• Mary Forster

Stories and comments
    • FOSTER, Mary – Staff Nurse / Masseuse, Sth African Military Nursing Service
    • Posted by FrevFord, Wednesday, 13 June 2018

    Born on the 7th of April 1866 at Freeling, Sth Australia – the daughter of William FOSTER and Eliza Ann HAINES, who married in Kapunda, SA in 1864 William died on the 20/4/1882 at their home Hyde Park Farm, Freeling, SA, aged 48 years Eliza later lived at "Clonlea" Halifax St, Adelaide, and died in a private hospital on the 4/1/1946, aged 99 years and nine months old Siblings: John Ernest Albert b.29/8/1868; Emilia b.14/2/1871 – marr DOBLE 1892; William Richard b.25/7/1873; Kate b.7/5/1876 – marr BUXTON; George Thomas b.20/1/1880 Trained in nursing at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital, qualifying for a first class certificate in December 1895 Appointed District Nurse for Gawler in January 1896, beginning her duties in March, before later joining headquarters as Hon Secretary and Superintendent of the Gawler District Trained Nursing Society, resigning as Superintendent in early 1909 In March 1909 she received the appointment of honorary assistant Masseuse at the Adelaide Hospital She apparently applied to join the AANS at the outbreak of war, but her services weren’t required (perhaps due to her age) In December 1915 she passed the examinations for sanitary inspector held by the Royal Sanitary Institute of London, and was fully qualified as a municipal inspector By July 1917 she had been acting trained nurse for the Adelaide Local Board of Health for three years WW1: Mary embarked in July 1917 on the Osterley for South Africa She served as a Staff Nurse / Masseuse with the Sth African Military Nursing Service at No.3 General Hospital, Durban, from 14/2/1918 to 15/11/1919 On the 31st of January 1920 in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Durban, South Africa, Mary married John Watson NORMAN [Born in Sydney in 1875, JWN was a Pharmacist, and had served in the Boer War: Imperial Light Infantry and WW1: 1st Sth African Horse] Mary returned on a visit to Australia in 1920 on the Bahia Castillo, embarking 21/5/1920 She then returned to Sth Africa in September 1920, where her husband managed the Pharmacy in the township for the Premier Diamond Mine, near Pretoria – and Mary acted as vice-chairwoman with the local branch of the Women’s South African Party The couple left the Premier Mine Town in August 1923, and settled in Durban Having visited Australia in 1924, the couple returned to Sth Africa on the Ballarat 11/12/1924 Living back in South Australia John opened up his own Pharmacy in Main St, Gladstone, in February 1927, which he built up into a thriving business before the couple left Gladstone in May 1939 Having suffered with ill health for some time, John died in Adelaide on the 18/9/1940, aged 65 Mary also died in Adelaide, on the 24th of October 1949, aged 83, and was buried in the West Terrace Cemetery Adelaide Observer (SA), Sat 18 Jan 1896 (p.1): COUNTRY NEWS GAWLER, January 10 Nurse Foster, late of the Children’s Hospital, has been appointed District Trained Nurse for Gawler. She will enter upon her new duties some time next month. Bunyip (Gawler, SA), Fri 12 Mar 1897 (p.2): Gawler District Trained Nursing Society FIRST ANNUAL MEETING ………………………………………………………………………. Gawler had appreciated most thoroughly the efforts of the nurse and it was now wished that she had been here years ago. Nurse Foster had won golden opinions on all hands. (Applause) She was spoken of by everyone as being most willing, energetic, and capable. (Applause) …………………………. She accordingly began her duties in March, 1896. During the twelve months she has attended 193 patients, paying no less than 2,074 visits. She has given the utmost satisfaction by the manner in which she has done her duty, many patients having openly expressed their gratitude. ………………. Since the district includes Willaston and Gawler South, as well as Gawler proper, it seemed desirable to purchase a bicycle to assist the nurse in carrying out her duties. Subscriptions were asked for and a very generous response was made. Nurse Foster says that she has been much helped by the bicycle, which was procured for her at a cost of £20 13s 6d. …………………………………….. Mr Dawes also spoke of the benefit of the movement. The District Nurse was no mean person in the community, and was potent for a great deal of good. He had heard it whispered that Nurse Foster might be tempted to seek fresh fields and pastures new, and Dr Campbell had informed him that they had plenty more nurses equally capable. He doubted, however, whether they could surpass Nurse Foster. (Applause) ………………………….. Bunyip (Gawler, SA), Fri 5 Feb 1909 (p.2): D.T.N.S. – A meeting of the committee of the Gawler D.T.N.S was held at the Town Hall on Monday afternoon. ………………………….. The Chairman (Mr Thomson) referred to the resignation of Nurse Foster as Superintendent of Nurses. Nurse Foster (who was present) was the first district nurse in Gawler, and her friends here wished her every success. ……………………….. The Register (Adelaide, SA), Thur 25 Mar 1909 (p.5): CONCERNING PEOPLE Among the Adelaide Hospital appointments approved by Executive Council on Wednesday were the following: – ……………….; Mary Foster, to be honorary assistant masseuse; ……………………. The Register (Adelaide, SA), Tue 14 Dec 1915 (p.8): ROYAL SANITARY INSTITUTE At a meeting on Monday of the board of examiners of the Adelaide centre of the Royal Sanitary Institute, the results of a recent examination held for sanitary inspectors were announced. Five out of nine candidates obtained the requisite marks, and were recommended for the certificate of the institute. The candidates for the inspector’s certificate were required to pass a searching examination in the principles of sanitation, with special reference to the circumstances of this State, and to undergo a thorough testing in the practical work of taking samples of food and drugs, disinfecting rooms, and drawing up sanitary reports on premises. Sisters Mary Foster, …….., and Messrs…………are the successful candidates. The Register (Adelaide, SA), Wed 15 Mar 1916 (p.4): CONCERNING PEOPLE The Secretary of the Local Examining Board of the Royal Sanitary Institute has been notified by cable that the council of the institute, London, has approved of the examiners’ recommendation for the award of the certificate of the institute to the candidates who passed the examination for inspectors held in Adelaide in December. Those who were successful were Sisters Mary E. Foster, ………….. Port Adelaide News (SA), Fri 8 Jun 1917 (p.4): Sister Foster In about six weeks’ time Sister Foster expects to leave for South Africa. She’s got her passport anyway, and if the ship isn’t commandeered no doubt she will depart. Sister Foster has offered her services here for war-service abroad, but although she has been told to get her outfit and hold herself in readiness for departure two or three times, something has always cropped up to keep her back. Sister Foster, who is one of the acting trained nurses for the city, hopes that in South Africa her services may be availed of, as there is a great shortage of nurses there. As she is one of the finest masseuses in the States there is no doubt the South African Government will snap at the chance. What a bewildering lot of red tape we have here, to be sure, my dear. Critic (Adelaide, SA), Wed 25 Jul 1917 (p.22): Society Gossip Prior to her departure for South Africa last week, Sister Mary Foster, who has been acting trained nurse for the Adelaide Local Board of Health for the past three years, was presented by the officers of the board with a wristlet watch as a mark of esteem. Sister Foster, who is the daughter of Mrs E.A. Foster, of Halifax Street, Adelaide, volunteered for active service as a masseuse at the beginning of the war. She holds the highest credentials as a masseuse, and she was superintendent of the District Trained Nursing Society for ten years. Sister Foster recently obtained her diploma from the Royal Sanitary Institute of London, and is fully qualified as a municipal inspector. She trained originally in the North Adelaide Children’s Hospital. She has travelled extensively, and this is her second visit to South Africa. She expects to be absent at least a year. The local board parted with Sister Foster with extreme regret. The Journal (Adelaide, SA), Sat 27 Mar 1920 (p.12): MARRIAGES NORMAN – FOSTER – On the 31st January, at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Durban, South Africa, by special licence, by the Rev. Philps, John Watson, only son of the late William Wemyss and Margaret Norman, Tabbil Koom, Burwood, Sydney, NSW, to Sister Mary Foster, daughter of the late William Foster, of Freeling, and Mrs E.A. Foster, Clonlea, Halifax street, Adelaide, South Australia. Present address, 22 Allwal street, Durban, S.A. English papers please copy. Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA), Thur 16 Sept 1920 (p.4): PERSONAL Mrs John W. Norman (Sister M. Foster) is this week returning to South Africa, where her husband is in charge of the pharmacy of the Premier Diamond Mine some miles out of Pretoria. Formerly superintendent and secretary of the Adelaide D.T.N.S., Mrs Norman years ago foresaw the future of massage, and, qualifying in that branch of her profession, built up a large private practice here. After serving the City Council for some time as a district trained nurse inspectress, Sister Foster, as she then was, left for South Africa in order to engage in military work, her services having been previously declined here by the military, the grounds for refusal being that she had trained at the Children’s Hospital. This damning fact, however, did not prevent her from obtaining a position in the great Durban Military Hospital, of 520 beds. In a testimonial presented to her by the head military officer of that establishment stress is laid on her “credit to her training.” Early in this year she was married to Mr John W. Norman, a Sydney chemist resident now in South Africa. Mrs Norman speaks laughingly of the natives’ love for mooti (medicine), particularly of the strong and violent kind. It is her intention to visit Adelaide again in a couple of years’ time. She has been staying with her mother, Mrs E.A. Foster, of Halifax street. Critic (Adelaide, SA), Wed 22 Sept 1920 (p.6): A SOUTH AUSTRALIAN FROM SOUTH AFRICA Sister Foster Returns to Adelaide “There is a wondrous opportunity for Australians to build up trade with South Africa these days,” says Mrs John W. Norman, “if they only keep their goods up to sample.” Mrs Norman has been spending a three months’ holiday in Adelaide, and returns this week to her adopted home in South Africa by the “Borda.” The lady is much better known here as Sister Mary Foster. She trained at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital (the military held it as a grudge against her, by the way) and later joined the District Trained Nursing Society. She opened the Gawler branch of that association, afterwards becoming secretary and superintendent of the whole, and at the same time ran a district. A Close Call Headquarters were somewhere up in the West-End those days, and the daily routine was a varied on. Sister Foster recalls, smilingly, the incident of a big Afghan who ran amok, and made for her with uplifted stick. He held it over my head for an eternity – or two seconds, I suppose – and then suddenly made off, and attacked some one else, and continued on his pleasant little career of assault and battery till he was overpowered. Sister was one of the first to see the possibilities of massage, and when she left the D.T.N.S. she took up this branch of her profession, exclusively, building up a large private practice. On the outbreak of war she proferred her services to the military, only to be turned down because, forsooth, she had trained at the Children’s Hospital. Bitterly disappointed, Sister Foster did the next best thing, and took the place of Matron Davidson, who had gone overseas, as trained nurse inspectress for the Adelaide district. In 1917, however, she made up her mind to go to South Africa and engage in war work there, and military permission to leave having been graciously granted, she sailed at her own expense in July. Those Terrible Days It seems strange already to recall those dark and terrible days, when the submarine danger was such a very real menace, so that captains of merchantmen cursed every petticoat aboard for very dread of what might happen. “I sailed on the ‘lucky Osterley’,” said Sister Foster. “She was called that because she escaped the Emden twice. All the portholes were pasted up and then there were wooden shutters across. All deck lights were out, and not even a cigarette allowed at night. We had three naval gunners and a six inch gun by way of protection, and the wireless hummed to the tireless call of its message night and day, with a vengeance. Just to Remind We had several stewards and three of the Orsova’s cats aboard just to remind us of our own good luck. When I arrived at Durban I found the authorities were building a large military hospital on the sea front. It is a wonderful building, and has 10 wards, each containing 52 beds. It cost £45,000 to build and equip. Approaching the Director of Medical Service, I pleaded the cause of massage, and when the building was completed there was a little corner for massage. There were two masseurs then, of whom I was one, and later the staff was increased to five. Commandeering Accommodation Two of the finest hotels in Durban were commandeered to provide accommodation for the nurses, one being entirely filled with them, and the other having the overflow quartered there. The places were taken over, lock, stock, and barrel, from chef to chambermaid. What Damn Fool, Indeed! Speaking of the funny little things that happen even in the best regulated hospitals, Sister smiled reminiscently. “I remember once hearing a doctor, and a very eminent one, too, say testily to a man who ‘boarded, ‘Well, well, I wonder what damn fool ever passed you for the front?’ ‘You, sir,’ responded the victim, stolidly. Yes, we suffered from the dear, kind visitors of an enquiring turn of mind, too. We had a very interesting patient, a clever journalist, who was so very ill that a screen was placed round his bed. We all thought he was dying, poor chap. Even that did not protect him, however, from a case-hardened visitor. He happened to be asleep, and his sensations when he awoke to find a large bunch of white flowers on his chest are best described by himself: – ‘I jumped to the conclusion that I was dead, and had to take a good survey of the ward to convince myself that I wasn’t. I was too weak to pinch myself, and it took me about half an hour to raise my head to those beastly white flowers, which were getting on my nerves more and more each minute. When I finally got ‘em they were attached to a paper of some sort, and after another half hour I managed to make out the printed title on the wretched thing. It was – “A message of love to the dying soldier.” More appropriate than tactful, I think, eh, what!’ “It is with quite a feeling of relief that one hears he didn’t die, though one supposes the ardent tract-giver to have been disappointed.” Army Nurses Asked concerning the treatment of army nurses in South Africa, Sister Foster said that she thought much more was done for our South Australian nurses. She did not know of any public fund for them there, such as our Army Nurses’ Fund here. Those, however, who went overseas or to the East and West Africa received gratuities from the Government. “An interesting feature of hospital life as I saw it,” continued the Sister, “is that the nurses do no menial work. There is plenty of black labor available for that. The cooks, for instance, are Hindu, and the ward boys are natives. We had a great number of orderlies in proportion to those allowed here to a hospital, and their training was a splendid feature.” A Set of Tyres a Trip “This is Sister Foster’s third trip to South Africa, where she has travelled pretty extensively. “One of the grandest sights I have ever seen,” she says, “was the Victoria Falls, in the Matoppo Mountains. On our honeymoon we went up through Van Rienan’s Pass, where it always cost the motorist a set of tyres to get through, but the scenery was worth it. One thing I noticed even in the almost exclusively Dutch Orange Free State, was the enthusiastic manner in which the younger generation is taking to English games and sports – tentpegging, polo, etc. The Old Hugenot Spirit “It should be remembered,” she says, “that there is a great leaven of Hugenot blood in the Dutch. Generals Joubert and De La Rey, for notable instances. The wife of General Botha again is a direct descendant of the famous Robert Emmett. Fusion or even accord between the Dutch and English races is naturally slow, but the old sores are healing fast. In a country with 10 million black inhabitants it seems to me that the white races will make common cause as a matter of course. The Cape Province has given its black likewise its varied and variegated snuff and butter colored races the vote. The Dutch are bitterly disappointed and disgusted at this, and the English themselves, accustomed to graciousness to a colored subject race, are for the most part uneasy. There is no doubt about this vote adding to the color problem.” A Scotch Half-Crown Turning to lighter topics again Nurse, who is of good Scottish descent herself, told the story of the famous Dunn, a Scot, who took unto himself several native wives, each with a dowry sufficient to gild her dusky charms. He became a very influential and important person, having large deals with the white men, and ruling as a king in his own kraal. At one time there was some litigation over the property of one of his wives. The lady, chastily arrayed in full Zulu dress, or undress, was cross-examined. “And – er – your husband is – er – a white man, is he not?” queried the opposing counsel. The lady shook her head. “No, him a Scotchman!” she remarked, conclusively. “Oh, there’s worse than that in Natal,” laughs Sister. “A florin there is known as a Scotchman. Years ago a Scotch contractor, who was bound to pay his native laborers 2/6, gave them each a 2/ piece. The poor fellows did not know the difference till they came to spend their earnings. “When I return to South Africa I am going up to the Premier Diamond Mine, some few miles out of Pretoria, on the Delagoa line, where my husband, Mr John W. Norman, is manager of the pharmacy. The diamond mine is a township to itself, with its hotel, stores, &c., co-operative. Mr Norman is a Sydney Scot. There are a tremendous number of Australians in South Africa, you know; they form quite a ‘set’ in many places. Yes, Australians frequently marry Australians. You see (with a sly winkle) I had to remind you that I am married; you keep calling me Sister Foster, you know. But, there, everybody in Adelaide does that. In fact,” confesses nurse, “I had so much signing of documents before I got married that I signed one of my letters to my husband, ‘Your affectionate wife, M.E. Foster.’ He replied that he considered it might be more respectable of me to sign myself Norman in future, in case of censorship, for instance. I don’t know about a bachelor tax,” she continued laughingly, “but I had to pay a marriage tax. Anyway, my passport cost me an extra ten shillings. A great discouragement to matrimony I call it.” Critic (Adelaide, SA), Wed 29 Sept 1920 (p.6): Events of the Week AFTERNOON TEA Prior to the departure of Mrs John W. Norman (Sister Foster) for South Africa, Mrs Darnley Naylor entertained a number of old Adelaide Children’s Hospital nurses at Afternoon Tea in the Bohemian Tea Rooms, to enable them to wish Mrs Norman “bon voyage,” and also present her with a handsome silver dish, appropriately inscribed. ………………… Bunyip (Gawler, SA), Fri 28 Jan 1921 (p.4): THE PREMIER DIAMOND MINE IN SOUTH AFRICA The following is an extract from a letter received this week from Mrs Norman (nee Sister Foster, late of the D.T.N.S.): – “We had a long, cold voyage from Australia to Durban. The captain knew he would have to wait there for coal so did not hurry. The “Beltana” had reached Durban six days ahead of us, and was just coming out of the harbour as we went in. All the way around the wharves ships were lying two deep, several others in the stream, and six in the bay outside. We tied up alongside a Japanese tramp steamer, which evidently had no cold storage, as she had a pen of live sheep on her decks. We had had measles and whooping cough amongst the numerous children on board, and so took some time getting through the passport and health business. I got off across the tramp steamer’s deck about 8.15 p.m. My friends met me with their motor car and took me off to their home till the next day at 5.50 p.m., when I boarded the mail train for Pretoria (the capital of the Transvaal), and just over 500 miles N.N.E. from Durban. I reached my destination at 6.30 the next night. Here my husband was waiting for me, and we stayed at the capital for a couple of days, and then came on to our present home at the Premier Mine. This is 25 miles N.E. of Pretoria, on the Delagoa Bay line. The mine was discovered in 1902 by a man called Cullinan (since knighted), and the largest diamond ever known in the world was found here and called after him. It was as large as a woman’s fist, and was given by the Transvaal Government to the British Government. Three pieces of it are in the British Crown, 18 in a necklace in part of the Crown jewels, and I forget what was done with the rest; it took nine months to cut up. The mine is all open workings, and a monstrous hole it is. ……………………………… The place is laid out just like a town; ………………….. There is a European hospital as nicely and well fitted as the Hutchinson one in your town, with a Matron and three trained nurses and two probationers. They have just begun the eight-hours’ system, which has lately become law in South Africa, and say that it works alright. They change shifts at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., and 11 p.m. (At the Compound there is also a fine native hospital). …… We are living at the hotel, and are most comfortable – the stores, bakery, butcher’s shop and hotel are owned by the mine employees, and run on the co-operative principle. The chemist’s shop is a concession, and privately owned, and although that is so, my husband (who is manager) and I have the same privileges as the mine officials, viz., 5 per cent off our board at the hotel and anything we buy at the stores, and a half-yearly dividend from them all. We expect to stay here for some time, as we are doing well, but hope some day in the unknown future to have a business of our own nearer the coast. All sorts of gaieties are going on for Christmas, and we are going to a Freemasons’ social to-night. There is a fine Temple here, and a very strong Masonic Lodge.” https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/97756893 Bunyip (Gawler, SA), Fri 21 Sept 1923 (p.2): SOCIAL AND PERSONAL The following report is taken from the “Pretoria News,” South Africa, dated August 4th, 1923. Mrs Norman, referred to in the report will be better known to Gawler folk as Sister Foster, who pioneered the work of the Gawler District Trained Nursing Society, being the first Nurse sent from the city to a country branch. She was stationed here for many years and did much to further the interests of the Society by her efficiency and tact. The report is as follows: – “Premier Mine Town, August 4th. Mr J.W. Norman, who has been manager of the local (Premier) Pharmacy for over three years, left on Wednesday afternoon for Durban. Some fifty people assembled on the station to wish him and Mrs Norman godspeed and good luck, for his kindliness and unfailing courtesy had endeared him to the residents. On Monday afternoon the ladies of the local branch of the Women’s S.A. Party met at the Recreation Hall for tea, when they presented Mrs Norman, vice-chairwoman of the Association, a case of fruit knives. This bore the card “with warm thanks for her valued help to the Women’s South African Premier Mine branch, and heartiest wishes for her future happiness.” Miss Maritz, chairwoman, spoke in eulogistic terms of the help rendered the Association by Mrs Norman during her tenure of office. She then handed Mrs Norman a silver encased pencil from Dr and Mrs Wolfson. Mrs Dell endorsed the remarks made by Miss Maritz. Mrs Norman returned thanks, regretting that for once her “Australian cheek” had failed her. Refreshments were indulged in for an hour. Mr and Mrs Norman are spending a few months at Dooneside before settling in Durban. The Register (Adelaide, SA), Fri 8 Aug 1924 (p.11): Dr Lendon at Commonwealth Club ……………………………………………. Dr Lendon, proceeding, said that he had not half digested his travels, but some impressions stood out clearly. In the first place one could not get away from Australia. All over the Mediterranean they met with the wattle, there called mimosa, and splendid gums and pepper trees. At Durban he was shown round by an old friend, Mrs Norman, formerly Sister Foster, of the District Trained Nursing Society. ……………………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/59018831 The Areas’ Express (Booyoolee, SA), Fri 20 Dec 1929 (p.5): AN UP-TO-DATE PHARMACY One of the most valuable assets to a country town is that of an up-to-date chemist, and in this respect Gladstone is most fortunate. After being without for about forty years, Mr J.W. Norman, about three years ago started in a modest way in the main street, and the success he has achieved, and as his high reputation is well deserved. He knows his job thoroughly, his stock is new and wonderfully well assorted. His prices are the same as those charged in the city. A cleaner or more attractive shop is not to [be] found either in or out of the cities. He is specialising just now in Christmas goods and a visit to his establishment is worthwhile. You will find there a wide purse and your good taste. Support your chemist. He gives service. The Areas’ Express (Booyoolee, SA), Fri 22 May 1931 (p.2): PERSONAL Mrs J.W. Norman, of Gladstone, who recently underwent an operation at a private Hospital in Adelaide, has returned to Gladstone, much improved in health. The Areas’ Express (Booyoolee, SA), Fri 5 May 1939 (p.4): Mr and Mrs J.W. Norman Farewelled There was a large attendance at the Memorial Hall, Gladstone, on Monday evening last, when a farewell bridge evening was tendered to Mr and Mrs J.W. Norman, prior to their departure from the town. About 50 people took part in bridge, the winners were Mr C.O. Bennett and Mrs F.C. Barter. Mr R.R. Dodman, president of the Institute Committee, said the function had been arranged to give friends an opportunity of saying goodbye to two residents, who had their worth in many ways and who had made a wide circle of friends during their stay among them. Mr Norman had been a keen advocate for the advancement of the town in a number of directions, more especially in Main Street improvements, and which were now a credit to the town. He had proved of inestimable value to the public generally in his profession, while many farmers could testify to the valuable assistance he had rendered to their stock at various times. Mr and Mrs Norman had done their bit in the dark days of war, the latter serving as a nurse, and both had excellent records. They had travelled much and gave friends the benefit of the knowledge thereby gained. In sickness among her friends, and as a member of the Institute Committee she had been a zealous worker. He had pleasure in presenting Mr Norman with an electric reading lamp and Mrs Norman with a travelling rug as a small token of esteem, coupled with their best wishes for their future health and prosperity. Other speakers were Messrs F.C. Barter, C.O. Bennett, H.M. Pascoe, G.M. Black and Mrs W.G. Cook, all of whom spoke in the brightest terms of praise of the guests. Mrs Norman thanked them for their kind words of farewell and presentation, and also tendered her sincere thanks to those who had called on her when in hospital recently. She had enjoyed her connection with the Institute Committee and reciprocated their good wishes. Mr Norman also suitably replied. Supper was served by the ladies and the singing of “They are jolly good fellows” and “Auld Lang Syne” concluded a pleasant and successful function, the conveners of which were Mesdames W.G. Cook and H. Osman. Bunyip (Gawler, SA), Fri 19 Jul 1940 (p.4): D.B.N.S. Annual Public Meeting On Tuesday next at 3 p.m. the District and Bush Nursing Society will hold their annual Public Meeting. Sir Edward Lucas, a former Gawler Mayor, who founded the first District branch here and was also the first President will be present. Sister Foster, now Mrs Norman, was the first District Nurse and she hopes to be able to be present. ………………… The Areas’ Express (Booyoolee, SA), Fri 27 Sept 1940 (p.1): OBITUARY Death of Mr J.W. Norman We regret to record the death in Adelaide, on Wednesday, September 18th, of Mr John Watson Norman, husband of Mrs Mary Norman, who resided at Gladstone for a lengthy period and left the district in June of last year. Mr Norman, who had not been enjoying satisfactory health for some time, was 65 years of age, and had a lengthy experience in the Imperial Light Infantry (Boer War) and the 1st South African Horse (Great War). His reminiscences of South Africa were always of a most interesting nature, as also were those of Mrs Norman. During his residence at Gladstone, Mr Norman evinced a keen interest in the welfare of the town, and at one time organised a committee having as its object the general improvement of main street, and incidentally he was a strong supporter for the beautiful garden in that thoroughfare. He was also a loyal member of the Returned Soldiers League. Always a lover of cleanliness, his Pharmacy was naturally kept spotless, and was a highly competent apothecary. We join with the many others in tendering our sincere sympathy to the bereaved widow. Bunyip (Gawler, SA), Fri 27 Jun 1941 (p.4): D.B.N.S Annual Meeting The annual meeting of the Gawler D.B.N.S., held on Tuesday afternoon had a special visitor in Mrs Norman of Gillies Street East, who in the formation days of the Branch was the first Nursing Sister, being Sister Foster. She served for about eighteen months and was then transferred to Headquarters. Speaking at the meeting Mrs Norman said she had close and happy memories of Gawler, dating many years before her nursing duties. Her grand-parents, Mr and Mrs Haynes [sic], came to Gawler on April 18 1884 [sic], from off the sailing ship Isabella Watson, and the family (there was one child) spent seven years in the district as farmers. The Victorian clamour of gold caused them to trek by medium of bullock dray to the fields at Bendigo. They afterwards returned to the State, and took up land at Fords, and the family issue grew to nine young Australians. Mrs Norman said that her birthplace was Freeling. In the last year 12 of the connections were in war service overseas, and a nephew was so huge, being 6ft 7½in in his socks that he became known in London as “Tiny.” Mrs Norman has travelled extensively being once across the waters to England, and made many visits to South Africa. She expressed her delight the success achieved by the Branch and wished the efforts continued prosperity. News (Adelaide, SA), Tue 4 Jun 1946 (p.2): Mechanised Nurses Eight nurses of the District and Bush Nursing Society now have motor cars for use in their work. ……………………… Bicycles and motor scooters have been used, but 50 years ago the pioneer nurses walked their rounds. Up Gawler way they tell the story of a blacksmith who saw Sister Mary Foster trudging past the shop and who said to his striker: – “Sister Foster can’t walk about this place in the heat and dust. We must buy her a bike.” He threw half a crown on the anvil, the striker did the same, and four customers followed suit. Mr Edward (later Sir Edward) Lucas, the mayor, sponsored the appeal, and the nurse soon had her bicycle. Sir Edward and the nurse are still going strong. She is Mrs Mary Norman and lives in Blight street, Croydon. News (Adelaide, SA), Tue 25 Oct 1949 (p.19): DEATHS NORMAN (nee Sister Mary Foster) – On October 24, at Adelaide, Mary, loved wife of the late John Watson Norman, late of South Africa, Gladstone, and Adelaide; also D.T.N.S. and First World War, and sister of W.R. Forster, Hyde Park, and Mrs J.H. Buxton, Myrtle Bank.