• M W Milburn

  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
Stories and comments
    • MILBURN, Mary Wilhelmina – Staff Nurse, AVH – Acting Sister, QAIMNSR – AANS, Home Service
    • Posted by FrevFord, Friday, 11 November 2016

    Born on the 23rd of April 1872 at Casterton, Vic [not 1877 as stated in her SR] – daughter of William MILBURN and Mary COXON – who married at Ballarat in 1863 before moving to the Casterton district some time later – eventually settling at “Olive Grove”, Wando Vale, Casterton (on the Retreat Estate) for about 20 years William, a retired Sheep Farmer, died 15/8/1918 Casterton, age 81 – Mary died in 1921 while on a holiday to Portland, age 75 Siblings (all reg. Casterton, except John): John b.1865 Happy Valley; William b.1868; Jane Elizabeth b.1869 – d.1876 (age 5); Emily b.1874 – d.1898 (age 24); Charles b.1875; Elizabeth Jane b.1877 – Nurse, Ocean Island 1918; Grace b.1879; Frederick b.1882; Alice b.1884; Walter / Walton Coxon b.1886; [also George] *Educated at the Casterton Ladies College *Trained in nursing at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney for 4 years from January 1900 to October 1904, after which time she left. Registered Nurses Society, 431 Oxford St, London September 1907 to November 1908 Matron for 3 years on Ocean Island, Central Pacific from 1910 to 1913 Visited Singapore from May to October 1914 with a nursing friend from the RPAH, Sydney, for the purpose of opening a private hospital there – however, as this wasn’t to be, she was employed for some time by the Malacca Medical Mission WW1: “At the outbreak of war I was on a visit to the Malay States, having proceeded there in the month of May 1914. The newspapers contained announcements in regard to the urgent demand for nurses. I interviewed Lt-Col Ferguson, R.A.M.C. of Singapore, and as a result, wrote to the Matron-in-Chief, Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Service (Miss Becher), in September 1914, offering my services as a trained nurse giving Mrs Bedford Fenwick and Professor Arthur Keith as references, and intimating that I would call upon Miss Becher immediately upon my arrival in London, which latter event took place in November 1914. The interview with the Matron-in-Chief resulted in that lady taking up my references and subsequently telling me that my services would be accepted. As, however, Miss Becher stated that my immediate appointment would involve home service for a time I accepted the offer made to me by Dr Norris of the Australian Commonwealth Office, London, who appointed me to the Australian Voluntary Hospital, France, for 6 months.” [1918 Letter, p.62 SR] AVH 19/12/1914 – 30/6/1915 Embarking at Singapore on the Mooltan, Mary had arrived in London on the 14/11/1914. She joined the Australian Voluntary Hospital at Wimereux, France as a Staff Nurse on the 19/12/1914, and served for 6 months until the 30/6/1915, at which time she reapplied to join the QAIMNSR. QAIMNSR 1/8/1915 – 24/5/1917 Informed of her acceptance on the 10/7/1915, she joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve on the 1/8/1915 and was posted to the 2nd General Hospital, Havre 3/8/1915 – the Matron stating she was “a good nurse, thorough and reliable.” “….quick & energetic & has a knowledge of her work.” Transferred to the Hospital Ship “Western Australia” 15/4/1916 UK Leave 2/5 – 20/5/1916 Admitted sick to Netley Hospital, England 8/7/1916 Rejoined the HS “Western Australia” 22/7/1916 – then transferred to the “Gourkha” 31/7/1916 – rejoining the “Western Australia” 11/8/1916 Posted to the 7th Stationary Hospital 25/8/1916 Due to her father’s illness, in July 1916 she requested duty on a hospital ship to Australia in order to visit him, but as no posting was available, she later requested 5 months leave without pay, which was granted. But before anything came into effect, she was admitted sick to the 14th General Hospital, France from the 9/12/1916 to the 13/12/1916, and then transferred to St Mary’ Hostel, England. Unable to afford her passage home, which she would have to pay herself whilst still serving, she resigned on the 3/1/1917 – however, as she was only entitled to free passage as far as Singapore by the British authorities, she then applied to the Commonwealth authorities. Meanwhile, the worry and strain of negotiations affected her health once more and she was admitted to the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Vincent Square on the 30/1/1917, suffering from lymphangitis – transferred to Millbank 6/2/1917 – and discharged to the Australian Convalescent Home, St Albans 19/3/1917 Fortunately the Australian authorities granted her free passage in return for services on a transport returning to Australia, and she finally embarked on the A32 Themistocles on the 5/4/1917. However, due to a fire on board, sailing was delayed, and they had to wait for the next convoy – the ship eventually arriving home on the 5/7/1917 AANS – Home Service No.5 Australian General Hospital, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne (31/1/1918) Staff Nurse, Garrison Hospital, 2nd MD – 22/5/1918 until resigned from AANS 15/6/18 (transferred from 3rd MD) Having previously spent time tending to her ill father since her return from the war, she was called home from Sydney for the final time, and nursed him for the two weeks before his death on the 15/8/1918 Later when writing to the War Office to apply for her gratuity, she stated she was not in the best of health herself following her illness during war service Electoral Roll: Beecroft, Parramatta – 1930, 1933, 1936, 1937 Died on the 28th January 1947 at Beecroft, NSW (reg. Hornsby) Cremated Northern Suburbs Crematorium British Nursing Journal, Vol 54, 9th Jan 1915 (p26) Among recent additions to the nursing staff of the Australian Voluntary Hospital near Boulogne, are Nurses Blackmore, Vauglian Jenkins and Mackenzie, of New South Wales ; and Nurse M. W. Milburn, of Victoria. The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic), Thur 25 Mar 1915 (p.2): Attached to the Australian Volunteer Hospital organized by Lady Dudley which is now at the front in France is Nurse Milburn, daughter of Mr W. Milburn, Wando Vale. Nurse Milburn was at Shanghai when she volunteered for service, and on her voyage to Europe passed two vessels that were afterwards sunk by the Emden, before that piratical cruiser met her fate at the hands of the Sydney’s crew. The Lady Dudley Australian Hospital has been commended by experts as the best equipped of all the allies’ military hospitals and was so described by the Military Inspector as the best he had seen in France. The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic), Mon 6 Aug 1917 (p.2): Nurse Milburn, daughter of Mr W Milburn, Jackson street (formerly at Wando Vale) after being on military service in France for 2½ years, reached home on Friday week, and is at present on a visit to her relatives before returning to duty. The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic), Thur 9 Aug 1917 (p.3): Military Service Abroad Nurse Milburn, daughter of Mr Wm Milburn, Jackson Street, Casterton (formerly of Wando Vale), who is just now on a visit to her relatives here, was for two and a half years in the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service, on duty variously in military hospitals at Harve [sic], Rouen, Boulogne, and elsewhere in France, six months on a Hospital Ship, and for a term at the Netley Military Hospital in England, having started her military nursing service in France in December 1914. When war broke out, Nurse Milburn was in the Malay States near Malacca, and paying her own expenses hurried to London, and, volunteering for military work, joined the Queen Alexandra Service. After a short rest, she intends volunteering for work in the Australian Military Nursing Service. She returned to Australia to recuperate from effects of her long service by the troopship Themistocles, which had an eventful voyage that was protracted to duration of 13 weeks. The Sydney Morning Herald, Thur 30 Jan 1947: DEATHS MILBURN, Mary Wilhelmina – January 28, 1947 (suddenly), at her residence, Beecroft Road, Beecroft. FUNERALS MILBURN – The Funeral of the late Mary Wilhelmina Milburn, of Beecroft, will leave Ernest Andrews’ Chapels, corner Pacific Highway and Thomas Street, Chatswood, this Day, after service commencing at 3.30 pm, for the Northern Suburbs Crematorium. Notes: Miss Milburn, nurse, (giving her age as 35) travelled from the Malay States on the Mooltan, arriving London 14/11/1914 The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic), Thur 15 Aug 1918 (p.2): Passed Away – Mr William Milburn The death occurred at 9.30 o’clock this morning of Mr William Milburn, of Jackson Street, Casterton. The deceased up till recent years resided at Retreat, and was well-known and highly respected throughout the district. He leaves a widow and a family of 6 sons and 4 daughters, one of the latter being Nurse Milburn, at present abroad on war service. His remains will be interred to-morrow afternoon in the Sandford Cemetery, the funeral leaving his late residence at 2 o’clock. Casterton Free Press…etc, Thur 15 Aug 1918 (p.3): An old and respected resident of this district, Mr Wm Milburn, died at his residence, ……… Nurse Milburn, who attended to him some months ago and subsequently went to Sydney, was called home about a fortnight ago and the patient had the advantage of her loving and skilled care during the period. The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic), Thur 22 Aug 1918 (p.3): Obituary http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/74221839 [lots of family detail] The Ballarat Courier (Vic), Sat 17 Aug 1918 (p.9): OBITUARY Our Casterton correspondent writes:- The death occurred on Thursday of Mr Wm Milburn, aged 81 years, a well known farmer, who resided at Carapook in the early sixties. Two of his sons became prosperous Queensland settlers. Two daughters are nurses. Portland Guardian (Vic), Mon 4 Apr 1921 (p.3): MRS MARY MILBURN The death occurred at Portland early on Monday morning of Mary, relict of the late Mr William Milburn, who died at Casterton in August 1918. Mrs Milburn had been residing in Casterton, but left for Portland on a holiday, intending to remain there for a few weeks, but she developed pneumonia, and was removed to Dr Sleeman’s private hospital. The illness became more severe, culminating in her death at the advanced age of 75 years.