World War I

Within three months of the declaration of the First World War in 1914, 20,000 Australian troops including 186 nurses, left Albany for Egypt. The nurses were immediately involved in caring for the casualties of fighting in the Middle East. The carnage and slaughter that soon followed at Gallipoli brought 8,000 dead and 20,000 wounded. Australian nurses were in hospital ships taking casualties from beaches to nearby islands. Many of the soldiers were patched up only to be sent back to face certain death on the battlefield.

One of the permanent exhibitions at our museum is dedicated to nursing during wartime. It includes a collection of objects and images relating to the work and personal lives of Australian nurses during the Boer War and both world wars. Shown below are a selection of our highly significant objects from the First World War. In order shown, they are a bandage roller, field dressing, souvenir cutlery made from .303 cartridges, a list of what was found in a regimental pannier and the corresponding pannier (basket).