Australian Women's Register

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Cannard, Mary Ann (1883 - 1962)

18 January 1883
Allendale, Victoria, Australia
12 November 1962
Drouin, Victoria, Australia
Farmer, Nurse and Staff nurse
Alternative Names
  • Mallalieu, Mary Ann (married name)
  • Staff Nurse Cannard


Mary Ann Cannard was one of very few returned WW1 nurses granted a block of land to farm under the Soldier Settlement Scheme.


Mary Ann Cannard was born on 18 January 1883 to William Cannard and Theresa (nee McCausland) in Allendale, 27km north of Ballarat, Victoria. Mary moved to Western Australia in 1912 and began three years of training to become a nurse at Fremantle Public Hospital in May 1914. On completion of her nursing training Mary enlisted with the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) in 1917.

Staff Nurse Cannard served with the AANS in India from 1917 to 1919 and was posted to hospitals in Bombay, including the Victoria War Hospital and Gerard Freeman Thomas Hospital. During her service Staff Nurse Cannard was hospitalised twice, suffering from influenza and malaria. Staff Nurse Cannard embarked at Bombay on 13 April 1919 and was discharged from service on return to Australia.

Following her First World War service, Mary returned to nursing at Nurse Gidding's private hospital in Mildura.

In August 1921 Mary was granted a Soldier Settlement block near Donald, Victoria. The small farming block was adjacent to one held by her brother Herbert Cannard, who had served with the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, AIF. Mary continued nursing and together with her brother managed the property.

In 1922 the Settlement Board investigated Mary on suspicion of "dummying". Dummying was the term given to cases where applicants for Soldier Settlement blocks mislead the Settlement Board. It was believed that Mary had applied for a Soldier Settlement block only so that her brother could farm it. This was found not to be the case and Mary was praised for "working at her profession…to earn nearly enough to pay a [labourer] to work the block instead of coming to the [Settlement] Board for help". Mary surrendered her Soldier Settlement block in February 1927 on account of ill health.

Mary married Herber Mallalieu on 8 June 1922 at the Howard Street Methodist Church, North Melbourne. Herber was the eldest son of the Reverend Paul Mallalieu and served with the 23rd Battalion, AIF. Mary and Herber had a daughter, Joy, in 1925.

From the 1930s Mary, Herber and Joy lived in Essendon. Herber struggled to secure ongoing employment for many years and all three suffered from bad health. Neither Herber nor Mary's health problems were recognised as being directly linked to their war service, which prevented them from being granted war pensions. Between 1934 and 1957 Mary made numerous applications to the Edith Cavell Trust Fund to help pay their numerous bills.

The Edith Cavell Trust Fund was established in 1915 by the Lady Mayoress, wife of Melbourne's Lord Mayor Hennessy, to provide monetary assistance to sick and incapacitated returned military nurses. It was named in honour of British nurse, Edith Cavell who was killed by a German firing squad after helping Allied troops escape German-occupied Belgium.

Herber died 19 March 1961. Mary Ann Mallalieu (nee Cannard) died 12 November 1962 in Drouin, Victoria, aged 79.

Related entries

Archival resources

National Archives of Australia, Canberra Office

National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office

  • Folders of applications for grants, alphabetical series, 01 January 1917 - 31 December 1974, Series M290; Edith Cavell Trust Fund, Trustees; National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office. Details

Public Record Office Victoria

  • 892/12 John Gustave Wilkinson Mary Ann Mallalien Mary A Cannard John Kennedy Watchem Witchipool 14 6 781--1-2, 1926 - 1955, VPRS 5714/P0, Unit 1655, file 892/12; Land Selection Files, Section 12 Closer Settlement Act 1938 [including obsolete and top numbered Closer Settlement and WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement files]; Public Record Office Victoria. Details

James Smeaton

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