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War, Worn & Weary - New Book By Cheryl Scott and Margaret Phelan

This book was made possible through grants from the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and the City of Greater Geelong Arts & Culture Department: Creative Communities Arts Grants Program.

New Release:

War Worn & Weary - the Convalescent Nurses of Osborne House 1917-1919  -  a collaborative work between Cheryl Scott and Margaret Phelan.


The book is the result of 18 months of research and investigation into the lives of the nurses identified as having been invalided home from service abroad to recuperate at Osborne House Geelong.


The impetus for writing it was a Centenary of ANZAC exhibition in 2015, curated by the Osborne Park Association members at Osborne House .

More than 90 nurses were identified for this exhibition as having either trained at a  public or private hospital in Geelong prior to enlistment, had been born in Geelong but trained in nursing elsewhere, or had been invalided home and sent to Geelong to recuperate at Victoria’s only Red Cross Rest Home for War Worn Nurses – Osborne House..


The book War Worn & Weary concentrates on the nurses invalided home.

Cleverly, the cover depicts the shadowy image of Osborne House Geelong – selected because so few know about the history of the property. The figure in the red cape represents the invisibility of the invalided nurses.

At the time, Osborne House was under lease to the Australian Defence Department  and the Red Cross operated the facility as a convalescent home for invalided WW1 nurses under direction of the AIF. The book touches on the formation of Red Cross in Geelong, the community contributions to the war effort and the people instrumental in establishing the facility. It presents vignettes on the Matron-in-Charge Madge Hayes of Winchelsea and each of the 46 nurses identified as having recuperated at Osborne House during 1917/19.

It portrays their lives both prior to enlisting and after their war service. Their stories are poignant, often uplifting and sometimes sad. They went to look after “our boys” but in the process they suffered extremes of weather, inadequate medical facilities, poor living conditions, food shortages, disease, culture shocks, exhaustion and the shocking effects of a mechanized war.That they survived is in many instances remarkable but some returned home so broken in health that they were unable to continue working in their chosen profession. Others went on to live full and productive lives. Inspirational women all.


The RRP is $45 and the book may be purchased by contacting the Osborne Park Association email: osborneparkassocn@hotmail.com Postage is an additional $11.55


OH Ballroom Restoration Unveling - Australia Day 2017 Ribbon Ceremony

OH Ballroom Restoration begins

OH Ballroom Restoration Cont...

OH Ballroom Restoration - Walls being removed

OH Ballroom Restoration cont...

OH Ballroom Restoration - Wallpaper removal

OH Ballroom Restoration - Original 1910 timber exposed

OH Ballroom Restoration -Bay window restoration begins

OH Ballroom Restoration Unveling - Australia Day 2017

OH Ballroom Restoration Unveling - Australia Day 2017 (2)

OH Ballroom Restoration Unveling - Australia Day 2017 (3)

The above photos reveal the stages of renovation for the 1910 Percy Everett designed Ballroom at Osborne House, which was officially opened by former Cr Eddy Kontelj on Australia Day 2017.

Eddy was instrumental in the Osborne Park Association achieving a grant from the City of Greater Geelong for the restoration works. The OPA contributed $10,000 [raised through events held at the property over the past 6 years and a donation from the closure of the Cement Museum] plus 808 volunteers hours at an estimated value of $20,000 - this being in keeping with the Association's aims of preserving and protecting Osborne House.

The Shire of Corio owned the building for over 52 years [1937-1993] and this had been their function room until the Branscomb Room was added in the 1970's - now leased by the Geelong Branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association. The Ballroom was then divided into 5 offices and a meeting space.

Removing the office partition walls revealed the grand space built for Mrs Parrington when she insisted the ballroom/dining room and 7 bedrooms above be added by then owner , the Geelong Harbour Trust when she leased the property as a High Class Guest House. Unfortunately, Mrs Parrington, who also operated the Oaks Guest House in South Yarra, skipped out on her 5 year lease after only 12 months, leaving the Harbour Trust a little red faced for the expenditure.

Our next fundraising efforts will be to restore the grand fire place and over-mantle.

To that end we invite community groups to consider holding their next exhibition or event in our beautiful ballroom.

Contact the OPA secretary Susan on 0424373214

Osborne House New Renovations - Update

Osborne House First Stages of the new Ballroom Renovations

Osborne House New Renovations

These are the first stages of the renovation of the ballroom at Osborne House - the 1910 extension added by the Geelong Harbour Trust at the insistence of Mrs Parrington of Toorak in order for her to lease the property to operate as a high class guest house.

The renovation is being overseen by National Trust and Heritage Victoria and completed through a grant from the City of Greater Geelong and funds provided by the Osborne Park Association Inc

On completion this fabulous space will be available for hire for exhibitions and events.