• Estelle Venner Keogh

  • Royal Red Cross (1st Class) (RRC)
Stories and comments
    • KEOGH, Estelle Venner – Staff Nurse, RRC, QAIMNSR
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 4 May 2015

    Born on the 7/7/1892 at Horsburgh Grove, Malvern, Vic – daughter of Edmund Joseph KEOGH & Helen Beatrice MOORE – who married on the 11/6/1890 at St Brigid’s, Fitzroy. The couple apparently lived apart from somewhere around 1900, but Edmund still listed Helen as his wife & NOK in WW1, and he is noted as her dearly loved husband in his death certificate – they are also buried together in the family grave at the Melbourne General Cemetery Helen was the Superintendent of “St Margaret’s” Trained Nurses’ Home in St Kilda road, Melbourne from at least 1912 to August 1924, at which time she moved with her staff to Church St, Richmond. She died 18/9/1951 Melbourne, age 81 Edmund worked for some time in WA as a boundary rider, and gave his occupation as a camel driver when he enlisted in WW1 from NSW in 1917. As Private 2933, he served with the Imperial Camel Corps & the 14th LHR in Egypt, returning home in 1919. He returned to Victoria after the war, and died 13/10/1945 in the Alfred Hospital from injuries received when he was hit by a car in St Kilda Rd, Melbourne. Siblings (3): 1. Lesbia Venner b.9/4/1891 Wangrabel, Nth Brighton – Law student / Poet / Political activist – d.1927 ADB entry: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/harford-lesbia-venner-6562 2. Esmond Venner(Bill) b.2/11/1895 Wangrabel, Malvern – WW1: Sgt 873, DCM, MM, 3rd LH FA, 9th Fld Amb & 3rd MG Bn, 13/11/1914-25/3/1919 – Dr – WW2 – d.1970 ADB entry: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/keogh-esmond-venner-bill-10724 Melb Uni Bio: http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/guides/keog/KEP0001.htm 3. Gerald Basil Venner b.12/8/1898 Wangrabel, Malvern – WW1: Gnr 35846, 11th FAB, 12/3/1917-25/3/1919 Religion: Roman Catholic Education: attended Croydon House School, Geelong (1901) / Loreto Abbey Mary’s Mount Boarding School, Ballarat (1909) Trained in nursing at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne Served at the Base Hospital, Glenroy before volunteering to join the QAIMNSR, after the British War Office called for 50 Australian nurses WW1: Embarked 18/12/1915 on the Karoola for England Serving first at the Military Hospital at Bagthorpe, she was transferred to France 25/5/1916 to the 2nd Stationary Hospital at Abbeville She then served at the following Casualty Clearing Stations: 38 CCS 20/3/1917 – 5 CCS 17/6/1917 – 61 CCS 23/7/1917 – 44 CCS 9/8/1917 Before being transferred to the 10th Stationary Hospital 21/8/1917 Followed by another stint at the 5th CCS before her final posting to the 83rd General Hospital 10/10/1917 Resigned 18/12/1917 on completion of her contract, stating she was urgently required at home She didn’t take up the offer of temporary employment with the QAIMNSR whilst awaiting her passage home Received her Royal Red Cross (1st Class) from the King at Buckinham Palace on the 23/1/1918 Returned to Australia on the Euripides, embarking 30/1/1918 – receiving free passage in return for nursing services – meeting her future husband during the voyage, who was being invalided home Married George Henry WILKINS on the 6/4/1918 in Launceston, Tas George b.25/9/1887 Tas – WW1: Lieut, MC, 15th Bn, RTA on Euripides 30/1/1918 – WW2: Spr NX25058, 2/12 Fld Coy, POW – died of illness 9/4/1945 Borneo https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1696375/ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20347886 Children: 1. Lloyd; 2. Jack; 3. Athol Cecily b.20/5/1921 Tea Tree, Tas – WW2, RAAF; 4. Estelle Dawn b.20/5/1921 Tea Tree, Tas – WW2, AIF; 5 – marr BOHNERT 1945. Fran Died suddenly on the 3/4/1966 at her residence in Potts Point, Sydney Privately interred in the Catholic Lawn Section of the Northern Suburbs Cemetery The Argus (Melb, Vic), Tue 26 Jul 1892 (p.1): Births KEOGH – On the 7th inst., at Horsburgh-brove, Malvern, the wife of E.J. Keogh – a daughter. Graphic of Australia (Melb, Vic), Fri 18 Jan 1918 (p.8): MAINLY ABOUT PEOPLE Sister Estelle Keogh, the Melbourne girl who has been awarded a Royal Red Cross for devotion to duty under heavy shell fire, is a daughter of Mrs J Keogh, of St Margaret’s, St Kilda-road. A trainee at the Alfred Hospital, she enlisted nearly three years ago, on completing her course, since which she served for two years in France under the most strenuous conditions, at one time on a barge on the Somme, and later on at advanced casualty clearing stations, being chosen for service with the British forces. All eligible members of her family are at the front. Mrs Keogh was a Miss Moore, cousin of the Marquis of Drogheda. Her elder brother was at one time the heir presumptive to the marquisate. The British Journal of Nursing, Feb 2, 1918 (p.74): NURSING AND THE WAR THE ROYAL RED CROSS On Thursday, 23 inst., the King decorated the following ladies with the Royal Red Cross:- FIRST CLASS Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve – Sister Annie Baird and Staff Nurse Estelle Keogh. The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 23 Mar 1918 (p.37): SOCIAL NOTES Sister Estelle Keogh, daughter of Mrs E.J. Keogh, of St Margaret’s, St Kilda road, returned to Melbourne on Thursday, March 21, after two and a half years’ service in France. Sister Keogh received her training at the Alfred Hospital, and was a member of the nursing staff prior to going abroad. She is a granddaughter of the late Mr Edmund Keogh, and niece of Dr Eustace Keogh, of South Yarra, and is among the nurses who received the Royal Red Cross at the hands of His Majesty at Buckingham Palace. The Argus, Sat 13 Apr 1918: MARRIAGES WILKINS – KEOGH – On the 6th April, at Launceston, Tasmania, Lieutenant George Wilkins, M.C., to Sister Estelle Keogh, R.R.C., daughter of E.J. Keogh, Imperial Camel Corps and Mrs Keogh, St Margaret’s, St Kilda road, Melbourne. Examiner (Launceston, Tas), Sat 20 Apr 1918 (p.3): BROUGHT DOWN BY CUPID ROMANCE IN MILITARY LIFE To come safely through a bombardment of shell fire and then be brought down by an arrow shot from Cupid’s bow, is the experience of Miss Estelle Venner Keogh, RRC, a Melbourne nurse, who has been on active service for two years. When she boarded a transport in England for Australia some weeks ago, to spend a short furlough with relatives, her heart was fancy free. Last week, remarks the Melbourne “Herald”, she left for Tasmania to marry Lieutenant George Wilkins, M.C., of Devonport, whose acquaintance she made on the homeward journey. Lieutenant Wilkins still suffering from the effects of a severe gas attack and wounds, has not yet been discharged from hospital. Miss Keogh was decorated with the Royal Red Cross (first class) by the King at Buckingham Palace at the New Year honours investiture. Later she, with other nurses upon whom honours had been conferred, attended Marlborough House, at the request of Queen Alexandra, who personally congratulated them. When 50 Australian nurses were called for the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Reserve service, Miss Keogh volunteered. At that time she was on duty at the Base Hospital, Glenroy, but through being under the age limit the authorities here could not send her on active service. Rather than lose time she resolved to enlist in the Imperial service. For some time she was attached to a military hospital at Abbeville, France, and later was entrusted with the responsibility of tending wounded soldiers, who were picked up at various casualty stations and brought in barges down the Somme to a base hospital. She explained that the worst cases were conveyed in this way, because the barges offered such an easy and comfortable mode of transit. The barges were fitted up like hospital ships, with top coverings that could be left open when weather permitted. There was accommodation for 30 [?] patients, and surgical appointments for dealing with emergency operations. Miss Keogh was engaged in this work for many weeks. Then the winter set in, the river rose so that the barges were not able to pass under the bridge, and other means of conveyance had to be found. Later this Australian girl had the good fortune to form one of a surgical team with Major Gordon Taylor, a Harley street specialist in command. These teams, comprising a doctor, anaesthetist, sister, and orderly, visited various casualty stations on relief service after the engagements had taken place, remaining on duty for 16 hours at a stretch until the pressure of the work was over. When Miss Keogh was asked how she won her distinction she blushed like a schoolgirl and murmured something about doing nothing at all. However, a few tactful questions and quiet humouring revealed the fact that she had displayed remarkable courage under a dangerous bombardment. She was on duty at a clearing station between Ypres and Poperinghe when the enemy, who had been bombarding the place for some time, began to pour in shells at the rate of six to the hour. The first shell arrived at 10am, killing a young Canadian nurse whose quarters were only a short distance from the tent in which Miss Keogh was stationed. Another of her colleagues lost her eye through being hit with a shell splinter. Eventually the order was given to evacuate and Miss Keogh helped to make the patients moving as comfortable as possible, staying in the danger zone until the last wounded man was safely away. After passing through this ordeal nurses and patients were accommodated at St Omer Convent. In the peace of this tranquil retreat the reaction set in, and the nurse who faced shell fire without flinching found that ordinary noises such as the banging of a door, would set all her nerves tingling. After three months furlough she resigned from the Imperial service, intending to join an Australian nursing unit, after a brief rest in Australia. Lieutenant Wilkins persuaded her to alter the plan. Miss Keogh is a daughter of Mrs H.B. Keogh, “St Margaret’s” Trained Nurses’ Home, St Kilda road. She trained at the Alfred Hospital. Lieutenant George Henry Wilkins, M.C., of the 15th (Queensland and Tasmanian) Battalion, saw service in the ranks in Gallipoli, and gained his commission in France, being promoted from company sergeant-major to second lieutenant on April [?] 1917. He was subsequently promoted a Lieutenant, and returned to Australia on the 21st of last month. He is 31 years of age. [Weekly times has same article, with photo] The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 7 Feb 1945 (p.5): ENGLISH ACCENT CALLED “TREASON” Gordon Thomas Rice, carrier, of Collins Street, Annandale, said at the Australia First Inquiry yesterday that he had described a speech made by Lord Gowrie, when he was Governor-General, as “treason” only because of Lord Gowrie’s accent. Rice was formerly interned with other members of the Australia First Movement. ……………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………….. Mrs Estelle Denner [sic] Wilkins, Macleay Street, Potts Point, whose husband is a prisoner of war, whose children are in the Services, and who served as a nurse in the last war, said she was a close friend of Clarence Crowley, a former internee. She had never heard Crowley say anything disloyal, and did not regard him as disloyal. Sydney Morning Herald, Apr 7, 1966 (p.22): DEATHS WILKINS, Estelle Venner R.R.C. (Sister 1st A.I.F.) – April 3, 1966 (suddenly), at her residence 8 / 16 Macleay Street, Potts Point, beloved wife of the late George Henry Wilkins, loved mother of Lloyd, Jack, Cecelie, Dawn and Fran. Privately interred, Catholic Lawn Section, Northern Suburbs Cemetery, April 5, 1966. Requiescat in pace.