• Evelyn Augusta Conyers

Army / Flying Corps
  • Australian Army Nursing Service
  • Sister
  • Matron in Chief

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
  • British War Medal
  • Royal Red Cross (1st Class) (RRC)
  • Victory Medal
  • Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
  • Birth

    Invercargill, New Zealand

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Stories and comments
    • CONYERS, Evelyn Augusta (CBE, RRC&Bar, MID) – Matron-in-chief, AANS
    • Posted by FrevFord, Tuesday, 31 May 2022

    Evelyn was born on the 1st of March 1870 at Invercargill, New Zealand, the daughter of William CONYERS and Fanny MAINPRIZE, who married in 1863 in Yorkshire, England. Following a brief illness, Fanny died on the 7/6/1889 at the family home at the Bluff, NZ. William, an Engineer, and late Commissioner of New Zealand Railways, left NZ with Evelyn and her sister Louisa on the Wairarapa 28/2/1890 for Australia. He remarried later that year in London on the 1/7/1890 to Annie Isabel MacALISTER (widow, nee Hatfield, d.1906 Vic), and he died on the 6/6/1915 at Evelyn’s Private Hospital, “Lancewood” in Kew, Vic, aged 78. Siblings (born NZ): Sidney Ward b.1865 – d.23/6/1942 NSW; Fanny Gertrude b.&d.1867 (9W); *Louisa Florence b.1868 (Nurse, UK 1911) – WW1: Staff Nurse, QAIMNSR (sailed from Tilbury to Malta on the Mongolia, served St Andrew’s Military Hospital, Malta 15/5/1915-15/5/1916) – d.11/4/1959 NSW; William Whincup b.&d.1872 (3M); Edgar Reginald b.1875 – d.15/7/1947 NSW Evelyn trained in Nursing at the Children’s Hospital for 2 years where she started as a probationer in 1892 (to 1894), and then at the Women’s Hospital, Melbourne for 3 years (1896) Matron in charge of Dr William Moore’s private hospital, Milton House, 25 Flinders Lane, Melbourne for 2 years (1902, 1903) 1902-3: Patent for “An improved supporting frame to be used with a slipper bed-pan” Member of the Australian Army Nursing Service Reserve (CMF) since 1903 In June 1904 she was appointed as Matron at a salary of £80, of the Queen’s Memorial Infectious Diseases Hospital in Fairfield, which officially opened on the 1/10/1904. A year later in June 1905 the hospital held examinations for a Special Certificate of Infectious Diseases Nursing, which Evelyn was qualified to receive She resigned from the Fever Hospital mid-1907 Presented with the gold badge of the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association, 1907 Together with Jessie MacBeth she opened “Lancewood” Private Hospital in Glenferrie Road, Kew (possibly 1907, not advertised until January 1909) Electoral Rolls: 1909, 1913 ERs: Glenferrie Rd, Kew (Nurse) 1914 ER: 26 Glenferrie Rd, Kew (Nurse) One of the first Directors of the newly registered Victorian Trained Nurses’ Club 1913 WW1 Service: Evelyn enlisted in the AANS, AIF, for overseas service as a Sister with the 1st Australian General Hospital. Selected as one of 25 Nurses to travel with the First Convoy, she embarked in Melbourne 20/10/1914 on the HMAT A9 Shropshire with Sisters E.S. Davidson and M.M. Finlay as well as Divisional Artillery HQ and the 2nd FAB. During the voyage Evelyn and her two colleagues were kept busy assisting the medical officers with vaccinations, and inoculating the troops against typhoid. Arrival in Egypt, in her own words: “Upon our dis-embarkation on the 3rd of December, we were notified by the dis-embarkation Officer that we were to proceed to Cairo by the 12 o’clock mid-day train that day, to go to the Egyptian Army Hospital which had been lent to the New Zealand forces. We also were loaned to nurse the New Zealand troops until their own nurses arrived, none having accompanied them on the journey.” [The ‘we’ only refers to Evelyn and Sisters Davidson and Finlay] “Upon our arrival in Cairo, we were met by an Officer of the Egyptian Army, and taken to a Hotel in Heliopolis, where arrangements had been made for billeting us. The following morning at 9 a.m., we reported to the O.C. of the Egyptian Army Hospital for duty. With the exception of the Matron, the Nursing staff then consisted of several French and Syrian ladies who had been trained in the French Red Cross in Paris, several of whom could not speak English. The Australians received a warm welcome. Three days later, four Queensland Military Nurses reported for duty with this Unit, and the work was much lighter after their arrival.” [The Qld Nurses were: Sisters E.M. Paten, J.M. Hart, C.M. Keys and B.M. Williams] “I was placed in charge of the Aseptic surgical ward, and subsequently was appointed theatre sister.” “I remained in this Hospital for a period of seven months, until the arrival of the members of the New Zealand Army Nursing Service, and I then reported to my own Unit, No. 1 A.G.H., which had been quartered in the Palace Hotel at Heliopolis.” “I held the position of sister at No. 1 A.G.H., for three and a half weeks, and then I was selected as acting matron of No. 1. A.A.H. [sic, No.3 AAH] Heliopolis. This Hospital consisted of 1,500 beds, and was erected on the Heliopolis sports ground.” In December 1915 following the creation of a new medical department within the Australian Administrative Headquarters, Evelyn was appointed to the new position of Matron-in-Chief, A.I.F. “with a small but sufficient staff charged with the onerous responsibility of administering, under the D.M.S. [Director of Medical Services] the A.I.F. nurses in almost every theatre of the British front.” [According to her service record her appointment took effect from the 12/1/1916] As Matron-in-Chief she had to “attend to the personal interests – posting, promotion, pay, discipline, leave, invaliding, reinforcement, and other concerns of this wide-spread body of Australian women.” The position demanded exceptional administrative ability and a thorough knowledge of nursing. In April 1916 the staff of the D.M.S. was transferred to England, and with them went Evelyn. She arrived in England on the 26/5/1916 to take up her duties at the Admin HQ in Horseferry Rd, London. “Her sphere of administration included England, the B.E.F. in France, and Egypt.” In June 1916 her service in Egypt was recognized with the bestowal of the Royal Red Cross (RRC) and a Mention in Despatches (MID): *Royal Red Cross (1st Class) – London Gazette 3/6/1916 *Mentioned in Despatches of Sir John Maxwell, K.C.B., in connection with services rendered in Egypt – London Gazette 20/6/1916 The investiture ceremony for her RRC took place at Buckingham Palace on the morning of the 27/6/1916, which she attended together with Jessie McHardie White and 3 other AANS nurses. The following month Evelyn made her first visit to France, arriving at Boulogne on the 8/7/1916. No official notification had been received by the Matron in Chief of the B.E.F. in France, Miss Maud McCarthy, so she was not expected, but luckily was looked after by Miss Woodford who dealt with all arrivals and departures, and just happened to be meeting a group of VADs on their arrival. The next day she was taken around the 13th General Hospital and the 2nd Australian General Hospital, before meeting with Miss McCarthy at Abbeville. She carried with her a letter of introduction from the Matron-in-Chief War Office, and made a favourable impression on Miss McCarthy, especially as she was “most willing that the Australians should just be sent where they [were] most required.” On the 10/7/1916 Evelyn left by car for Rouen, where she was to spend a few days at the 1st Australian General Hospital, before returning to Boulogne on the 14/7/1916. During the rest of her service as Matron-in-Chief, Evelyn was in regular communication with the Matron-in-Chief, B.E.F., and paid several further visits to France, but left much of the day to day arrangements concerning the AANS nurses in France to Miss McCarthy. She crossed to France again at the end of the year, and arrived in Boulogne on the 3/12/1916, meeting up with Miss McCarthy at the 13th General Hospital, before going on to Rouen. From Rouen she went to Abbeville on the 8/12/1916, where she was invited to lunch at the 2nd Stationary Hospital, “so that she might see her staff working” there, and she also met the Matron of the 1st South African General Hospital. On the 11/12/1916 she visited more hospitals with Maud McCarthy including the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (ACCS) at Gezaincourt, where the “OC spoke in the highest terms of the work both of the Australian and English Sisters during the recent rush – he said he did not think it was possible for women to do the work they had done.” Travelling once again with Maud on the 14/12/1916, they visited the 2nd ACCS at Troi Arbres, where they found everything in first rate order. From there they went on to the 1st ACCS, Estaires, which wasn’t quite yet up to the same standard having been established in several old buildings. Having spent the night in the Sister’s quarters at the 10th Stationary Hospital at St Omer, they started early the next day, ending back in Boulogne at the 2nd Australian General Hospital, where they dined with the new Australian Matron, Ethel Gray. Evelyn then returned to England on the 16/12/1916. Only one tour of inspection was made to France in 1917. Arriving at Boulogne on the 8/8/1917, Evelyn travelled to Abbeville the following day where she was met by the Acting Matron-in-Chief, BEF, Miss Beadsmore-Smith (Miss McCarthy being on sick leave), and Grace Wilson, Matron of the 3rd Australian General Hospital. They spent the time together discussing the arrangements and transfers of the AANS nurses that had taken place since her previous visit, before dining together that evening. A car was arranged for Evelyn and she proceeded to Rouen on the 11/8/1917, returning again to Abbeville on the 13/8/1917. From Abbeville she travelled back to Boulogne on the 15 /8/ 1917 and then on to Calais on the 17/8/1917. In Calais she met up with Miss McCarthy, who had returned to duty and they visited the 38th Stationary Hospital which was in the process of being established and staffed with AANS nurses, where they stayed the night. From there they travelled to Brandhoek where amongst others, they visited the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station which was situated beside the railway line. All the Units operating here had been bombed the previous evening, and the staff were all busy building up their defenses with sandbags. They eventually arrived at St Omer for dinner, and spent the night in the Sister’s quarters at the 10th Stationary Hospital. The following day of the 19/8/1917 they began their tour at the 2nd ACCS at Trois Arbres, where Louisa Stobo was the Sister-in-Charge. This Unit had also been experiencing considerable night bombing attacks, and it was arranged that several of the nurses beginning to feel the strain would be moved. Continuing on to the 1st ACCS at Outhersteene which although recently opened and still being put in order, they found the staff extremely busy with a large number of badly wounded men having been admitted overnight. A disturbed night was spent at the 17th CCS at Remy Siding, with Taubes flying overhead and the nearby Abeele Station being heavily bombed. Evelyn and Maud returned to Boulogne on the 20/8/1917, via various British CCSs, and Evelyn crossed back to England the following day. Three weeks later on the 10/9/1917 she embarked on the A38 Ulysses for return to Australia on furlough. Matron Grace Wilson was appointed temporary Matron-in-Chief to relieve Evelyn while she was away. Evelyn disembarked in Melbourne on the 13/11/1917, and the following Friday evening of the 16/11/1917 she was welcomed back during a dinner at the Army Nurse’s Club. Her time at home was spent at her hospital Lancewood, and she also enjoyed a well-earned rest at “Kerami” Guest House in the picturesque township of Marysville. Following a chat with “Graphic of Australia” she was described as having “a delightful speaking voice, a charming manner, and last, but not least – assuredly not least – a keen sense of humour.” Returning to duty, Evelyn re-embarked on the 5/1/1918 in Adelaide as Matron in Charge on the A30 Borda. Arriving at Plymouth on 4/3/1918, she was taken on strength of AIF Admin HQ on the 5/3/1918. Four days later on the 9/3/1918 she crossed to France on an inspection tour and travelled from Bolougne to Abbeville the same day. The following day, together with Miss Wilton Smith of the QAIMNS she travelled to Rouen where she visited the 1st Australian General Hospital, carrying out a thorough inspection on the morning of the 11/3/1918, before returning to Abbeville via Abancourt later that day. On the 13/3/1918 Evelyn and Miss McCarthy drove to St Omer where they had lunch at the 10th Stationary Hospital mess, before continuing on to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Nine Elms. Their next stop was the 1st ACCS which had been used as a Rest Camp during the winter and was in the process of being re-established as a CCS. Having stayed the night, they set off early the next morning stopping for lunch at the 4th Army HQ before returning to St Omer where they visited various hospitals before staying the night at the 10th Stationary Hospital. The staff of the 2nd ACCS were also resting here while waiting for their Unit to be re-opened, and during the evening Evelyn took the opportunity to interview them. Returning to Abbeville on the 15/3/1918, Evelyn spent some time at the 3rd AGH before returning to Bolougne on the 17/3/1918 with Miss McCarthy. They stayed at the Hotel du Louvre overnight, and the following day visited the 25th General Hospital at Hardelot which was treating mostly patients with skin diseases, and was staffed by 92 AANS nurses under Matron Maud Kellett. After lunch they returned to the 2nd AGH at Bolougne where the staff were taking the opportunity to do some spring cleaning while the hospital was far from full. On the 19/3/1918 they inspected the new Nurses’ Home being opened in the Hotel du Nord by the Canadian Red Cross, which was to accommodate all branches of the services. This was followed by the Sick Sister’s Hospital in the Chateau Mauricien, and while there they visited AANS Nurse Eva Sherwin, who had contracted an ulcer on her lip in the previous December while serving at the 25th GH, and free from infection was about to return to duty. Evelyn discussed the subject with the O.C. and it was decided she would bring the matter to the attention of the Director of Medical Services, AIF, for him to decide what action to take. [Following further treatment in the UK Eva was returned to Australia for discharge] Together with the Matrons-in-Chief of the other nursing services, Evelyn received a private audience with Queen Mary at Marlborough House on the 27/4/1918. Evelyn’s next visit to France was arranged for the period of the 10th to the 20th of June. Miss McCarthy joined her at Boulogne on the 11/6/1918 and they lunched together at the Principal Matron’s Mess, before spending the night at the Canadian Nurses’ Hostel at the Hotel du Nord, where they were made extremely comfortable and treated as guests. On the 12/6/1918 they visited the 25th General Hospital, which was still overflowing with every class of skin case. That evening they dined at the Mess of the Deputy Director of Medical Services. Amongst others they visited the 83rd General Hospital on the 13/6/1918 before heading to Abbeville, where Evelyn went to the 3rd AGH to stay. Together with Brigadier General Burgess of the AIF and Matron Grace Wilson, Evelyn visited Miss McCarthy on the 16/6/1918, before visiting GHQ with her on the following day. That afternoon they inspected the 1st and 2nd ACCSs which they found to be in first rate order. Miss McCarthy collected Evelyn again on the 18/6/1918 and one of the visits they made was to the 9th British Red Cross Hospital, established in the grounds of a Chateau and run by the Duchess of Sutherland with whom they had lunch. Their next stop was the 3rd ACCS before returning to Boulogne. The 19/6/1918 was spent at the 2nd AGH in Boulogne and the following day Evelyn returned to England “after completing a tour of inspection of all Australian Units in France lasting for 10 days.” On the 22/10/1918 she was admitted to the Australian Nurse’s Hospital, 12 Southwell Gardens with Influenza and discharged 9/11/1918, before rejoining Admin HQ for duty on the 17/11/1918. Due to her illness she was unable to attend a luncheon given by “representative English women in honour of the matrons-in-chief of the military hospitals, on October 30, in the Balmoral Hall of the Trocadero Restaurant, London.” Evelyn’s next visit to France was in December, arriving on the 5/12/1918. Miss McCarthy arranged for Matron G. Wilton Smith (QAIMNS) to accompany her on her tour of Australian Units around Abbeville and Rouen, and they departed Boulogne early on the 7/12/1918. Following lunch at the Nurse’s Home at Abbeville they went to the Headquarters of the Third Army at Flexicourt, before spending the night at the 41st Stationary Hospital. They left the next morning for Rouen, where Evelyn paid a visit to an Australian Nurse working in the Laboratory at the 25th Stationary Hospital, before continuing on to the 1st AGH. Returning to Abbeville on the 9/12/1918 she visited the 3rd AGH and returned to Boulogne on the 10/12/1918. The following day they went on an inspection of the Australian Casualty Clearing Stations situated with the 5th Army, having lunch at the 12th Stationary Hospital, and then dinner at the 39th SH in Lille. First visit on the morning of the 12/12/1918 was to the Lille Southern Cemetery to pay her respects to Sister Edith Moorhouse, who had died at the 39th SH on the 24th of November from Pneumonia following Influenza. She then went on to see General Birdwood, before visiting the 13th and 63rd CCSs, and then the 1st ACCS at Tournai. Travelling with Miss McCarthy, Evelyn went to Paris on the 15/12/1918, and from there she was to go on to Italy to visit the 38th Stationary Hospital. She returned to Boulogne on the 19/12/1918 and crossed to England the following day. 1919 saw Evelyn receive the appointment to be a Commander of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for valuable services rendered in connection with the war (CBE), dated 1/1/1919. While in London on the 14/2/1919 Miss McCarthy paid a visit to Evelyn at the Australian Admin HQ to discuss the demobilization of the AANS nurses in France. Evelyn willingly agreed to leave it up to Miss McCarthy to demobilize them in groups as and when it was convenient. Evelyn then crossed to France for the final time on the 15/4/1919. Her purpose this time was to visit Germany and Brussels. She travelled to Abbeville with Miss McCarthy the following day, where they met up with some of the other Matrons, including the Principal Matron of the AANS, Grace Wilson. They all had tea together at the Sister’s Quarters, and then Evelyn went with Grace to the 3rd AGH for the night, while she waited for her transport to be arranged. She returned to Boulogne on the 29/4/1919 and Miss McCarthy saw her off by the morning boat the next day. Evelyn eventually returned to Australia on the Orvieto, embarking 1/11/1919 and arriving 12/12/1919. Also on board was Sister Constance Keys and they were the last two of the original 25 nurses who had travelled with the First Convoy to return to Australia. During the few hours that the Orvieto was in port at Adelaide, Evelyn and the other nurses on board were entertained to a luncheon at the Army Nurses’ Club, Austral Gardens. Amongst the welcoming nurses was Ethel Davidson, then Matron of the 7th Australian General Hospital, Keswick, who had originally travelled to Egypt with Evelyn on the Shropshire in 1914. In speaking of her fellow nurses Evelyn had the following to say: “There are no words to express the unselfishness and wonderful work of the Australian nurses. Looking back now, the miracle is how they got through the vast amount of duty, so often performed under disadvantages. They were beyond praise.” She was awarded a Bar to the Royal Red Cross in 1919 (London Gazette 12/12/1919) Discharged from the AANS, AIF 7/3/1920, and awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal with Diploma in 1921. ********************************** Back in Australia Evelyn retuned to nursing at her Private Hospital, Lancewood. However, towards the end of January 1920 she found herself a patient when she went into hospital for an operation. Early in 1922 she returned for a visit to her birthplace, New Zealand, for the first time since leaving. In 1928 she travelled to the UK on the Orama, arriving London on the 9/6/1928, and departing again for Australia on the 5/10/1928 aboard the Mongolia. Addresses: 1920 “Lancewood”, Kew 1922, 1928 ERs: 26 Glenferrie Rd, Kew (Nurse) 1931, 1934 ERs: 57A Swinburne Ave, Glenferrie (HD, with Louisa Florence, HD) 1937 ER: 5 Mangan St, Canterbury (Nurse) 1943 ER: 130 Wattle Valley Rd, Camberwell (HD) *President of the Private Hospitals’ Association (1923) *Vice President of the Victorian Trained Nurses’ Club Ltd. (1924, 1934, 1936) *Member of the Nurses’ Board for State Registration, Vic., for 10 years *A Trustee of the Edith Cavell Trust Fund *On the council of the Royal Victorian College of Nursing for 33 years until her resignation in 1936 *On the council of the Victorian branch of the Australian Nursing Federation Evelyn died on the 6th of September 1944 in Epworth Private Hospital, Richmond She was buried with full military honours in the Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, which included a guard of honour of returned Army nurses of both wars. [Grave: C/E C 1435A – she is buried with her father William, d.7/6/1915] “With the passing of Miss Conyers there goes one of the most outstanding personalities of the nursing world of Australia,” Miss J. Bell, president of the Royal Victorian College of Nursing, said. “A woman of the utmost integrity and high principles, she leaves a fragrant memory, and an example of those high qualities of the best type of nurse and nurse administrator.” ********************************** Interview with Matron Kellett 1919 (AWM): Miss E. Conyers, Matron-in-Chief, A.A.N.S. I embarked on the 20th October, 1914, on the transport “Shropshire”, with 700 Artillery men, and 450 horses, the latter being carried on five decks. We proceeded to King George’s Sound, the rendezvous appointed for the troops to meet, escorted by the cruisers. We arrived there, and were detained for a week, waiting the arrival of ten transports, carrying New Zealand troops. At 8 o’clock on Sunday morning, the signal was given to lift anchor, and the forty-two vessels steamed out of King George’s Sound, and took up their positions in three divisions, two cables between each boat, and about half a mile between each division. They were convoyed by the “Minotaur”, “Ibouki”, “Sydney” and the ill-fated “Hampshire” brought up the rear. The “Melbourne” was also attached to the convoy, but we did not see her until the day she left us, when she steamed down the lines, with her signals flying a message from Captain Silver, “Good-bye, and good luck at the end of your Voyage!” The convoy extended for five miles and all the boats could be clearly seen. At sunset the cruisers drew in near the convoy, and at sunrise took up their positions on the horizon. As no boats could be left behind, the convoy had to proceed at ten knots an hour, that being the maximum speed of the slowest boat, the “Southern”, which was carrying horses. The ships were in total darkness at night, with the exception of a light on the aft mast, and a light hanging from the stern to show the following transport the position of the boat ahead of her. On the voyage the nursing staff of three were kept busy, assisting the medical officers with vaccinations, and inoculating the troops against typhoid. The Hospital, which had previously been the smoking-room, accommodated fourteen patients, and these beds were always full. Several major operations took place on the voyage, and the sterilizing had to be done with methylated spirit lamp. There was a permanent Hospital on the upper stern deck of the transport, which was used for infectious cases, and twenty cases of measles were accommodated there from time to time. The greatest care possible was taken with the horses, and where practicable, they were exercised daily, coir matting being spread on the decks to prevent them from slipping. The horses stalls were on the deck, and they had a narrow railing across the front, to which the food-bag was attached at meal-times. The leather halters were attached to either side of the stall by steel chains, and the horses slept with their hind-quarters resting against the back of the stall, and the head suspended in the halter. During the night, the horses were frequently heard to fall down, when a picket would immediately rush to the rescue, and the animal would be replaced on its feet. These horses were on their feet in the stalls, with the exception of exercising times, for seven and a half weeks. Twelve succumbed to ships pneumonia, but the remainder were landed at Alexandria in perfect condition, due to the care of Captain McDonald, the veterinary surgeon on board. On the 9th of November, much excitement was caused by seeing the “Sydney” clear her decks for action, stoke up, and disappear over the horizon. She was followed about half an hour later by the “Ibouki”, but the latter returned within half an hour to her former position. As was anticipated, the “Sydney” had received instructions to proceed after the German cruiser, the “Emden”, who had gone in the direction of Cocos Island, to take in coal, and destroy the cables. When the “Sydney” got into action with the “Emden”, wireless messages were transmitted from the wireless station of Cocos Island, and as the attack progressed, much excitement occurred on the forty-two transports of the convoy. There was great rejoicing when the message came through, “The “Emden” has been beached to save herself from sinking, and the “Sydney” is now chasing the collier”. Late that afternoon, the armoured cruisers, “Empress of Russia” and “Empress of Asia” made their appearance, the one to guard the prize, and the other to convey the wounded and German prisoners to Colombo. That night, a message was received up the lines that the “Sydney” and armoured cruiser would be passing the convoy at 4 a.m., but no demonstration was to be made, as they were carrying wounded and dying men. Three days later the convoy arrived outside Colombo Harbour late in the afternoon. When they were anchored, a five funnel Russian Cruiser called the “Bayak” guarded the convoy for the night. The following day the “Shropshire” proceeded into Colombo Harbour, where we saw the damaged “Sydney”. Permission was given for the medical officer, padre, and three members of the nursing staff to spend two hours on shore, and I need not say that the most was made of this opportunity, this being our first visit to the “Gateway of the East.” A motor-car was secured, and we travelled along the sea front, passed the Galle Face Hotel, through the Cinnamon Gardens and native quarters. No time was spent on lunch, and we then visited the bazaars, being on board the transport again, at the end of the allotted span of two hours. On the following morning, the convoy proceeded on her voyage, as we thought to France. There was a few hours delay off Aden, to take in water, and thence to Suez, where we were again held up, waiting to take our turn in passing through the canal. Each transport was fitted with a large searchlight on her bow, and the journey through the canal took eighteen hours. On the Sinai side of the canal were camps of Indian troops, under the charge of British Officers, at frequent intervals, guarding the canal. On arrival at Port Said, we were anchored for the night, and owing to this, large numbers of troops on board had an attack of ptomaine poisoning, due, it was thought, to the fruit and drinks they had purchased from the natives in the boats. On proceeding to the Mediterranean, the thirty-two Australian transports dropped anchor to allow the ten New Zealand transports to dis-embark first at Alexandria, they having been at sea about ten days longer than the Australians, and the Alexandria Harbour would not permit of more than ten transports dis-embarking at one time. Upon our dis-embarkation on the 3rd of December, we were notified by the dis-embarkation Officer that we were to proceed to Cairo by the 12 o’clock mid-day train that day, to go to the Egyptian Army Hospital which had been lent to the New Zealand forces. We also were loaned to nurse the New Zealand troops until their own nurses arrived, none having accompanied them on the journey. The train journey from Alexandria to Cairo was full of interest, this being our first visit to the near East, and as we neared Cairo, we saw the Pyramids in the distance. Upon our arrival in Cairo, we were met by an Officer of the Egyptian Army, and taken to a Hotel in Heliopolis, where arrangements had been made for billeting us. The following morning at 9 a.m., we reported to the O.C. of the Egyptian Army Hospital for duty. With the exception of the Matron, the Nursing staff then consisted of several French and Syrian ladies who had been trained in the French Red Cross in Paris, several of whom could not speak English. The Australians received a warm welcome. Three days later, four Queensland Military Nurses reported for duty with this Unit, and the work was much lighter after their arrival. I was placed in charge of the Aseptic surgical ward, and subsequently was appointed theatre sister. This Hospital had been built for the Egyptian Army, and the Staff consisted of several Officers of the R.A.M.C., and the Egyptian Army. The orderlies – most highly trained – were Egyptians. Their dress consisted of the regulation tarbush, a brown jersey with a red crescent worked on the sleeve, khaki knee breeches, navy blue puttees, and bare feet. The Sergeant in charge of the operating theatre was very distressed at the number of operations being performed on the troops, and in broken English told me that there were too many operations, and that they worried his so that he could not sleep. He later became ill through worry, and it was then I was appointed theatre sister. The whole of the native orderlies were removed, with the exception of one who was left to assist generally in any way the matron required. New Zealand orderlies took up duties in the wards, and two recently arrived members of the London Mounted Ambulance were selected as orderlies for the operating theatre. One of them, being a medical student, was of the greatest assistance, and the other was such a ready learner that he soon became of equal value. I remained in this Hospital for a period of seven months, until the arrival of the members of the New Zealand Army Nursing Service, and I then reported to my own Unit, No. 1 A.G.H., which had been quartered in the Palace Hotel at Heliopolis. I held the position of sister at No. 1 A.G.H., for three and a half weeks, and then I was selected as acting matron of No. 1. A.A.H. Heliopolis. This Hospital consisted of 1,500 beds, and was erected on the Heliopolis sports ground. The Administrative block was the building which had been put up as Office, bath-rooms, and refreshment room for the Sporting Club. On either side were tennis courts, but these had been roofed in with grass matting, and each contained 350 Arab basket bedsteads. They were divided into six sections, and a sister placed in charge of each section, with a nursing and general orderly under her. Fourteen wooden huts, each containing 50 beds, were put up, and the sand of the desert formed a floor; at the front part, partitioned off at either side were the sisters quarters, and kitchens. Nursing and general duty orderlies were attached for duty to each hut, and the general cleaning of the Hospital was done by a staff of Arabs. In front of the Administrative block, seventeen marquees were erected to house more convalescent patients, and they averaged fourteen beds each. In the Administrative block, the large room used for washing was converted into a dressing-room. Five tables were provided, fully equipped for doing surgical dressings, and the sister in charge of each hut or division came up to the dressing room with her medical officer, and nursing orderly, at a stated time. Seats were provided for the patients outside, and their dressings were done in turn. In this way, 1,000 dressings per day were done in this room, with the greatest ease. Some of the patients had to report three and four times a day to have their dressings changed. To this Hospital, large numbers of wounded men from Gallipoli were admitted, and the following arrangements were made by the O.C. As is known the patients did not arrive in too clean a condition from Gallipoli, so a large bath room was erected, plunge and shower, and one end was a room where the patient stripped and left all his clothing and kit. He then proceeded to the bath room, where he was provided with cleansing apparatus, and from there, he went to a third room, where pyjamas, shoes, and a bag, kindly provided by the Red Cross, were given to him. The bag contained all requirements in the way of brush and comb, tooth brush, tooth paste, etc. He was then shown to his bed, in whichever ward he had been allotted. His clothing was taken charge of by the Quartermaster, and perishable articles, such as boots, being placed on one side. The rest of the clothing was sent to a steam disinfector, and subsequently washed. The kitchens had to be frequently enlarged as the Hospital grew. The food was provided by arrangement with a French caterer, and great was his astonishment at the size of the Australian appetites. Two huts were erected as dining rooms, each seating 250 men at once. It was no uncommon thing for one of the patients, fit to take his meals in the dining room, to present himself twice during meal-times, but later on, guards were placed at either end of the hut, and the patients were provided with tickets. The patients who were unfit to leave the ward, or their beds, had their meals taken to them in the usual way. Concerts were frequently held by the Red Cross and ladies of Cairo, and everything was done to keep the patients cheerful and happy. The Australian Red Cross had a store in this Hospital, and the patients were daily provided with comforts supplied by them. Large numbers of the cases in the Hospital were acute surgical, and acute medical, dysentery being very prevalent, and special wards were set aside for them. During my stay of seventeen months in Egypt, it rained twice, but then to such an extent that everything in the grass-roofed tennis courts was saturated. The beds were covered with ground sheets, but the rain penetrated these. The climate of Egypt is very trying in the summer, and on more than one occasion, when travelling in the ambulances, the thermometer registered 117, owing to the hot winds. Khamseen, the strong winds which blow for fifty days, and fill the atmosphere with sand and germs of the desert, are very trying. Owing to the drifting sand it is impossible to see the sun in the sky, but a bright patch indicates its position. The flies were one of the drawbacks to Egypt, and when taking ones meals, one had a flyswitch beside them, to keep the flies from getting the food before they did. On one occasion, two very acute cases, who had been wounded in the landing at Gallipoli, were transferred from No. 1 A.G.H., to No. 3 A.A.H., and with mosquito netting, a section of the ward on the tennis court was closed in, large enough to hold the two beds, lockers, chairs, and tables. Unless this arrangement had been made, it would have been impossible to do the dressings of these patients in the open air, owing to the flies. ************************** Government Gazette of NSW, Tue 23 Sept 1902 (p.6763): Applications for Provisional Protection Evelyn Augusta Conyers, 25, Flinders-lane, Melbourne, Bourke, Victoria – An improved supporting frame to be used with a slipper bed pan. 15th September, 1902. Government Gazette of NSW, Tue 22 Sept 1903 (p.7023): Applications for Letters Patent to supersede Provisional Protection Evelyn Augusta Conyers, 25, Flinders-lane, Melbourne, Bourke, Victoria – An improved supporting frame to be used with a slipper bed pan. 15th September, 1903. The Age (Melb, Vic), Fri 17 Jun 1904 (p.4): ABOUT PEOPLE The committee of management of the Queen Victoria Memorial Infectious Diseases Hospital, at a meeting………….. The committee also appointed as matron of the hospital, Miss Evelyn A. Conyers, a lady who has occupied positions on the staffs of the Melbourne and Children’s hospitals, and more recently acted as matron in charge of Dr W. Moore’s private hospital. The committee will have the assistance of both appointees in the work of equipping and furnishing the hospital, which is being pushed on with most energetically. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Fri 17 Jun 1904 (p.6): PERSONAL Yesterday the committee of the Fever Hospital ……… Miss Evelyn Conyers was appointed matron at a salary of £80. Miss Conyers’s experience includes two years at the Children’s Hospital, three years at the Melbourne Hospital, and two years as matron in Dr Moore’s private hospital The Herald (Melb, Vic), Fri 30 Jun 1905 (p.5): Special Nursing Certificate The first examination in connection with the Special Certificate of Infectious Diseases Nursing was conducted at the Infectious Diseases Hospital this week by Dr Allen (medical superintendent), Dr Springthorpe (representing the Council of the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association), and Miss Conyers (matron). The following are the names of the ladies who qualified for the special certificate: – Evelyn Augusta Conyers, ……………….. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Sat 24 Aug 1907 (p.1): PERSONAL Miss Conyers, who was in charge of the Queen’s Memorial Infectious Diseases Hospital at Farefield until recently, has been presented by Dr Kasner Moss, acting on behalf of the medical and nursing staffs, with the gold badge of the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association. Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 7 Sept 1907 (p.26): News in Brief Nurse Shappere, a member of the Army Service nursing reserve, has been appointed matron of the Queen’s Memorial Infectious Diseases Hospital, at Fairfield, vice Nurse Conyers, resigned. Miss Shappere served as a nurse during the Boer war. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 13 Feb 1909 (p.12): Advertising PRIVATE HOSPITAL, “Lancewood,” Glenferrie-road, Kew, for medical, surgical, and mid-wifery patients. Ten minutes’ walk from Glenferrie station. Lofty position; large garden. Convalescent adults or children taken. Sister MacBeth and Conyers, certified Alfred, Melbourne, Children’s, and Women’s Hospitals. Telephone, 229, Hawthorn Exchange. The Reporter (Box Hill, Vic), Fri 23 Feb 1912 (p.2): Kew Town Council, Tuesday, February 13 Correspondence From Misses Conyers and MacBeth, applying for removal of registration of private hospital in Glenferrie road. – On the motion of Cr. Todd, seconded by Cr. Merritt, re-registration approved, subject to consent of health officer. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Fri 15 Aug 1913 (p.11): New Companies Registered. Victorian Trained Nurses’ Club Ltd – Authorised capital, £5000, in £1 shares. First directors: Jane Bell, Jessie M’Hardy White, Evelyn Augusta Conyers, Jessie MacBeth, and John William Springthorpe. Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 12 Sept 1914 (p.33): TRAINED NURSES FOR FRONT Six nurses have been selected for army service. ……………………… …….and Miss Conyers is associated with Miss M’Beth at “Lancewood” private hospital, Kew. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Fri 9 Jun 1916 (p.4): HONOR FOR HOSPITAL Miss E.A. Conyers, one of the Australian nurses whose names appeared in the Birthday honor list, and whose career was sketched in the Women’s Page of this journal on Tuesday, began her nursing career in the Children’s Hospital. She entered as a probationer in 1892, and, having established a brilliant record there, she did post-graduate work at other institutions. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Wed 20 Sept 1916 (p.5): AN INVESTITURE Writing to Melbourne friends from London, Miss E.A. Conyers, matron-in-chief of Australian hospitals abroad, gives an interesting account of the investiture ceremony by his Majesty King George. The nurses received a command to attend at Buckingham Palace at 10.15 a.m. on June 27. Five of them – Miss Conyers and Mrs J. M’Hardie White, with three sisters – motored to the Palace. They were attired in service dress, cap, and white kid gloves. They were shown into a room where about a hundred nurses were sitting. A few minutes later their names were called, and they filed into a larger room ready to receive the decorations. A line of tall Indian officers stood facing the King. Queen Mary stood behind the King to the right. She looked grave and stately, and had her hair dressed just as in the pictures one is accustomed to see of Queen Alexandra. Miss Conyers confesses to a certain amount of shyness when her turn came to step forward and face the King, who was standing on a dais with an attendant at his side holding a crimson cushion with her decoration in the centre of it. She curtseyed, stepped forward and the King hung the decoration on to a little hook that had previously been attached to her dress. King George then said, “I thank you for all you have done; how long have you been on active service?” She replied, “Four weeks here, and 18 months in Egypt.” He then shook her warmly by the hand. She curtseyed again, took one step backward, and retired. Outside the room an attendant undid the decoration, put it in a small box, and handed it to her. Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 3 Mar 1917 (p.41): AUSTRALIAN NURSES’ WORK WOMEN WORTHY OF ANZACS “How did I win it? Simply by doing my duty,” said Matron M. Graham, looking down on the ribbon of the Royal Red Cross of the First Class which stood out on the grey service uniform. ………………………….. I think I ought to give the names of the other two. They are Miss E.A. Conyers, of Melbourne, who is Matron-in-Chief, and Miss Ethel Davidson, of South Australia. Miss Conyers, mind you, has on her side the same responsibility as Surgeon-General Sir Neville Hose, V.C., Director-General of Australian Medical Services. She is doing in the nursing world what he is doing in the medical department. Miss Conyers had gone for a trip to England when I left, and she deserved it. We are the only three who went to the front from the beginning who have not been sick. It is a very trying climate in the desert.” …………………………………………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/121149601 The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Mon 2 Jul 1917 (p.7): NURSES’ HOME IN LONDON The High Commissioner for Australia, Mr Fisher, opening the Australian Nurses’ Hospital, in Kensington, paid a tribute to the generosity of Mrs T.S. Hall in presenting the hospital and bearing the expenses of equipment and management. She had also undertaken to superintend the domestic management, which was a special compliment to the nurses. Mr Fisher believed they would find all the comforts possible outside their own homes. The guests, including General and Mrs Howse, and Miss Conyers, and representatives of the military and medical service, inspected the premises, which provided accommodation for 25. Darling Downs Gazette (Qld), Sat 17 Nov 1917 (p.4): FIRST DIVISIONS ONLY REGRET The Matron-in-Chief of all the Australian military hospitals abroad, on shore, and afloat, Sister E.A. Conyers, returned to Melbourne on furlough on Tuesday. Sister Conyers declined to talk about her experiences, but she was not unwilling to praise the men who had come under her care. Their cheerfulness particularly impressed her. Her sympathy was given to the men of the first Australian and New Zealand expeditionary forces who had been so long away from home. Many of them, she said, were married men, and some of them had children here in Australia whom they had never seen. The disappointment of these men had been very keen when it was known that they could not return to Australia on leave. Referring to the organization of the hospital arrangements, Sister Conyers said that sometimes wounded soldiers were in bed in hospitals in England five hours after being received at the casualty clearing stations in France. The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 24 Nov 1917 (p.44): ARMY NURSES’ CLUB The smooth, steady work of the Army Nurses’ Club proceeds so quietly and so efficiently that, unless some special occasion arises, the outsider hears but little of the good results accomplished, and the help it is giving to all those women who have volunteered for active service abroad. …………………….. On Friday, evening, November 16, a very memorable night was spent, when the unit just leaving for active service was entertained at dinner and the theatre. Opportunity was also taken to welcome back Matron Conyers on her return from three years’ service abroad. Matron Conyers has a charming personality, which has been enriched by her army services and experiences. She left with the first Army Nursing Unit, and has been continually at work, having had charge of many a nursing unit, and her work has been the means of her receiving the Royal Red Cross at the hands of the King at Buckingham Palace. …………………… https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/140197732 Graphic of Australia (Melb, Vic), Fri 7 Dec 1917 (p.14): On Furlough – Chat with Sister Conyers Sister Conyers, matron-in-chief to the Australian Nursing Sisterhood, is enjoying six months’ furlough at her hospital in Glenferrie-road, Kew, after doing rather more than her bit with her red-caped forces at the front. Miss Conyers, who wears the coveted Royal Red Cross at the side of her apron bib, got away with our first contingent, and had the thrilling experience of seeing H.M.A.S. “Sydney” clearing its decks for action before its historic feat of sinking the “Emden.” Although not the first Australian to win the distinction, she is the first Antipodean to have her cross pinned on by King George. Britishers, Canadians and Australians, one hundred Red Cross heroines all told, marched to Buckingham Palace that day to receive the laurels from the royal hand. The word Antipodean is used advisedly, for Sister Conyers is not Australian by birth, but by adoption, having come her from her native New Zealand when still in her teens. All her nursing experience has been gained in this city. In her earlier war days she was matron-in-charge of the Egyptian Hospital, which had been lent to her native Maoriland, her only sister, also doing her bit with our nursing army, and spent twelve months in Malta looking after wounded and sick Anzacs from Gallipoli. The sister is impressed by the luxury in Melbourne, and also by the numbers of men in civilian clothes who throng the city streets. "Of course,” she explains, “food is very plentiful here, and numbers of the tweed coated are returned men or rejects. In England it is a case of women, women everywhere. Tram conductors are all feminine in London to-day. In France, all agricultural work is done by women and old men. “English women are wonderful. The courage and endurance of the ‘Aussies,’ ” she says, is beautiful. Sister Conyers added: “The men in my wards were all disgusted to hear that Australia had turned conscription down last year.” It is a small wonder wounded Anzacs loved the matron-in-charge, who has a delightful speaking voice, a charming manner, and last, but not least – assuredly not least – a keen sense of humour. Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld), Sat 8 Dec 1917 (p.11): A MATRON-IN-CHIEF AUSTRALIAN NURSE HONORED Miss E.A. Conyers, one of the six Victorian women, who left Australia with the first army nursing unit, now occupies a distinguished position in the service. She is matron-in-chief of the Australian Army Nursing Service, Australian Imperial Forces. At present Miss Conyers is enjoying six months’ furlough. With the exception of those stationed in India, Miss Conyers has charge of all the Australian nurses on active service. This means that she controls a corps of 1700 nurses, and has to keep in touch with the Australian military hospitals and casualty stations in France, in addition to the Australian hospitals and various nurses’ quarters in Britain. …………………………………. Miss Conyers gives an interesting account of the manner in which the nurses kept fit for the strenuous work. They are not allowed to remain at one centre for any great length of time. A change of scene often acts like a tonic, and is just what a tired nurse needs. This exchanging idea has proved very beneficial. In France if an ailing nurse is not well enough to report for duty after a 24 hours’ rest she is sent to England on sick leave. Not any of them is allowed to remain on duty at casualty stations for more than six months. At these centres the work comes in rushes. Sometimes as many as 2000 cases are put through in 24 hours. There are three casualty stations with a staff of 20 nurses at each. For this work good surgical nurses are required. Those who had had experience in the hospital operating theatres can always be sure of reaching these coveted centres in time. As the casualty stations are only three miles behind the trenches the nurses are frequently under fire. Miss Conyers pays a high tribute to the courage of Australian soldiers. They will joke even when undergoing the most excruciating pain. She tells of young Victorian soldier who had one of his eyes removed. To a sympathizing nurse half an hour later, he said, “Don’t be sorry for me, sister; I shall be able, by-and-by to give you the ‘glad eye’ on one side and the ‘glassy stare’ on the other.” This is typical. Miss Conyers states that she is proud of the Nursing Sisterhood, and considers it a high honor to occupy her position as its matron-in-chief. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/179433104 Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian (Vic), Sat 22 Dec 1917 (p.1): MARYSVILLE Concert An impromptu concert took place in the Mechanics’ Institute on Saturday last, in aid of the British Red Cross. …………………………… …………………………… Miss Conyers, matron in chief of All Australian Military Hospitals abroad,…………. Miss Conyers stated that she had visited most of the military hospitals, and the work which was carried out by the ladies of the Red Cross was just wonderful. No matter where the soldiers are, the Red Cross is there also. On the trip home to Australia, many wounded and sick soldiers were on board, and at every port of call, as soon as the boat was alongside the pier, the Red Cross ladies came on board and distributed personally to every soldier, dainties of all descriptions, and also that which our brave men relish, tobacco and cigarettes. Miss Conyers is at present enjoying a well-earned rest at “Kerami.” ………………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/60211496 Western Mail (Perth, WA), Fri 12 Apr 1918 (p.28): A WOMAN’S MELBOURNE LETTER It is something of a comfort to those relatives who have dear ones in England, who have lost limbs at the war, to know the Red Cross Society reports that the Australian Red Cross workshops at Southall are completed and equipped. ……………………. When visiting Melbourne last year Sister E.A. Conyers, the matron-in-chief of all the Australian military hospitals abroad, ashore, and afloat, said that artificial limbs were now wonderfully efficient. She had even seen men who had lost both their legs running and jumping. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/37448349/3494384 The Mail (Adelaide, SA), Sat 4 May 1918 (p.11): ARMY NURSES’ CLUB The superintendent (Mrs J.G. Kelly) reported: – Some little time ago the Army Nurses’ Club was moved from 16 North Terrace to the Royal British Nurses’ Home on Dequetteville Terrace, where arrangements have been made for the convenience of all local and visiting army nurses and visiting V.A.D.’s. …………………….. The club has been honoured by a visit from the chief matron of the Australian Forces in London (Miss Conyers), who was entertained during her visit by the president of the committee (Mrs H. J. Holden). ……………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/63843988 Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 6 Jul 1918 (p.9): Received by the Queen Miss Evelyn Conyers (Royal Red Cross), Matron-in-Chief of the Australian Army Nursing Service, was received by Queen Mary after an investiture at Buckingham Palace on April 27. When decorations are bestowed Queen Alexandra often entertains the nurses who have been awarded honors at Marlborough House, but this is the first occasion on which army nurses have been honored with a private audience with the Queen. The same honor was extended to the matrons-in-chief of Canada and New Zealand. The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 11 Jan 1919 (p.31): NURSES HONOURED Women who have been associated with the nursing service abroad and have returned to Australia will be interested in the following particulars just received of the luncheon given by representative English women in honour of the matrons-in-chief of the military hospitals, on October 30, in the Balmoral Hall of the Trocadero Restaurant, London. ………………………………………………. Miss Thurston represented the New Zealand Nursing Service; but most unfortunate and much regretted was the inability of Matron Conyers to represent Australia, through illness. ………………………. Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, Tue 17 Jun 1919, Issue 75, p.1009: CENTRAL CHANCERY OF THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD, St James’ Palace, S.W., 22nd March, 1919. The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following appointments to and promotions in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for valuable services rendered in connexion with the war. The appointments and promotions to date from the 1st January, 1919: – To be a Commander of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order: 3rd Military District Miss Evelyn Augusta Conyers, R.R.C., Matron-in-Chief, Australian Army Nursing Service. The Sun (Sydney, NSW), Wed 17 Sept 1919 (p.8): A.I.F. SICK – Britain Practically Clear LONDON, Tuesday night A small clearing station will replace Sutton Veny Hospital, which will close down of September 22. Bulford Special Hospital will remain open for a few weeks, when the War Office will take over the general treatment of Australians. General Howse’s command after September will be reduced to 30 doctors, nine nurses, and four dentists. General Howse and Miss Conyers (matron-in-chief) will leave for home by the Orvieto on October 17. Practically no Australian sick now remain in England except mental cases, who will be repatriated in specially-fitted ships at the end of October. The Register (Adelaide, SA), Thur 11 Dec 1919 (p.8): HONOUR TO WAR NURSES RETURN OF MISS CONYERS, C.B.E., R.R.C. The Australian honour roll is full of the highest records of unselfish patriotism; and coupled with the names of the fighting men are those of the army nurses. Both have played a big part in war service. On Wednesday a notable return in nursing annals on the Orvieto, was that of Miss Conyers, C.B.E., R.R.C. (first class). Miss Conyers was Matron-in-Chief, A.A.N.S., A.I.F., and did heroic work in Egypt and in France. She has come back with the rank of major, won amid the dangers and anxieties of hospital life behind the lines. In 1914 Sister Conyers embarked from Melbourne and went to Egypt, where she was appointed matron. Later, she went to France. Matron Davidson, now in charge at Keswick, went out in the same vessel, and she was among the group of nurses who welcomed Miss Conyers on Wednesday and helped to entertain her and five other interstate nurses during the few hours that the Orvieto remained in port. At the Army Nurses’ Club, Austral Gardens, the guests were entertained at luncheon, and congratulated upon their safe return. Miss Conyers remarked upon the providential escape of the Australian nurses from casualties; for, although they were frequently exposed to danger, there were no deaths, and only two suffered injury through bombing attacks. As more than 2,000 nurses were on duty, this record was remarkable. –In at the Beginning– Time was limited for the recounting of experiences abroad, and these splendid army nurses are always reticent, but Miss Conyers was ready to pay a tribute to her companions. “There are no words to express the unselfishness and wonderful work of the Australian nurses,” said Miss Conyers. “Looking back now, the miracle is how they got through the vast amount of duty, so often performed under disadvantages. They were beyond praise.” Asked of her own work, the Matron-in-Chief said she left Melbourne in October, 1914, with 25 other nurses, on the transport that carried the first 20,000 men. With her was Miss C.M. Keys, of Brisbane, who also came back with her, and they were the last two of the original 26 to return. Miss Conyers spent seven months in the Egyptian Army Hospital at Cairo, which was lent to the New Zealand troops, as they had no nurses. Then she went to Heliopolis and was subsequently promoted to her present status in December, 1915. This appointment carried the responsibility of all the nurses of the A.I.F. engaged, except those of India, and included Egypt, England, France, Salonika, and Italy. There was much organization involved, and then Miss Conyers left Egypt for London to take up duty at the A.I.F. Headquarters in London. Matters became serious in France, and two general hospitals were removed from Egypt to France. This meant continuous visits of the matron to that battle zone, and deeds were witnessed of men’s gallantry and women’s unselfishness that went to prove that chivalry was as much alive then as in the “golden age.” Wherever Miss Conyers went she heard commendation of the Australian nurses, and the Imperial medical officers also added their tributes. –Two Nurses Wounded– When asked whether she had not sometimes felt nervous while shells were bursting near – when bombing operations were in full force – the matron said, “There was always too much to think about. Helpless wounded men need all one’s care and attention, and to save one’s own skin never even occurs in thought. I always felt sorry for the patients who were not occupied by duty, and had nothing to do but listen to the wreckage. Of course,” continued Miss Conyers, “we got out of Fritz’s range just as soon as ever we could, always, and the tents were erected in such a way that the minimum of labour was involved in moving a whole hospital at brief notice. Sometimes the guns would be thundering, we would see the flash, and shells would burst near, yet we were miraculously spared. The only two Australian nurses wounded during the whole campaign were Sister Rachel Pratt, of Ballarat (Victoria), and Sister Eileen King, of Brisbane. Sister Pratt was in the raiding in Belgium in March, 1918, outside Bailleul, and they had orders to move hastily to Hazelbrouch [sic], where they were again shelled. While bending over a patient, Sister Pratt was struck in the back by flying shrapnel. The other nurse, Sister King received injuries to one of her legs.” Miss Conyers beckoned a companion to her, and introduced Miss Loughran, of Victoria, one of the 130 Australian nurses who had responded to the call of the Queen Alexandria Military Nursing Service Reserve. As matron at the Abbeville sisters’ station, and of a hospital at Paris, Miss Loughran had quietly coped with such gigantic organization as housing and supervising 800 nurses in a month; sending them up from Abbeville to duty, or receiving them en route from furlough. All the cooking for such crowds was done by two Australia V.A.D.’s, with one assistant. –True Heroines– Miss Loughran said she remembered the wounding of Sister King. In France, in 1917, they were at a casualty clearing station, and the Germans commenced to badly shell the area. The day sisters had all gone to bed when warning was received, and the patients were prepared for quick transference. Sister King was amid the din, but took no notice until she was thrown down, and, being unable to move, it was found that she was struck in the thigh and calf of the leg. She is convalescent, but still unable to get about. Such is the substance of what Miss Conyers, who intends to resume hospital life in Melbourne, had to tell, and served to show that our nurses shared, as far as was allowed, the dangers with the men. …………………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/63119065 Table Talk (Melb, Vic), Thur 29 Jan 1920 (p.31): WELCOME HOME TEA In honor of Miss Conyers, C.B.E., R.R.C., the members of the Private Hospital Employes’ Association gave a most enjoyable tea at the Wattle Tea Rooms on Wednesday afternoon, January 21. Miss Conyers won her honors for the fine work she did abroad as matron in charge of the Australian war nurses. On her return from active service, the matrons in charge of private hospitals, of whose ranks she was formerly one, took this pleasant means of showing their pride in, and appreciation of, what she has done. ……………………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/146473929 The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 31 Jan 1920 (p.38): ARMY NURSES’ WELCOME When the Army Nurses’ Club closes its useful work in April, the visit of General Birdwood on January 29 will be placed among its most pleasant records. ………………………………….. In responding, General Birdwood expressed his pleasure at meeting the sisters once more, and was very sorry for the absence of Matron Conyers, who, unfortunately, a few days ago went into hospital to be operated upon. ……………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/140235505 World (Hobart, Tas), Mon 7 Mar 1921 (p.3): A.I.F. MATRON-IN-CHIEF – HONORS FOR MISS CONYER MELBOURNE, Saturday – The Australian Red Cross is advised by the International Red Cross Committee at Geneva, that the Florence Nightingale medal has been awarded to Miss Evelyn Conyer, C.B.E., R.R.C., (first class and bar), who was matron-in-chief of the A.I.F. Miss Conyers’ record of service was a fine on, dating from October, 1914, when she embarked with the first expeditionary force. She served in the hospitals in Egypt in 1915, at the end of which year she was appointed matron-in-chief at the headquarters, Cairo. In May, 1916, she was transferred to London, and placed in charge of the Australian nurses in the United Kingdom, France and Egypt. She returned to Australia in December, 1919. Southland Times (NZ), Issue 19454, 2 March 1922 (p.5): AN INTERESTING VISITOR – DISTINGUISHED WAR SERVICE CHAT WITH MATRON CONYERS There has been staying in Invercargill during the past week a lady who holds a remarkable record for war service …………………….. Miss Conyers returned to Australia in 1919 and recently set out on a tour of New Zealand. Commencing her trip at Auckland she has visited practically every scenic resort in the Dominion and completed her tour by visiting the Sounds and going over the Milford Track. Although she has been in many countries, Miss Conyers stated that she had never seen anything so beautiful as the scenery of the Sounds. This is the first occasion on which Miss Conyers has re-visited her birthplace since she left for Australia as a girl in her teens. Her name is well-known in Invercargill and for many years Conyerstown, named after her father, formed a suburb of the town. Her father at one time was General Manager of the New Zealand Railways and opened the line between Dunedin and Invercargill. ………………. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ST19220302.2.49?items_per_page=10&phrase=2&query=miss+conyers&snippet=true Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic), Fri 8 Dec 1922 (p.3): Eltham Shire Council CORRESPONDENCE J. Macbeth and E. Conyers, asking if the council will grade the road from Huntingford’s to their place – Referred to the north riding members. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Tue 31 Jul 1923 (p.12): NURSES’ CLUB New Building Nearing Completion Ten years ago, when a little band of trained nurses in Melbourne, decided to form a residential club of their own, there were many sceptics who predicted an early termination of the venture, attended with financial disaster for all concerned. ………………………………………. To Miss E.A. Conyers, C.B.E., R.R.C., belongs the honor of founding the Victorian Trained Nurses’ Club. A fine organizer, she put the scheme on a sound footing before leaving Australia on war service, …………………….. The work which Miss Conyers started was ably carried on by Miss E. Glover, the first lady superintendent of the A.A.N.S., assisted by Miss M’Beth, the present managing director of the club. …………………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/243814089 The Argus (Melb, Vic), Mon 1 Oct 1923 (p.10): ITEMS OF INTEREST Private Hospitals’ Association At the annual meeting of the Private Hospitals’ Association on Friday the following officers were appointed: – President, Miss Conyers; ……………… …executive committee, …………Miss J. MacBeth, ………………… Table Talk (Melb, Vic), Thur 26 Jun 1924 (p.2): TRAINED NURSES’ CLUB Opening of New Wing …………………………………………… Miss J. MacBeth, president; Miss E.A. Conyers, C.B.E., R.R.C., vice-president; ………. Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 30 Aug 1924 (p.63): OF INTEREST TO NURSES The Nurses’ Registration Act Victoria came into force on July 1. The board is now formed and consists of Dr B.T. Zwar, who has been appointed chairman of the board, and who is a medical practitioner and member of the medical staff of the Melbourne Hospital; Miss Bell, the matron of the Melbourne Hospital; Miss Mann, matron of the Alfred Hospital; Miss Conyers, of Lancewood private hospital; Miss O’Reilly, who is on the staff of the Health Department; …………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/222814965 The Herald (Melb, Vic), Sat 16 Jun 1928 (p.10): TRAINED NURSES’ DIVIDENDS Club and Company Enjoy 15th Happy Year Fifteen years ago Miss Conyers (who is now absent on a trip to England) founded the Victorian Trained Nurses’ Club Ltd., at 432 Lonsdale street. …………………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/243944144 The Age (Melb, Vic), Tue 11 Mar 1930 (p.7): NURSING FEDERATION CONFERENCE The triennial conference of the Australian Nursing Federation was concluded in Hobart last week, and the Victorian delegates, Miss O’Neill and Miss Conyers, returned to Melbourne last Saturday. ……………. The report of the Victorian delegates will be presented to a council meeting of the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association next Thursday. The Age (Melb, Vic), Fri 25 Apr 1930 (p.10): WOMEN ON ACTIVE SERVICE Australian Army Nursing Service – Address by Matron-in-Chief E.A. Conyers Relating her experiences as a matron-in-chief of the Australian Nursing Service abroad during the war, Miss Evelyn A. Conyers, O.B.E., R.R.C., entertained a number of women in the Tudor Lounge of the Victoria, Little Collins-street, yesterday afternoon. A musical programme was provided by Miss Roxburgh’s orchestra. The room was delightfully decorated with masses of gladioli, Iceland poppies, chrysanthemums and gum tips. Brigadier-General Elliott, in introducing Miss Conyers, said that she left with the first division at the beginning of the war, and, landing in Egypt, took charge of the Heliopolis Hospital, and, with Sir James Barrett, organized the first large nursing hospital in Egypt for the Australian troops. Later she was sent to France, and organized the Australian Nursing Service there during the war. In recognition of her splendid services Miss Conyer received the Royal Red Cross medal and bar, the Order of the British Empire, and, finally through the Geneva Red Cross, the Florence Nightingale medal, of which only six were awarded during the war. On 21st October, 1914, said Miss Conyers, the first expeditionary force of 30,000 men and 24 members of the Australian Army Nursing Service left Port Phillip. The latter consisted of a principal matron, three matrons and 20 sisters, from the various States. On 5th December they disembarked at Alexandria, where the sisters were sent to Cairo for immediate work. Some were appointed to Mena House, opposite the Pyramids, where No. 2 Australian General Hospital was later established. The others were sent to the Egyptian Army Hospital, Abbassia, on loan to the New Zealand Government for some months. Several went to the isolation hospital at the rear, under the matronship of a “regular,” and with the valuable help of some French and Syrian woman residents in Cairo, who had trained under the Red Cross, the work was carried on efficiently. In December, 1914, the only hospitals in Cairo were the Citadel, a permanent British Military hospital, the Kasr-el-Ani, staffed by British and used for Arab patients; the Anglo-American, for private patients, and the already mentioned Egyptian Army Hospital. Early in 1915 all kinds of buildings were commandeered for hospitals in Cairo, Alexandria and Heliopolis. Some of these were the No.1 Australian General Hospital in a hotel, with an auxiliary hospital in the atelier; Luna Park, whose skating rink held 700 beds, and the Sporting Club, whose tennis courts were roofed to hold beds, while huts were erected and filled with beds. A well-equipped operating room completed this hospital, where 1250 sick and wounded men received attention at a time. In the early days of 1915 every day was an operating day, and under almost impossible conditions at times the surgeons and nurses carried on their work, working for many hours in succession out of each 24. The air was filled with sand, so much so that the sun appeared a dim blur in the sky. It was impossible to close a room against the fine, powdery dust, which rendered operations unsafe. As convoys arrived at any hour of the day or night the work of the sisters increased, and the usual siesta, so necessary to white women in that climate, was often abandoned. In some of the Australian hospitals cooking was done by the hospital staff, while in others caterers were employed. The sisters received each an allowance of 2/6 a day, of which 1/8 was kept for rations; the remaining 10d. was collected by the home sister for other necessities, such as butter, eggs and vegetables. The risk of cholera, &c., was always present, and it was unsafe to eat any uncooked vegetables. One would see in the Nile at the same time a man washing a donkey, another man washing himself, nearby an Arab woman washing clothes, and, next to her, a man washing lettuces. The only food really safe to eat was the delicious Jaffa orange. The work of the sisters on the transports from Gallipoli to Alexandria was a sad and trying experience. As time went on other hospitals were established. One was opened at Ismalia with an extension into the museum, where, in the approaches, mummy cases reclined against the walls. Mahommed Ali’s palace housed the permanent British military hospital in Cairo. In February, 1916, the staffs of No.1 and No.2 Australian General Hospitals, under Matron Conyers, were transferred to France. No.1 staff went to Rouen and No.2 to Wimereux. Altogether there were nine units in France, three miles behind the firing line, under constant fire and in danger from air raids. The hospitals were frequently bombed form the air, notwithstanding that their roofs were painted white and bore the Red Cross. Miss Conyers was also in London during Zeppelin and aeroplane raids. Altogether 2000 nurses left Australia for service overseas, and of these 900 were from Victoria. They served in transports, and in India, Salonika, France, Egypt, and England. Of the thirteen who gave their lives ten were Victorians. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Sat 25 Apr 1931 (p.36): How A Woman Remembers the Anzacs – by Matron Conyers [Photo] ON ANZAC DAY my memory turns always to those men who sailed away from Australia, careless of the future, serious only in wanting to do a job for their country, gay in all else, courageous, thoughtful, and, as it turned out, capable of tremendous unselfishness in the face of the greatest experience of their lives; the greatest, I said, alas! in many cases the greatest and the last experience. Sometimes I think the real Australian soldier can be better understood, judged by those early days of training, before the war actually caught them up, than in the actual heat of conflict. I like to recall the days of the big convoy that took away from our shores the First Expeditionary Force. …………………………………………. From Colombo we went to Aden for coal. No one was allowed ashore. The second night after leaving Aden we had another taste of trouble. It was 4 o’clock, not yet dawn, when we were awakened by a tremendous crash. The Matron and the other Sister and myself thought we had been torpedoed. We jumped from our bunks, put on dressing-gowns and life-belts, and obeyed the siren that summoned us to boat stations. There came another crash, and the ship heeled over, while the propeller, lifted clean out of the water, raced disconcertingly. Here we had our second glimpse of what the discipline of these young civilian soldiers was, after just a few months of training. They stood in absolutely unbroken, perfect lines, not a man moving, while the lowering of the boats and the disembarkation was arranged. Two men who had been sleeping in hammocks slung from the forward guns were missing, and it was thought they had been swept overboard. The roll was called, and the missing men turned up. The Ascanius had rammed us, striking a glancing blow which stripped the boats from the davits. The well [sic] was sounded, and we were told we were safe. Our concern was largely for the horses which would have had to be left to perish, as it would have been impossible to extricate them. At the height of the disturbance up came the Hampshire and a stentorian voice called – “What the devil are you doing there?” The captain of the Shropshire was taken away by the admiral’s launch for an official inquiry, the result of which we never heard. I remember the incident, not for its own importance, but for the example of perfect discipline it served to show. …………………………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/242781016 The Herald (Melb, Vic), Sat 10 Oct 1931 (p.20): TOMORROW’S FUNERAL Army Nurses Will Attend Returned Army Nurses will be represented at the funeral of Sir John Monash by Miss Evelyn Conyers, formerly Matron-in-Chief Australian Army Nursing Service, A.I.F.; Miss Grace Wilson, Matron-in-Chief of the A.A.U.S. Commonwealth Military Forces; Miss Gertrude Davis, president of the Returned Army Nurses’ Club; and Miss Gregson, secretary. Dr. J.W. Springthorpe will attend to represent the Edith Cavell Trust Fund; and on behalf of the trustees Miss Evelyn Conyers will place a laurel wreath on the casket. All returned Army nurses are invited to attend the service at the Shrine at 3 p.m. tomorrow, which is being arranged by the R.S.S.I.L.A. ……………………………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/242776593 The Herald (Melb, Vic), Sat 5 Mar 1932 (p.4): NURSING THE A.I.F. Matron Conyers will give an illustrated lecture to retuned army nurses and soldiers in the Malvern Town Hall at 8.30 on Monday night. Matron Conyers left Australia with the first A.I.F. contingent in October, 1914, and was soon promoted to matron-in-chief. The title of the lecture will be “Nursing in the A.I.F.” The Argus (Melb, Vic), Wed 20 Jun 1934 (p.15): TRAINED NURSES’ CLUB Directors, officials, and shareholders of the Victorian Trained Nurses’ Club Ltd. celebrated the 21st annual meeting of the company and of the club last evening. ………………………………………… Miss Evelyn Conyers suggested that the present club building should be demolished and that a modern building, fitted with lecture-rooms and comfortable quarters for nurses should be erected in its place. ……………………. Miss E.A. Conyers and Mr N. Purbrick were re-elected directors of the company, ……. At the annual meeting of the club, which was held at the conclusion of the company meeting, the following officers were re-elected – President, Miss J. MacBeth; vice-president, Miss E.A. Conyers; ……………………… The Age (Melb, Vic), Sat 27 Apr 1935 (p.17): NURSING IN THE A.I.F. Matron Conyers Addresses Centenary Club …………………………………… Matron Conyers said that the nursing sisters of Australia had proved themselves during the long war years to be among the finest in the world, and their work would never be forgotten. ……………………… When war was declared, Matron Conyers said, the permanent members volunteered immediately, and twenty-four [sic] left with the first expedition in 1914. Their destination at first was King George’s Sound, where they joined a convoy of forty-two ships and then proceeded to Alexandria, where the No.1 and No.2 Australian General Hospitals had been established. It was nothing for the nurses at times to work twenty-four hours, while the sisters at casualty stations lived under the constant strain of air raids and fighting, for they were only three miles behind the fighting line. At one time there were nine units of Australian nurses in France, all capable women with a surgical training, and, like all the sisters who served in the A.I.F., women who put duty before all else. …………………………………………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/204278678 The Argus (Melb, Vic), Tue 23 Jun 1936 (p.15): NURSES’ CLUB LTD. Honour for Miss MacBeth Miss J. MacBeth, a well-known figure in the nursing world, was elected president of the Victorian Trained Nurses’ Club Ltd., Lonsdale street, for the 20th year in succession, at the 23rd annual meeting last night. Miss E.A. Conyers was re-elected vice-president. The Age (Melb, Vic), Fri 21 Aug 1936 (p.16): FINE NURSING RECORD Tributes to Miss E. Conyers and Miss M.G. O’Neil Tribute was paid to two members of the nursing service in Victoria yesterday by their colleagues in the Royal Victorian College of Nursing, when a party was held in their honor at the Wattle Tearooms. They were Miss E. Conyers and Miss M.G. O’Neill, who are both resigning from the college council, Miss Conyers after 33 years’ membership…. …………………………………………….. Miss Conyers resignation severs an interesting link with a profession in which she established a fine record over many years. She was one of the first trained nurses in Melbourne to open a private hospital about 30 years ago, when, true to her high standards, she employed none but trained nurses on her staff at the hospital in Kew, in which she was in partnership with Miss McBeth. She was an original member of the Australian Army Nursing Service when it was only a skeleton service begun after the South African war, and that formed the nucleus of the service for the Great War. Its members used to attend two or three lectures a year, and had a uniform. When war broke out, Miss Conyers sailed for Egypt on a troopship in October, 1914, and when in Egypt was appointed matron in chief of the Australian Army Nursing Service. Later she served in England and then in France until the close of the war. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/204902655 The Argus (Melb, Vic), Wed 14 Oct 1936 (p.6): Florence Nightingale Memorial Sir, – The Florence Nightingale International Memorial was established in London in 1934. The memorial committee of Great Britain has appealed to the peoples of the Commonwealth of Nations to share in this great international movement to raise a permanent and living memorial to the memory of Florence Nightingale, which will carry on and extend her great and beneficent work. The memorial will take the form of an endowment, in London, of post-graduate courses of training in public health nursing, and of teaching and administration in schools of nursing. The scholarships have been financed by the League of Red Cross Societies, which has now exhausted its money available for the purpose. The sum of £200,000 is required for the endowment of the foundation, which has now been re-established under the auspices of the League of the Red Cross Society and the International Council of Nurses. The people of Australia are now being asked (through Dame Maud McCarthy, who is an Australian) to show their sympathy in a practical way with this movement. We earnestly commend this international living memorial to Florence Nightingale to the generous and sympathetic consideration of the people of Victoria, in the hope and belief that all who owe so much to her will take an honourable share in raising a sum before June, 1937, worthy of this State. Contributions may be sent to the honorary treasurer, care of the Red Cross Society, 44 Latrobe street, Melbourne, C.1. – Yours, &c., E.A. CONYERS, Acting Chairman, Melbourne, Oct. 12 The Age (Melb, Vic), Thur 22 Apr 1937 (p.5): NURSES IN WAR TIME Miss E. Conyers’ Address – To Kooroora Club A graphic account of the experiences of Australian nurses during the Great War was given to member of the Kooroora club yesterday by Miss E. Conyers, former Matron in Chief of the Australian Army Nursing Service, A.I.F., who left in the first convoy from this country. ………………………….. When the nurses left Egypt and its intense heat, and were transferred to France in 1916, they experienced the coldest winter France had ever known; it was so cold that even the medicine froze in the bottles. The nurses were accommodated in wooden and canvas huts heated by kerosene stoves, and the gifts of the Red Cross helped to keep them warm. The courage of the nursing sisters was wonderful, said the speaker. …………………… But many of those who returned had never been well since, and were unable to take up nursing again. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/205618448 The Age (Melb, Vic), Tue 5 Jul 1938 (p.3): Hospital Trainees Meet Miss Evelyn Conyers presided at a meeting of past trainees of the Children’s Hospital, held through courtesy of Miss Armstrong at her home in Bates-street, East Malvern, yesterday afternoon. A suggestion that an effort should be made to raise the requisite sum of money to provide a scholarship for a Children’s Hospital sister at Bedford College, London, under the Florence Nightingale Memorial Trust, was discussed, but it was decided that no practicable scheme was forthcoming at present, and no definite plans were made. The matter will be further considered later. The Age (Melb, Vic), Thur 7 Sept 1944 (p.3): DEATH OF MISS E.A. CONYERS Miss Evelyn Augusta Conyers, C.B.E., R.R.C., died in a private hospital in Melbourne yesterday. Miss Conyers, who was born in New Zealand, was Matron in Chief, Australian Army Nursing Service during the first world war. She received her nurse training at the Melbourne Hospital, Children’s Hospital and the Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. She was a member of the A.A.N.S. from its foundation in 1903, and left Australia on active service with five other army sisters from Victoria in October 1914. On the establishment of No.1 A.G.H. at Heliopolis, near Cairo, early in 1915, Miss Conyers was transferred there, helping in the nursing of the soldiers evacuated from Gallipoli. With the rapid expansion of auxiliary hospitals of this unit Miss Conyers was appointed matron of one of them, established at the Sporting Club, in its grounds at Heliopolis. She was appointed the first matron in chief in December, 1915, and held the position until after the end of the war. For her outstanding services with the Army, Miss Conyers was awarded the Royal Red Cross and the C.B.E. She also received the rare decoration of the Florence Nightingale Medal from the Red Cross Society. After a service at 11.30 this morning in the memorial chapel of Herbert King and Sons, Lennox-street, Richmond, the cortege will proceed to the Kew cemetery. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Thur 7 Sept 1944 (p.5): Soldier’s Funeral For Matron Conyers [Photo] A guard of honor of returned Army nurses, those of this war on the right, and those of the last war on the left, was formed for the funeral at Boondara [sic] today of the late Miss A.E. Conyers, [sic] C.B.E., R.R.C., Matron-in-Chief of the Australian Army Nursing Service in the last war, who was given a soldier’s funeral. ………………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/246022338 Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Wed 13 Sept 1944 (p.21): DEATH OF LAST-WAR MATRON-IN-CHIEF ……………………………… Miss Conyers had been ill for some time. ……………………………………………………. HIGH TRIBUTE “With the passing of Miss Conyers there goes one of the most outstanding personalities of the nursing world of Australia,” Miss J. Bell, president of the Royal Victorian College of Nursing, said. “A woman of the utmost integrity and high principles, she leaves a fragrant memory, and an example of those high qualities of the best type of nurse and nurse administrator.” https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/224833830 The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 23 Sept 1944 (p.15): BEREAVEMENT CARDS CONYERS – The Brother and Sister (Sydney) of the late EVELYN AUGUSTA CONYERS wish to THANK all her friends, presidents, matrons, and members of nursing and hospital committees for their kind expressions of sympathy and beautiful floral tributes in their recent sad bereavement; also the matron, sisters, and nurses of Epworth Hospital, Richmond, for their unremitting care and great kindness. *************** Who’s Who in Australia 1938 (p.134-5): CONYERS, Evelyn Augusta, C.B.E., R.R.C., Veteran War Nurse; d of William Conyers, of Leeds, Yorks., Eng.; b. Invercargill, N.Z.; Sister A.A. Nursing Service, C.M.F., since inception, 1903; served Great War 1914-19 Aus. Army Nursing Service A.I.F., embarked with first expeditionary force A.I.F., as sister, Oct. 20, 1914, served in hospitals in Egypt, 1915, appointed Matron-in-Chief at Headquarters at Cairo, transferred to London in May, 1916, and placed in charge of the Australian Army Nursing Service in the United Kingdom, France & Egypt, returned to Aust. Dec., 1919, despatches, R.R.C with bar, C.B.E. 1918, Florence Nightingale Medal (International Red Cross Committee at Geneva) 1921; was member Nurses’ Board for State Registration, Vic., for 10 yrs.; Hon. Life Member, Council Royal Vic. Coll. Of Nursing; Founder & Dir. Vic. Trained Nurses’ Club Ltd.; member Board Queen’s Memorial Infectious Diseases Hosp.; member Council Vic. Branch Aus. Nursing Fedn.; Trustee Edith Cavell Trust Fund; address, 5 Mangan St., Balwyn, E.8, Vic.; clubs, Lyceum & Returned Nurses (Melb.).