Anzac centenary (30.10.13)

Written on the 30 October 2013

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- As the Anzac centenary commemoration nears, many Victorians have discovered the enormous commitment to World War I made by their ancestors. The commemoration has enabled Victorians to share their ancestors' stories and experiences on the official website, Anzac Centenary 2014-18 -- Sharing Victoria's Stories.

At Princes Pier last week I joined with the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Honourable Hugh Delahunty, the former Premier and member for Hawthorn in the Assembly, Ted Baillieu, and my colleague Mrs Coote, a member for Southern Metropolitan Region, to mark the countdown towards the Anzac centenary. We were there with some of the descendants of the many servicemen and women who left Port Melbourne bound for Gallipoli on HMAT Orvieto.

In fact there were 1457 servicemen and women who formed one of the largest troopship contingents to leave Victoria for overseas service. Amongst them were five nurses. At the commemorative event a photo of the five women was displayed. In attendance representing the RSL nurses was Colonel Jan McCarthy, herself a returned nurse who served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. We spoke of her experience and the experiences of the many nurses who served alongside the thousands of Australian troops in World War 1.

The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History states that:

In the First World War, nurses were recruited from both the nursing service and the civilian profession and served as an integral part of the AIF. They served in Egypt and Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign, in England, France and Belgium in support of the fighting on the Western front, and in Greece Salonika, Palestine, Mesopotamia and India.

At least 2139 nurses served abroad between 1914 and 1919, and a further 423 worked in military hospitals in Australia, while 29 died on active service.
I am sure that over the next year much will be said about the extraordinary dedication and service by many during World War I. I am very pleased that our Australian nurses will be amongst those recognised for their service.

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