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