THE stories of nurses who volunteered to help wounded soldiers during World War One has been recognised for the first time on the Bathurst War Memorial Carillon.
As thousands of men were volunteering to serve to defend King and country, so too did women from the Bathurst district.
They may not have officially been recognised as part of the Defence Force, but these civilian nurses still volunteered to go to the battle zones to assist soldiers left injured and sick.
On Friday, the names of 24 nurses who volunteered to serve during the Great War were unveiled on a plaque on the city’s carillon.
Bathurst Historical Society military curator Andrew Fletcher was among those behind the initiative and he welcome more than 150 community members who came for the service.
“It was also the first time that Australian nurses worked with the Australian Army at war,” Mr Fletcher said.
Short histories of many of the 24 nurses who served, and also returned home, were read out during the service.
“In 1914, our first nurse volunteers Maud Kellett, Flora Robertson, Muriel Wakeford and Lilian Suttor left Australia to support our troops overseas,” Mr Fletcher.
It was also the first time that Australian nurses worked with Australian Army at war.Military curator Andrew Fletcher
“Over the next four years a further 20 of our local nurses joined them.”
Lieutenant Jenna Brown who grew up in the region and was representing the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps at the service spoke of how these nurses “forged a standing for the rest of us to aspire”.
She spoke of how these women, who were then not allowed to be part of the Imperial Forces, should be thanked for leading the way to “firmly cementing the role of nursing within the fabric of the Australian Army”.
“The fortitude, determination, humility and professionalism offered by the Bathurst district nurses left behind a lasting legacy and forged a standing for the rest of us to aspire,” she said.
“We owe them thanks for the lives that they saved, the men they returned home and the lineages that they allowed to continue.”
Meanwhile, the war medals of Kelso nurse Irene Stoddart who served during WWI were unveiled as part of a permanent display at the Bathurst Historical Society Museum. The medals were donated by her great grand nephew Peter Savage.