Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    "Blue Horizon" company on stage, 1945, courtesy of Australian War Memorial.
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Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) (1902 - 1948)

From
1 July 1902
To
November 1948
Occupations
Armed services organisation

Summary

The Australian Army Nursing Service, which was actually a reserve, was established on 1 July 1902. The Service was staffed by volunteer civilian nurses who would be available for duty during times of national emergency. Members of the Service served in both the World Wars, staffing medical facilities in Australia and overseas. In 1949 the Service became part of the Australian Regular Army and is now known as the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC).

IMPORTANT - Additional information about how to search for your own relative's records can be found below. Click on details and scroll to the end.

Details

Prior to Australia's Federation in 1901, each colony controlled its own defence force, of which the nursing services formed a part. In July 1902 the nursing services of each colony joined together to form the Australian Army Nursing Service. The Service which was part of the Australian Army Medical Corps was made up of volunteer trained nurses who were willing to serve in times of a national emergency.

At the outbreak of World War I staff were recruited from both the nursing service and the civilian workforce. They served at field and base hospitals in Australia as well as in Egypt, England, France, Belgium, Greece, Salonika, Palestine, Mesopotamia and India. After the war the Australian Army Nursing Service returned to a reserve status.

The Australian Army Nursing Service was one of only two women's services (the other being Voluntary Aid Detachments) that were active at the outbreak of war in 1939. Initially the enlisted nurses were the only females to serve outside Australia. Members served in England, Egypt, Palestine, Libya, Greece, Syria, Ceylon, Malaya, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island as well as throughout Australia. They served on hospital ships, troop transports, base and camp hospitals and some spent time in Prisoner of War camps.

After the war members served as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan. In July 1947 members of the Australian Army Nursing Service were transferred to the Interim Army, and in November 1948 the Service was designated a 'Royal' one. In July 1949 the Royal Australian Army Nursing Service became part of the Australian Regular Army. In February 1951 the Service became a Corps and is known as the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC). The Pledge of Service was introduced during World War Two.

AANS Pledge of Service

I pledge myself loyally
to serve my King and Country
and to maintain the honour and efficiency
of the Australian Army Nursing Service.
I will do all in my power
to alleviate the suffering of
the sick and wounded, sparing no
effort to bring them comfort of body
and peace of mind.
I will work in unity and
comradeship with my fellow nurses.
I will be ready to give assistance
to those in need of my help,
and will abstain from any action
which may bring sorrow
and suffering to others.
At all times I will endeavour
to uphold the highest traditions of
Womanhood and of the Profession
of which I am Part.

HELPFUL INFORMATION TO ASSIST YOUR OWN SEARCHES

The following information will assist you to search for Australian women who served in WW1, not women from any other country, and not WW2 servicewomen. If you are looking for a nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service, go online to the National Archives and find the person's army file there. If you need help after doing this, then contact this page via the comments - but only after you have gone to the National Archives of Australia for advice. www.naa.gov.au

If looking for women who served in WW2, go here to find out if they did, in fact serve:

http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/

Then go to this site to find their personnel record


http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/defence/service-records/index.aspx

There is an article written by Dr Kirsty Harris published in Ancestor:The Journal of the Royal Geanealogical Society of Victoria this year that provides some search tips. 'Researching Australian World War 1 Nurses' can be found Vol 31, Issue 1 of the 2012 edition of the journal.

Sources used to compile this entry: Bassett, Jan, Guns and brooches : Australian Army Nursing from the Boer War to the Gulf War, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992, 261 pp; Burchill, Elizabeth, Australian nurses since Nightingale 1860-1990, Spectrum Publications Pty Ltd, Richmond (Vic.), 1992, 258 pp; Palazzo, Albert, The Australian Army: A History of its Organisation 1901-2001, Oxford University Press, 2001, 456 pp.

Related entries

Timeline

 1899 - 1903 New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve (NSWANSR)
       1902 - 1948 Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS)
             1948 - Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC)

Related Women

Archival resources

Australian War Memorial Research Centre

  • Archbishop Daniel Mannix, Catholic Chaplain General of the Australian Army, c. 1945, P03081.001; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Army Women's Services, 1939 - 1945, MSS0780; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Australian Army Nursing Service nurses at the 52nd British General Hospital at Kalamaria, c. 1918, H15761; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Balcony of troopers' ward, 14th Australian General Hospital, Abbassia, ART02815; Lambert, George; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Brief History of the Australian Army Nursing Service, 1939 - 1944, AWM54; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Colour patch : Australian Army Nursing Service, AIF, c. 1918, RELAWM13307.152; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Group portrait of Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) nurses, who were former prisoners of war (POWs), 18 October 1945, P01701.003; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Hospital tent of 3rd Australian General Hospital, 1915, J01386; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Operation clean up DPR/TV/566, February 1967, F03844; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • [Recommendation file for honours and awards, AIF, 1914-18 War], 1918, AWM28; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • [Recommendation file for honours and awards, AIF, 1914-18 War] Australian Army Nursing Service 11.9.1918 to 24.9.1918, 1918, AWM28; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • [Recruiting - Arrangements:] Australian Military Forces - Instructions for the Medical Examination of Recruits. A) For Mobilization B) AIF C) For Garrison Battalions D) AANS [Australian Army Nursing Service] 1940, 1940, AWM54; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Thesis "Between the lines: the letters and diaries of First World War Australian Nurses"., 1912 - 1984, MSS1025; Holmes , Katie Ms; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details

Digital resources

Title
Sister Ellen Savage
Type
Image
Date
May 1943
Control
044428
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Title
Choir in St George's Chapel Adelaide River, NT.
Type
Image
Date
October 1944
Control
P02698.002
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Title
"Blue Horizon" company on stage
Type
Image
Date
1945
Control
P02698.003
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0408b.htm

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