Topic: BW - SA - AAMC
South Australian Army Medical Corps
Departure of the Nurses
Miss MS Bidmead
Miss AG Cock
Miss AM Glenie
Miss AB Stephenson
Miss E Watts
Departure of the Nurses
The noble little band of nurses for the Transvaal took their departure from Adelaide by the Melbourne express on Monday afternoon. The send off they received was touching. It differed greatly from that tendered to the contingents on their departure, but its sincerity was shown by the large crowd which choked the railway station and the street in its vicinity. At about a quarter to 4 o'clock the dense throng in front of Parliament House parted to allow of the passage several nurses, whose red lined cloaks at once proclaimed their office. The ascended the steps of the building, and were met by the officers of the ladies' committee and the Chief Secretary, and escorted to a table, where they signed the agreement of service. At the conclusion of this formality lady Brown who has been a most enthusiastic worker right through, pinned in the dress of each of the ladies a buttonhole composed of "roses of England and violets of womanly modesty" - a happy combination. The six nurses chosen are Miss MS Bidmead, Miss AB Stephenson, Miss AM Glenie, Miss O'Shanahan, Miss AG Cock, and Miss E Watts.
They could not but be affected by the spontaneity of their farewell, or by the fervent "God bless you," which was showered on them from all directions. Every available nurse from the city and suburbs was present at Parliament House to from a guard of honour, and event these were marshalled by Colonel Madley, and arranged on one of the flights of stairs at the station, reserved for their use by the courtesy of the Chief Secretary. Shortly after 4 o'clock the nurses, preceded by the Mayoress (Mrs Ware, the president of the nurses' committee), and followed by Miss Ester Boas (secretary), Lady Brown (treasurer), and members of the committee, the Chief Secretary (Hon JG Jenkins), and a large number of legislators, moved off to the railway station amidst ringing cheers. The crowd in the station itself was immense, and when the nurses were escorted in their car the train was simply rushed. People in their excitement climbed through windows with bunches of flowers, boarded the train at the ends of the carriages with letters and parcels, and shouted "good-byes" over the heads of the intervening crowds. Numerous were the presents thrust through windows at the last moment, and amongst the gifts received by each of the nurses was a purse presented by the Mayoress. As the train moved slowly away from the platform cheer after cheer rang out, while sticks and handkerchiefs were whiled aloft. A number of nurses and ladies of the committee, determined to be the last to say farewell, went along the line and mounted some trucks a little distance down the station yard. As the train passed them these ladies, waving flags, sang "God save the Queen." Just before the train moved away Nurse Bidmead desired a representative of the "Advertiser" to thank the people of South Australia for the great kindness which had been shown to her and her companions. "This is only play, but I trust we shall be of service." That they will be, and that they will all return safe, was the single thought of the densely packed thousands who wished them farewell. At Aldgate Mesdames Corpe and Walder Duncan provided afternoon tea - a graceful act, much appreciated by the nurses.
Acknowledgement: The text and pictures for this item were extracted from the Adelaide Chronicle, 24 February 1900, p. 19.
Citation: South Australian Army Medical Corps, Departure of the Nurses