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Book to honour memory of nurses who served

By Katie Weiss

CDU Nursing Museum curator Janie Mason is writing a comprehensive history of NT nurses who served in wars CDU Nursing Museum curator Janie Mason is writing a comprehensive history of NT nurses who served in wars

A Darwin-based nurse will use a federal grant aimed at honouring servicemen and women to write a book about the history of nurses serving in the Northern Territory.

Charles Darwin University Nursing Museum curator Janie Mason said the book would be the first to document a comprehensive history based on firsthand accounts and photographs.

The book, “Nurses who serve – Northern Territory stories”, will follow the history of NT nurses in the Boer War and World War I and II, using resources including those at the NT Archives Service.

“Nurses had to be very versatile in their skills because they had to work on their own a lot of the time with few resources,” Ms Mason said.

“NT nurses are unique, as even today they must learn new skills, interact with a diverse range of clientele and encounter new diseases.”

Ms Mason said she had found stories about nurses’ service during the Boer War and WW I from local newspapers of the time, but it was unknown if any NT nurses served in those times. 

“There were few nurses in the NT and if any from the NT did serve, they would have enlisted in the southern states,” she said.

“Local papers only reported men going south to enlist.”

Ms Mason said enlistment was also in the south during WW II, but many nurses were based in the NT when the Top End became Australia’s frontline during the war.

“Stories of the Hospital Train out of Adelaide River and the Adelaide River Camp are well documented,” she said. 

Ms Mason received a Saluting Their Service commemorations grant from the Australian Government to assist in the publication of her book in 2016.