• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0420

Davidson, Ethel Sarah

(1872 – 1939)
  • Born 19 June, 1872, Adelaide South Australia Australia
  • Died 21 April, 1939, Semaphore South Australia Australia
  • Occupation Nurse, Servicewoman


Orphaned at the age of five, Ethel Davidson grew up with her half-brothers and sisters – children from her father’s first marriage. After completing her nursing training at Adelaide Hospital, she worked in district and private nursing.

In 1904 Davidson became a reserve member of the Australian Army Nursing Service, enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force in 1914. During World War I she was stationed at Mena, Cairo, where she was mentioned in despatches. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal, 2nd class, for her nursing service in England and France. On 3 June 1919 Davidson was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (Military) for services to army nursing.

After leaving the army, Davidson became matron of the military hospital at Keswick (SA), a post she held until her retirement in 1933. From 1922 to 1926 she was president of the Returned Army Nurses’ Association of South Australia. In 1924 the Association became a sub-branch of the Returned Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Imperial League.

Ethel Davidson never married and died on 21 April 1939. She is buried in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) cemetery, West Terrace, Adelaide.

Published resources

Archival resources

  • National Archives of Australia, National Office, Canberra
    • Davidson Ethel Sarah : SERN Matron : POB Payneham SA : POE N/A : NOK B Davidson Thomas

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) (1902 - 1948)