen bound for Australia. She arrived in Australia on 28 July 1919. . On 29 August, along with soldiers Freeburn, Ahearn and the Fuller brothers, they were given a public welcome home and presentation in the Luddenham Temperance Hall. 

After WW1, Sister Morehead applied for the 1914-1915 Star but was ruled ineligible for this medal as she had not served within a war zone during this period. After the war, Morehead worked as Matron of Duntroon Hospital and at the Harefield Private Hospital in Annandale. 

In 1931 Ada Alice Morehead married James Moys McKay at Burwood and in 1931 Ada was resident at 22 Hunter Rd Mosman. In 1936 they were living at 26 Hopetown Ave, Mosman. James died in 1947. Ada died on Colombo hospital, Ceylon on 7th July 1951. She is buried with her husband at Rookwood Cemetery.