• Mary Ellen Arthur

  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
Stories and comments
    • ARTHUR, Mary Ellen Aloysius (aka Mollie / Molly) – Acting Sister, QAIMNSR
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 29 January 2018

    Mollie was born on the 11th of July 1882 as Maria Helena Aloysius, and baptized at St Michael’s, Wagga Wagga, NSW, on the 19th of that month. [see Notes for details] She was the youngest daughter of John (Joannes) Michael Murray ARTHUR and Mary Ellen (Maria Helena) WALSH, who married in Wagga in 1873. Born in Scotland in 1828, John emigrated to Australia in 1853 – an Accountant and Alderman, he died at his home Newtown in Wagga, NSW on the 10/5/1906, following a long illness Whilst visiting her daughter Jean in Melbourne, Mary died suddenly on the 13/12/1909 at Hegarty’s Baths, St Kilda, Vic, aged 65 (interred Wagga) Siblings (4): Jean Catherine b.4/11/1874 – marr Marmaduke UNDERWOOD 1900 – (Clovelly, Lords Place, Orange, NSW) – d.1948; William James b.1/7/1876 Wagga – d.1953 Bulli; John Murray b.6/4/1878 Wagga – (Government Experimental Farm, Yanco, NSW) – d.1942; James M. Smith b.10/4/1880 Wagga (aka Jacobus Michael Smith Albert) – d.27/8/1921 Parkes, age 41 Educated at the Mt Erin Sacred Heart Convent School, Wagga Trained in nursing at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney – passing the entrance examination of the Australian Trained Nurses’ Association in June 1913 WW1: Home Service at the Military Hospital, Liverpool from 8/5/1915 to 16/12/1915 Embarked 18/12/1915 on the Karoola with other nurses specially selected by the Defence Department to join the QAIMNSR – disembarking Suez, they travelled on a hospital train to Cairo, and after a week were transported to Naples on the NZ HS Nevassa to join the HS Britannic which transported them to the UK, on duty – arriving UK 10/2/1916 or 18/2/1916, they were posted to 1st Birmingham War Hospital [see Notes] Joined No. 11 General Hospital, France 2/4/1916, and during her time there had temporary charge of a surgical ward – transferred 29/1/1917 Joined No.5 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) 1/2/1917, in charge of the acute surgical ward, also the officer’s ward Joined No.61 CCS 6/8/1918 as a Pupil Anaesthetist Report from 61 CCS, 17/9/1918 (p.19): “The work of the above named Sister as Anaesthetist has given every satisfaction. Her health and conduct are very good and she can be confidently recommended as a competent Anaesthetist. No. of cases for which anaesthetics have been administered by her at this C.C.S. 100.” 7th General Hospital 13/10/1918 Confidential report by Matron E. Cox, 7th General, 9/1/1919 (p.15): “Staff nurse Arthur has been doing the duties of an Anaesthetist while with this unit (since 13/10/18) She has also helped in the theatre ward. Her work has given every satisfaction. She is bright, & energetic, & has always been very anxious to help whenever wanted. She seems most suitable for promotion to the rank of sister.” Demobilized from France 15/5/19, and posted to King George Hospital, Stamford St – whilst awaiting repatriation – transferred to Birmingham Orthopaedic Hospital 30/5/19 Sailed for Australia on the SS Freidrichsruhe 9/7/1919 – and service terminated 14/8/1919 Residing with her sister Jean (Mrs M Underwood) at Clovelly, Lords Place, Orange, NSW in July 1920 Matron of Narrabri District Hospital Nov 1919 – Dec 1921 Women’s Hospital, Crown St, Sydney Dec 1921 Matron of Orange District Hospital from Apr 1922 – 30/7/1927 Married (Widower) Nesbitt Seeley HEFFERNAN on the 10th of August 1927 at the R.C. Presbytery, Orange, NSW [Born 18/12/1886 Savu Savu, Fiji Islands – son of Edward O’Brien and Blanche Collie – he was the former Magistrate, Sub-collector of Customs and Postmaster of Faisi Island; and later Deputy-Commissioner of Ysabel and Santa Cruze, Solomon Island group – came to Aus in 1926 – (1933, Retired Civil Servant) – Home Service WW2, 1942 – 1944 – died 10/8/1961 Ryde – service held at Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium (Northern Suburbs Cem) 11/8/1961 – buried in the RC Sect, Row 8, Plot 0020] In 1930 Mollie applied for assistance under the War Service Homes Act 1933 Electoral Roll: 45 Malvern Ave, Roseville, NSW – still at Roseville during WW2 1958 ER: 28 Bareema Rd, North Avalon, NSW (this is the last ER for both) It appears that Mollie died on the 5th of January 1961 at Randwick, Sydney, aged 80, and is buried in the same grave as Nesbitt at the Macquarie Park Cemetery (Northern Suburbs Cem) – see NOTES for details Cootamundra Herald (NSW), Tue 21 Dec 1915 (p.2): Notes and News Nurse Mollie Arthur, formerly of Wagga, who for some months past has been on duty at the Military Hospital at Liverpool, left last night by the express for Melbourne, in company with several other nurses who have volunteered for the front. Nurse Arthur, who was trained at St Vincent’s Hospital, was given a cordial send-off at the railway station by several of her colleagues and officials from St Vincent’s, as well as a large number of relatives and friends. Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), Sun 16 Jul 1916 (p.25): HOME and SOCIETY Sisters Nora Gilchrist, Mollie Arthur, Gladys Webster, Dene Douglass, Eva Thornton, Rose Sweeney, and S.M. Furnifull, all from the military hospitals in Sydney, are now at the 11th General Hospital, B.E.F., France. Leader (Orange, NSW), Fri 25 May 1917 (p.5): FROM THE FRONT Writing to her sister, Mrs M Underwood, Nurse Mollie Arthur, who is stationed at No.5 Casualty Hospital in France, says they are within a mile of the trenches, and the incessant booming of the guns debars any thought of rest. Some harrowing sights are witnessed among the wounded. Nurse Arthur has now been nearly two years on service abroad. Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW), Fri 1 Jun 1917 (p.3): SOCIAL GOSSIP Ever since the war has been in progress the French surgeons have been loud in their praise of the Australian nurses, so the news that Nurse Mary Arthur (formerly of Wagga), who has been attached to one of the base hospitals in France, has been awarded a Distinguished Order Medal has not come as a surprise to her friends. Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW), Fri 10 May 1918 (p.3): FUNERAL MR PATRICK JOSEPH WALSH …………………………………………………………………………………….. Two nieces, Nurse Mollie Walsh and Nurse Mollie Arthur, joined up early in the war and have seen considerable service, the latter having won a French decoration. …………………………. Forbes Times (NSW). Fri 25 Jul 1919 (p.5): Parkes Pars Nurse Molly Arthur, sister of Mr J.S. Arthur, who has been away with the fighting forces in France and Egypt for four years, is on her way home and will arrive next month. Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW), Fri 29 Aug 1919 (p.3): SOCIAL GOSSIP Mr and Mrs Tynan of Brisbane, are in Sydney staying at Usher’s Hotel. The object of their visit is to welcome home Nurse Mollie Arthur, who is a passenger by the same boat which brings Australia’s Prime Minister. Nurse Arthur holds quite a numbe of distinctions, and has been attached to the base hospitals in France for four years. Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW), Thur 20 Nov 1919 (p.2): PERSONAL Sister Mollie Arthur, who has recently returned from the front after nearly four years’ service with the British Red Cross, has been appointed matron of the Narrabri District Hospital and takes up duties there this week. Sister Arthur is a native of Wagga, and a trainee of St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. She is a cousin of Mrs Eyles, Miss Walsh, Mr W.M.J. Walsh and Mr S. Walsh, of Wagga. The North Western Courier (Narrabri, NSW), Thur 8 Dec 1921 (p.2): HOSPITAL MATRON Matron Arthur is shortly to sever her connection with the Narrabri Hospital after 2 years’ service. General regret is expressed at this as she is very popular. She volunteered for service during the war and spent a couple of years abroad in military hospitals. Invitations have been issued for a “good-bye” function to be held at the hospital on Sunday afternoon next. The North Western Courier (Narrabri, NSW), Mon 12 Dec 1921 (p.2): Farewell Gathering PRESENTATION TO MATRON ARTHUR At the invitation of Mr and Mrs H.R. Thurlow about fifty local people gathered at the Hospital yesterday afternoon to say farewell to Matron Arthur, who is transferring to the Women’s Hospital, Crown Street, Sydney. ………………………………………….. The chairman then handed the matron a gold wristlet watch from the “Medical Officers, members of the Committee, and a few personal friends.” ………………………………….. The chairman said that he had been asked by the staff to recognise, by a presentation, their feeling towards the departing matron, and a testimony to the good feeling that existed during her regime. It said much to her credit when the staff came forward and offered their token of sincere regard for the cordial relationship that had existed between them. He then handed the matron a silver vase. The matron leaves for Sydney by this afternoon’s train. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/138336335 The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate (NSW), Tue 18 Apr 1922 (p.3): Personal Nurse Molly Arthur has been appointed Matron of the Orange District Hospital as successor to the late Matron Dooly. Nurse Arthur was an applicant for the position of Matron for the Dubbo Hospital when Matron Stuart resigned. Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW), Fri 21 Jul 1922 (p.4): SOCIAL GOSSIP Word has been received in Sydney of the appointment of Nurse Mollie Arthur as matron of the Bathurst Hospital [sic]. Nurse Arthur, who has many friends in Wagga has been most successful in her profession, gaining special honors for her own work. The Muswellbrook Chronicle (NSW), Tue 8 Jun 1926 (p.2): Too Much Money Setting out to raise £300 to clear off liabilities on the Orange Soldiers’ Memorial Hall, and a similar sum for the erection of a T.B. chalet, the Empire Day Queen competition closed with about £1450 in hand. Matron Arthur, of the Orange Hospital, won the competition with 7000 votes to spare from Miss Kerr, they being the soldiers’ and country women’s candidates respectively. What will confront the committee next is the difficulty of allocating the surplus of over £800. Such a fine result was not looked for. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Thur 17 Jun 1926 (p.10): VISIT FROM GOVERNOR-GENERAL ORANGE, Wednesday Lord and Lady Stonehaven will arrive in Orange on Wednesday evening, June 23, and remain over Thursday. That night they will attend the coronation concert and crowning of Matron Arthur, who was recently chosen as the Memorial Queen. ………………………………….. Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW), Thur 9 Sept 1926 (p.19): MT ERIN EX-STUDENTS Reunion at Wagga The ex-students of the Mt Erin Sacred Heart Convent, Wagga, held their second annual reunion at the old school on Thursday of last week. ……………………………….. She had received apologies for non-attendance from ………, Matron Mollie Arthur (Orange), ……. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Sat 6 Nov 1926 (p.14): PERSONAL Mr N.S. Heffernan, Deputy Commissioner for the Western Pacific, arrived in Sydney by the Mataram from the Solomon Islands yesterday. The Sun (Sydney, NSW), Fri 11 Feb 1927 (p.5): ORANGE HOSPITAL SALARIES ORANGE, Friday The salary of the matron, Nurse Arthur, was last night increased to £225 a year, …………. The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser (NSW), Mon 20 Jun 1927 (p.2): LOCAL AND GENERAL At a specially convened meeting of the Orange District Hospital, a letter was read from Matron Arthur (who is soon to be married) asking to be relieved of her duty on 30th July. “I have had a very happy time at the hospital,” she wrote, “and I am severing my connection with the institution with the very deepest regret. I will always remember my association with the hospital and Orange.” Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), Sun 3 Jul 1927 (p.20): ENGAGEMENTS Congratulations are pouring in from the many friends of Miss Mary (Mollie) Arthur, younger daughter of the late Mr and Mrs J. Murray Arthur, of Wagga, NSW, and Mr Nesbitt F. Heffernan, former Deputy-Commissioner of Ysabel and Santa Cruze, Solomon Island group, and at present residing in Sydney, who have recently announced their engagement. [From the Daily Advertiser: “The wedding will take place on August 10.” (reg. Orange, NSW)] The Carcoar Chronicle (NSW), Fri 12 Aug 1927 (p.4): HEFFERNAN-ARTHUR A wedding was quietly celebrated at the R.C. Presbytery in Orange on Wednesday night last, when Miss Mollie Arthur, who has acted as Matron of the Orange District Hospital for the past five years, was united in matrimony to Mr Nesbitt Heffernan, of Sydney. Rev Father O’Brien, of Condobolin, was the celebrant. The bride was attired in a becoming Doucet costume of beige-colored morocain, with hat of biscuit lace straw, suitably trimmed, and was attended by her niece, Miss Sylvia Underwood, as bridesmaid, who wore a dress of Madonna morocain, with hat ensuite. Dr Livingstone, of Sydney, filled the role of best man. The honeymoon will be spent in the mountains, whilst the future home of the couple will be in Sydney. The Sun (Sydney, NSW). Sun 29 Jul 1928 (p.30): QUAINT EFFECTS Nurses “Old Girls” Union Old acquaintances were renewed among sisters and nurses of St Vincent’s Hospital yesterday, when a meeting was held to discuss plans for the Eucharistic Congress and for the formation of an Old Girls Union. Mrs Heffernan (Nurse Molly Arthur) presided, and it was decided that on the Sunday during the congress trained nurses from the hospital will assist the ambulance during the procession, and on other days of the week they are to help the Catholic Women’s Association at the canteen. The Mother Rectress received 43 former nurses, who decided to meet again to form their union, at 3 o’clock on August 26, at the hospital. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Fri 3 Jan 1936 (p.4): SOCIAL & PERSONAL Mr and Mrs Nesbitt Heffernan, of Roseville, are spending a holiday near Yass, where they are enjoying trout-fishing in the Goodradigbee River. They have chosen this district to be near Mrs Heffernan’s sister, Mrs Jean Underwood, who recently has made her home in Yass after having lived in Orange for some time. The Catholic Press (Sydney, NSW), Thur 24 Nov 1938 (p.8): Social News and Gossip Election of Officers The tenth annual meeting of the St Vincent’s Hospital Ex-trainees Association was held in the reception room of the hospital on Saturday, 12 inst. ……………………………… The election of officers for the ensuing year took place at the meeting, and Mrs Nesbitt S. Heffernan was elected president; ……………………………………… The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Thur 11 May 1939 (p.21): SOCIAL AND PERSONAL Holidays Mr and Mrs Nesbitt Heffernan are extending their holiday at Narooma until the first week in June. Having let their home at Roseville for twelve months, they intend to take a flat at Collaroy on their return. Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW), Fri 29 Sept 1939 (p.6): Social Gossip The organisation for war time is becoming so proficient that nothing which comes under the head of national emergency service is being overlooked. On Monday evening over 50 ex-trainees of St Vincent’s Hospital met at the Catholic Women’s Club to form a nursing unit in case a war shortage of trained nurses should occur in the hospital. This body of women will be styled St Vincent’s Nurses Ex-Trainees’ Reserve, from which unit nurses can be drawn in the event of the war depleting the staff. ………………………………………………………………………… When it came to a choice of office bearers, the choice of president of the unit fell unanimously on Mrs Nesbit Heffernan, who also claims Wagga as her home town (She was Miss Mary Arthur). ………… The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Thur 19 Oct 1939 (p.19): SOCIAL AND PERSONAL After spending an eight months’ fishing holiday at Collaroy and Narooma, Mr and Mrs Nesbitt Heffernan have returned to their home, 45 Malvern Avenue, Roseville. The Catholic Press (Sydney, NSW), Thur 25 Jul 1940 (p.13): Social News and Gossip St Vincent’s Hospital Nurses A special meeting of St Vincent’s Hospital ex-trainees foregathered at the hospital on Saturday afternoon to arrange for A.R.P. and First Aid work. MRs Toby Browne (president) was in the chair, and also present were ……………………….; Mesdames Nesbitt Heffernan, ……………………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/106425039/11842947 http://www.centenaryww1orange.com.au/service-men-and-women/mary-ellen-aloysius-mollie-arthur/ Dr Gordon Taylor, senior assistant surgeon at Middlesex Hospital in London had worked with Arthur in the resuscitation ward in the officers’ block of a casualty clearing station in France. In her reference for the position at Orange he claimed Arthur was a nurse of exceptional ability and a most competent anaesthetist. “She is undoubtedly the cleverest sister with whom it was my lot to work in France,” he wrote. “I wish her every success and should consider any hospital most fortunate to have her as the head of its nursing affairs.” Notes: Below baptism for Maria found by Dr Kirsty Harris in 2021 – a similar baptism for her brother James was then found: Maria Helena Aloysius Arthur Birth 11 Jul 1882 Birth Date 11 Jul 1882 Baptism 19 Jul 1882 St. Michael's, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia Baptism Date 19 Jul Baptism Date 1882 Residence 1882 Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia Residence Date 1882 Father: Joannes Arthur Mother: Maria Helena Walsh Name: Jacobus Michael Smith Albert Arthur Gender: Male Baptism Age: 0 Birth Date: 10 Apr 1880 Baptism Date: 16 May 1880 Baptism Place: St. Michael's, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia Residence Date: 1880 Residence Place: Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia Father: Joannes Arthur Mother: Maria Helena Walsh James’ Obit 1921: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/113521248 Nesbitt Seeley HEFFERNAN died 10/8/1961 Ryde – service held at Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium (Northern Suburbs Cem) 11/8/1961 – buried in the RC Sect, Row 8, Grave 0020 Also in same grave: Mary Ann HEFFERNAN, died 5/1/1961, buried 9/1/1961 (RC Sect, Row 8, Grave 0020) – [Who is this Mary, if not his wife?] https://northerncemeteries.com.au/macquarie-park/deceased-search/ Mary Ann HEFFERNAN died 5/1/1961 Randwick, Sydney, aged 80 (reg.9138/1961 – no parents listed) [Incorrect middle name / b.c1880] [No death notices for Mary or Nesbitt in SMH – just funeral notices] SMH Mon 9 Jan 1961 (p.20): DEATHS HEFFERNAN – The Relatives and Friends of the late Mrs MARY ANN HEFFERNAN, of Binnaway, are invited to attend her Funeral; to leave our Chapel, 167 Victoria Road, Gladesville, at 9.45 a.m., This Day (Monday), for the Catholic Cemetery, Northern Suburbs. SMH Fri 11 Aug 1961 (p.20): DEATHS HEFFERNAN – The Relatives and Friends of the late Mr NESBITT SEELY HEFFERNAN, are invited to attend his Funeral; to leave our Chapel, 167 Victoria Road, Gladesville, This Day, Friday, after service commencing at 9.45 a.m. for the Northern Suburbs Cemetery. Other possibilities: *Mary HEFFERNAN died 1/9/1961 Sydney – daughter of Thomas and Mary Ellen (reg.18643/1961) [Correct mother’s name – not buried with Nesbitt] *Mary HEFFERNAN died 29/11/1958 Bega – par: John and Mary (reg.33363/1958) [Correct parent’s names – no death or burial details found – not buried with Nesbitt] [a Mary and Mary Elvia HEFFERNAN lived at Parker St, Bega for many years up until at least 1954] Sarah Furnifull: “Early in 1915 I was asked if I would be prepared, along with 19 other nurses, to fill vacancies in Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service as an Australian unit. I was happy to be a part of this unit and we set sail in the hospital ship Karoola.” Embarked 18/12/1915 on the Karoola, to join the QAIMNSR “After a very seasick trip we disembarked at Suez and were taken on to Cairo in a very dirty hospital train carrying typhoid cases. After a week there we joined a New Zealand hospital ship, Nevassa, which took us to Naples to join the Britannic.” “We were put on duty and ordered always to have life belts handy, as the Germans had vowed they would sink the Britannic. It was a very frightening trip. We landed safely at Liverpool and were ordered to report to a military hospital at Rubery, near Birmingham.” Arrived Southampton 18/2/1916