Janey was born on the 31st of March 1872 at the family home, Green Meadows in East St Kilda, Vic, and was baptized at St Mary’s, Caulfield on the 8/9/1872. She was the youngest daughter of William George LEMPRIERE and Jane Hall McROBIE, who married on the 6/4/1857 at St John’s Church in Hobart, Tas.
Following a long and painful illness, Jane died at Green Meadows on the 10/8/1884, aged 46. William died in May 1887 at Prahran, aged 60, following injuries received in a railway accident, and was buried with his wife in the St Kilda Cemetery
Siblings: *William Lowes b.24/2/1859 Tas – d.1930 SA, age 72; (all following reg. St Kilda, all unnamed at time of reg., with exception of Mary): *Thomas Edward b.16/9/1860 (d.1946, age 86); *Annie Josephine Selina b.23/9/1862 – marr C.T. COOKE 1888 – d.1943, age80; *John Thomson b.28/6/1864 – d.25/3/1914 (Polo accident), age 49; *James Boyes b.2/10/1865 (d.26/31951, age 85); *Carlotta Lillias b.4/3/1867 (Mrs STEPHEN, d.1954, age 87); *Mary b.14/11/1868 – d.27/9/1915, age 46; *Estelle Reid b.15/6/1870 (d.1935, age 65); *Oscar Tandeur b.9/8/1873 (d.1955, age 82); *Charles Algernon b.27/3/1875 (Merchant, Pastoralist) – marr Dora E.O. MITCHELL (sister of Dame Nellie Melba) 1906 – WW1: Lieut, AN&MEF – d.1938, age 63; *Audley Raoul b.8/11/1876 (d.1931, age 55)
Religion: Church of England
Janey trained in Nursing at the Children’s Hospital, Melbourne (1895, 1896)
Alfred Hospital (1900)
Boer War Service:
In 1900 she sailed to South Africa at her own expense on the s.s. Salamis 14/3/1900 to offer her services in the Boer War. She carried with her a letter of introduction to Sir Alfred Milner from Mr Melville, the Minister of Defence. Milner first placed her in one of the Base Hospitals (No.2 GH) in Wynberg. In June they were to be transferred to Johannesburg, but instead served at Bloemfontein, Kroonstad and Pretoria during 1900.
She returned to Australia on the s.s. Nineveh, arriving 15/12/1901
[See indepth letters in newspapers of the timefor her service during 1900]
Joined the Australian Army Nursing Service Reserve at its formation in 1902
Children’s Hospital, Melbourne (1907)
Alfred Hospital, Prahran (1911, 1912, 1914)
Janey enlisted in the AANS, AIF, for overseas service, aged 42, and embarked in Melbourne on the 18/10/1914 on HMAT A24 Benalla with sisters Samsing, McHardie White and Kitchin, along with the 8th Battalion. Rendezvousing with the rest of the First Convoy in King George Sound, they eventually left West Australia’s shores on the 1/11/1914. During the voyage they dealt mainly with inoculations, and Influenza and Measles cases. Initially bound for England, they were rediverted to Egypt en-route.
In regard to the voyage Lieut-Colonel Field of the 8th Battalion wrote home the following:
“In addition to the officers of the ship we also have four nursing sisters, who became invaluable before the end of the voyage, and assist most materially in bringing us to Alexandria without a death.”
Disembarking at Alexandria on the 8/12/1914, Janey served first with the 1st Australian General Hospital at Mena House Hospital, Cairo.
On the 13/12/1914 she wrote:
“We have over 200 patients and about 350 beds made up. I have prepared 50 beds by turning out numbers of small rooms and putting in two or three mattresses.”
Returned to Australia 1915
Re-embarked in Melbourne 14/4/1915 on the Orontes for England, in charge during the journey of the 28 nurses destined for the QAIMNSR. The ship arrived in the UK on the 26/5/1915 following some excitement in the English Channel after three German submarines were reported, and everybody sat up throughout the night fully clothed with their lifebelts within reach.
Detached from the 2nd AGH for duty with the 1st Australian Auxilary Hopsital; Harefield; 31/8/1915 [AWM Photo Ward 23]
On duty to Australia from Portland, England on Star of England from 12/12/1915
Embarked on A67 Orsova 16/3/1916
Disembarked at Devonport and posted to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield 29/4/1916
Returned to Australia on the Armadale on duty in charge of six nurses, having departed Suez on the 23/5/1916 and arrived 25/6/1916
2 weeks furlough, England from 13/11/1916
On duty at the newly opened Cobham Hall Convalescent Home for Australian Officers in Kent 24/11/1916. Janey was granted the temporary rank of Head Sister whilst holding the position of Sister in charge.
Attached for duty at the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, from Cobham Hall 2/5/1917
Detached from 3rd AAH 19/5/1917 for return to Australia on transport duty
Returned to Australia on the Ayrshire, arriving 17/7/1917
Matron in charge of the Base Hospital, No.5 Australian General Hospital, Melbourne 1917 to September 1918
Re-joined for overseas service 13/9/1918 and re-embarked 17/9/1918 in Sydney on No.2 Hospital Ship Kanowna as Matron replacing Matron Violet Mills (for the Kanowna’s final round trip as a hospital ship). Upon their arrival in Egypt they were diverted to the Gulf of Smyrna to collect repatriated British prisoners of war from Turkey.
Eventually arriving in England, all patients were disembarked on the 24th and 25th of November, and as the Kanowna went into dry dock for repairs, Janey and the rest of the staff were granted Leave.
They finally sailed again on the 5/1/1919 with a full load of invalids, and arrived back in Australia in the first week of March, disembarking patients and staff into quarantine as they travelled around the coast.
Discharged from the AIF 17/5/1919
Travelled to England on the Indarra arriving 31/3/1920
Appointed Matron of the Lady Muriel Paget Hospital for Russia
Returned to Australia on the Orontes arriving Fremantle 26/11/1920
Travelled to England on the Euripides, arriving 2/3/1923, and departing again on the 18/8/1923 on the Ormuz
During her time in England she underwent a severe operation in London
Travelled to England on the S.S. Orsova, arriving 9/6/1925, and departing again on the 19/9/1925 on the Oronsay
1926 Electoral Roll: 204 Orrong Rd, Caulfield West (HD)
1931, 1934 ERs: Westmount Rd, Healesville (HD)
1936 ER: 21 Hillside Ave, Caulfield (HD)
1942, 1949 ER: 30 Howitt Rd, Caulfield West (HD) (1949: with David McRobie, Dairyman)
Janey died on the 22nd of August 1950 at Brighton, Vic, aged 78
She was cremated at Springvale Botanical Cemetery 24/8/1950 and her cremated remains collected. Her ashes were later buried at St Kilda Cemetery next to her mother and father 8/4/1956 – C of E Sect, Comp A, Grave 239
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Wed 3 Apr 1872 (p.4):
LEMPRIERE – On the 31st ult., at Greenmeadows, East St Kilda, Mrs W.G. Lempriere of a daughter.
The Age (Melb, Vic), Sat 24 Aug 1895 (p.8):
AN INTRUSION AT THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
A sensation was created amongst the nurses engaged at the Children’s Hospital at about 1.45 a.m. yesterday by the sudden appearance of a man in their sleeping apartment. One of their number, Nurse Lempriere, happened to be awake at the time, and on seeing the intruder enter her room she screamed, and alarmed some of the other inmates, whereupon the fellow made off, and scaled the brick wall which surrounds the grounds upon which the buildings stand. How the man effected an entrance to the grounds is unknown, but once there his entrance to the nurse’s room was quite easy, as the door had been left open. A telephone message was immediately despatched to the police offices, but though a constable was quickly on the spot no trace of the offender could be discovered. Later in the day, Miss Lempriere, accompanied by one of the medical staff, appeared before the justices at Carlton and swore an information against a “man unknown” on a charge of being illegally on the premises of the hospital authorities, and a warrant was issued for his apprehension.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Thur 15 Mar 1900 (p.5):
Miss J. Lempriere, of Balaclava, left in the s.s. Salamis yesterday, for South Africa, to offer her services as a nurse. The lady resolved upon this course while on a tour of New Zealand, and hurried over to Melbourne by the first steamer. Mr Melville, Minister of Defence, gave her a letter of introduction to Sir Alfred Milner. Miss Lempriere is defraying all her own expenses. On the Salamis were seven nurses from New Zealand, who have been sent to South Africa by public subscription. Eight other nurses will join the vessel at Albany.
Hamilton Spectator (Vic), Sat 28 Jul 1900 (p.2):
LETTER FROM THE FRONT
EXPERIENCES OF A NURSE
Hamilton Spectator (Vic), Tue 21 Aug 1900 (p.1):
HOSPITAL SCENES IN SOUTH AFRICA
A NURSE’S EXPERIENCES
Hamilton Spectator (Vic), Thur 27 Sept 1900 (p.4):
A NURSE’S EXPERIENCE IN PRETORIA
Hamilton Spectator (Vic), Sat 13 Oct 1900 (p.2):
SOUTH AFRICAN HOSPITALS
A NURSE’S EXPERIENCE
Hamilton Spectator (Vic), Sat 1 Dec 1900 (p.4):
LETTER FROM A HOSPITAL NURSE
Bairnsdale Advertiser and ……………(Vic), Thur 12 Dec 1901 (p.2):
GENERAL NEWS – RETURNING AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS
MELBOURNE, Wednesday Night
Fifty-eight Australians returned home by the s.s. Nineveh to-day, and were entertained at luncheon by the Victorian Government.
Fourteen of the returned men were Victorians. One man, Trooper James, died on the voyage from inflammation of the lungs. His comrades subscribed £15 to purchase a gold bangle for Nurse Lempriere, who attended him during his illness.
The Coburg Leader (Vic), Fri 31 Mar 1911 (p.1):
News and Notes
In connection with the Coburg Stall at the Alfred Hospital Bazaar an “At Home” is to be held in the Public Hall, Bell street, on Saturday afternoon next, 1st. prox. At 3 o’clock, when Nurse Lempriere will deliver a few remarks on “Nurses and Nursing.”
The Mildura Cultivator (Vic), Sat 6 Feb 1915 (p.12):
MY DEAR MR EDITOR
The following letter, received by a Mildura lady from Sister Lempriere, one of the Army Sisters who has gone out to help nurse the Australian sick, will be interesting to all members of the Red Cross Society, and others and will prove how necessary the work is and how the work is already being used for the Australian soldiers who are in the hospital: –
“First Australian Expeditionary Force, Mena House, Military Hospital. The Pyramids, Egypt, 13/12/1914.
This is a monstrous hotel, wings complete in themselves in every direction, and now it is commandeered and filled with the sick from all the ships. We Sisters are all here, excepting several who have gone to the Egyptian Hospital at Heliopolis, and we are living very comfortably, waited on by Arabs. The Egyptian Hospital is another fine place, where they are nursing the New Zealand sick. All their 10,000 men were sent without Sisters. The orderlies are from the Ambulance Nursing Corps. Captain Freves, Dr Bird and Dr Whitford are here. Col. Fred Bird is an hon. surgeon and already is busy, as we never have a day without an operation. One young man from Queensland climbed the Pyramids with no guide, fell and rolled down over the stones and is now very bad with a crushed head. Another head was injured and now a third man was found at the foot of the Pyramids, after lying there all night with a broken back – a very young, nice-looking boy from Queensland. After this we hear the Pyramids are out of bounds. None of these are Victorians. We have two typhoids, several pneumonia cases and lots of convalescents. We have over 200 patients and about 350 beds made up. I have prepared 50 beds by turning out numbers of small rooms and putting in two or three mattresses. We only expect to stay here a few months and then perhaps go to the front. My nephew has been here three times to see me and we sit out in the garden. We are glad to be together. We also had Mr McQuie; he comes from Mildura. The climate is perfect, all clear sunshine, and the camp stretches for miles. At 6 a.m. Reveille sounds; we are rising and all day we hear the calls. Eighteen thousand Australians are here and 2000 yet to come. We hear rumors of a possible engagement near Suez. The Indian troops are there.”
Mount Alexander Mail (Vic), Mon 8 Feb 1915 (p.3):
AUSTRALIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
Lieut-Colonel Field, who is attached to the 8th Battalion, First Australian Expeditionary Force in Egypt, sends an interesting account of his experiences and observations, ……
In addition to the officers of the ship we also have four nursing sisters, who became invaluable before the end of the voyage, and assist most materially in bringing us to Alexandria without a death. The Lady Superintendent is Sister Kitchener [sic], Sisters White, Lempriere, and Samsing, being the others. Two serious cases of pneumonia, one of which is extremely critical, occurred during the voyage. ……………………….
The Daily News (Perth, WA), Wed 21 Apr 1915
Mainly About People
Among passengers by the Orontes which passed through Fremantle this morning is Miss Lempriere, of Melbourne, who has been appointed to travel home in charge of a number of nurses who have been appointed by the Commonwealth Military Department for service at the front.
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), Wed 2 Feb 1916 (p.12):
HOME. BATTLE-SCARRED WARRIORS
MORE WOUNDED ARRIVE
Another batch of our wounded warriors returned by a transport with reached Sydney yesterday. …………………………..
The ship was seven weeks on her journey from England. …………………..
The nursing staff consisted of Matron Lempriere, and Sisters Cramer, Hill, and Hazelton-Heard.” ………………………
[Constance Mabel Cramer; Amy Jane Hazelton-Heard] [Star of England – embarked 12/12/1915]
The Maitland Weekly Mercury (NSW), Sat 8 Jul 1916 (p.11):
BACK FROM EGYPT
Colonel Nicholson, M.L.A., who returned last week by the transport Armadale, which berthed at Newcastle with returned sick and wounded soldiers, ……………….
The voyage was a pleasant one so far as the elements were concerned, but there was a good deal of sickness on board, including 50 cases of mumps, nine of acute pneumonia, and between 500 and 600 of the men passed through hospital with influenza. One soldier developed appendicitis in the Indian Ocean, and an operation was successfully performed, and the patient, thanks to the devoted attention received at the hands of the nurses, was convalescent by the time the transport reached Suez.
On his former voyage, with 1500 troops, Colonel Nicholson was without nurses, but on the last trip he made application to the authorities for a staff of nurses, and the fact that there was so much illness on board justified him in his action. There were six nurses, in charge of Matron Lempriere, of Melbourne, on board, and some twenty medical men, including Colonel Springthorpe, who had been superintendent of the Melbourne Hospital for some time. Both the medical officers and the nurses were exceedingly attentive to the men, and it is due to their care that they recovered so rapidly. He speaks admirably of the work of the nurses and doctors. …………………………
[Charles Edward Nicholson]
The Bendigo Independent (Vic), Wed 6 Dec 1916 (p.5):
AUSTRALIAN OFFICERS CONVALESCENT HOME IN KENT
Cobham Hall, at Cobham, in Kent, the use of which has been given by Earl Darnley, has been opened as a convalescent home for Australian officers. Colonel Warren has been appointed officer in command, and Sister Lempriere is to be appointed matron. Twenty-three convalescent officers have already been admitted.
The Herald (Melb, Vic), Tue 5 Dec 1916 (p.12):
COBHAM HALL OPENED
Sister Jane M.R. Lempriere was trained at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, and subsequently served as a nurse in the South African war.
When the Australian Army Nursing Service Reserve was formed in 1902 she was one of the original members. She left Australia for the front with the first contingent, and has done excellent work in the hospitals abroad.
Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 1 Dec 1917 (p.9):
Stick to Their Posts
……………………..; and Miss J. Lempriere is in charge of the Base Hospital, St Kilda road.
West Gippsland Gazette (Warragul, Vic), Tue 7 May 1918 (p.2):
FRUIT FOR THE WOUNDED
To the Editor of the Gazette
Sir – There are at the present time 500 wounded and sick soldiers at the Base Hospital, under the care of Matron Lempriere. Fruit is a luxury to them. If residents of the district will leave at my office any fruit, apples, pears, passion fruit, etc., they can spare, I will see that they reach the Base Hospital. By doing this they will be doing a kind action to our returned boys. Yours etc., GEO. V. STEPHEN, Queen street, Warragul
The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 14 Sept 1918 (p.45):
The Soldiers’ Club committee of the Y.M.C.A. on September 6 entertained in the club room, St Kilda road, Matron Lempriere, the sisters, V.A.D.’s, and patients of the Base Hospital. ………………………..
Graphic of Australia (Melb, Vic), Thur 19 Sept 1918 (p.7):
MAINLY ABOUT PEOPLE
Matron Lempriere, who, after serving with the Australian Nursing Corps in Gallipoli and France, has been for months in charge of a Victorian Military Hospital, has set off again on a further term of active service. This capable matron, who was for so long associated with the Alfred Hospital, is one of the Greenmeadows branch of the Lempriere clan. That fine old property on the Balaclava-road has been cut up and sold for villa allotments, and now sprouts with up-to-date Queen Anne homes.
The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 21 Feb 1920 (p.35):
Miss Janie Lempriere, who for a time was matron at the Base Hospital, and has also been on service with troopships, left for England by the Indarra.
The Daily News (Perth, WA), Thur 17 Jun 1920 (p.3):
Mainly About People
A Melbourne paper says that Miss Lempriere, formerly matron at the Base Hospital, St Kilda-road, has been appointed matron of the Lady Paget Hospital for Russia.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Tue 20 Nov 1923 (p.15):
NURSES’ REGISTRATION BILL
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS
Sir, - For humanity’s sake may I be allowed to plead for the maintenance of a high standard of training and for the continuance of the term of three years in all general training schools? I have recently undergone a severe operation in London, and from my own personal sufferings I realize how necessary the highly trained, efficient nurse is, and how important to keep the status of training here on a level with that of England. Nothing less than three years’ general training would carry any weight there. By reducing the term here and including maternity training in the three years the bush nursing scheme will not benefit. The work entailed is too strenuous, and the salary too small. Centralising of patients in country districts would be more satisfactory. By all means, for the sake of fellow-sufferers, I plead for the highest standard and the most unselfish service for Victoria. – Yours, &c.,
JANEY M LEMPRIERE, Matron, Late A.I.F. Nov 19
The Argus, Tue 26 Aug 1924:
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS
Sir, - May I, as a “digger” sister, be allowed to take great exception to Mr Lemmon’s instructing the officers of the Education department that no articles referring to war and war heroes should be printed in school papers. I served throughout the war, and through the Boer war, and know well how the men fought and suffered for their King and country. Their wonderful endurance and great deeds should ever be remembered by us all with the deepest gratitude. – Yours, &c.,
JANEY M. LEMPRIERE, Matron, late A.I.F. Orrong road, Caulfield, Aug 23
The Argus, Sat 16 Aug 1941:
WHY NOT CHEER THEM?
Sir. – As a returned Army matron, who served in the last war, I was dismayed by the lack of enthusiasm displayed by the public during the march through city streets today of 200 RAAF reservists going into camp for the first time. There was no waving or cheering or any form of encouragement for these boys going to serve their country. In the last war every march was greeted with enthusiasm by onlookers. – J. M. LEMPREIRE (Caulfield)
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Thur 24 Aug 1950 (p.7):
South African war nurse dies
Miss Jane McRobie Lempriere, of Howitt rd., Caulfield, a nursing sister who served in a field hospital at Bloemfontein during the South African war, died in Melbourne on Tuesday.
She also served on hospital ships in the 1914-18 war.
The Age (Melb, Vic), Thur 24 Aug 1950 (p.2):
OBITUARY Miss J. McR. Lempriere
Miss Jane McRobie Lempriere, of Caulfield, who died on Tuesday, served as a nurse in the South African and first world wars.
A daughter of the late Mr W.G. Lempriere, Miss Lempriere sailed with the first group of Australian nurses to leave for the South African war.
In October, 1914, she sailed as senior sister on the Benalla, and served at Mena, Cobham Hall and Harefield.
During her nursing career Sister Lempriere held appointments at the Alfred and the Children’s Hospitals.
The Herald (Melb, Vic), Thur 24 Aug 1950 (p.2):
Veteran Nurses At Funeral
Three nurses who served with her in the First World War were among the many friends at the funeral service today for Sister Jane McRobie Lempriere.
They were Mrs McHardie White, principal matron in Egypt, 1914-18; Miss Gertrude Davis, principal matron in India, and Mrs W. Churchill Fisher, who served in England and France. Their friendship with Sister Lempriere began when they worked together at the Alfred Hospital in 1900.
Sister Lempriere, who died on Tuesday, was known to thousands of Diggers in the First World War. She also served in the Boer War.