• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: IMP0019

Chisholm, Alice Isabel

(1856 – 1954)
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 3 July, 1856, Goulburn New South Wales Australia
  • Died 31 May, 1954
  • Occupation Charity worker, Superintendent


Alice Chisholm, who was born in country New South Wales, was known for the provision of canteen services for soldiers in the middle east during World War I. On travelling to Egypt to be near her son who was wounded at Gallipoli, she was concerned at the inadequate amenities for soldiers in Cairo and subsequently, using mainly her own resources, established canteens in Heliopolis, an outer suburb of Cairo, and at Kantara, on the west bank of the Suez Canal. Ably assisted by Verania McPhillamy and Miss Rout, they developed Kantara into a soldiers’ club. Known as ‘Mother Chisholm’s’, it provided hot showers and competent, caring service to the thousands of soldiers who spent their leave there. At the end of the war the women insisted that the profits from the canteens be used to provide canteen facilities on the troop ships which were carrying the men home. In recognition of her work in Egypt, Alice Chisholm was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1918 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 3 March 1920 for organisation of canteens for the troops. Her later work included the presidency of the Cumberland branch of the Country Women’s Association from 1923-1927, and a commitment to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Published resources

Archival resources

  • Australian War Memorial, Research Centre
    • A general view of Mrs Chisholm's canteen
    • Mrs Alice Chisholm and her daughter, standing in front of the canteen that they established
    • Portrait of Mrs Chisholm sitting near a building with a cat.
    • Informal portrait of Mrs Chisholm sitting at a table in her room at the canteen which she organised and supervised.
  • National Library of Australia
    • [Biographical cuttings on Dame Alice Chisholm, known as the Canteen Lady of World War I, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
  • National Archives of Australia, Various Locations
    • Women's Session - Dame Alice Chisholm interviewed by Ida Elizabeth Jenkins

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Country Women's Association of New South Wales (1922 - )