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International Nurses Day

May 12 is observed as International Nurses Day to mark the contributions that nurses make to society. The date was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Florence Nightingale, considered the Founder of Modern Nursing, and also known as The Lady with the Lamp. During the Crimean War (1854-56) Florence would walk around the wards at night carrying a candle or lantern to check on the sick and injured soldiers.

Nurses are a valuable asset to communities everywhere, and never more so in years past when the nearest doctor was in Guildford, or later in Midland, with no swift transport available.

An early nurse recorded in our local history was Emily Clatworthy, wife of Joseph, who came to live in Smiths Mill (now Glen Forrest) in 1886. As well as raising 8 children of her own, Emily became a nurse and midwife for the surrounding district travelling many miles in her sulky, in all kinds of weather, to tend to the sick and deliver babies. Her family’s nickname for Emily was ‘The Rabbit Catcher’ alluding to the many babies she had delivered over some 28 years.

Emily Clatworthy

After WW2 nurses Norma, Ethel and Eileen Monger opened Faversham House, a convalescent home where people who had been in hospital or were ill could go until they had recovered enough to returnhome. This operated for 20 years, later to become an aged care home.

Norma Monger

In 1957 an Infant Health Clinic (now the Toy Library) opened in Mundaring giving the Nurse, Sister Adderley, a base to work from. The Infant Health Nurses also visited the surrounding towns each week, and to the homes of new mothers who did not have their own car.

Sister Victoria (Vicki) Norrish became the first Silver Chain Nurse in the district in the 1960s.  She drove to see her patients in her VW Beetle car.


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