Close connection: Beth Cuthbertson attended Macarthur Street Primary School. Photo: SUPPLIED

Nurses recognised on anniversary

February 10, 2020 BY

NURSES who served and died in wartime for Australia are to be commemorated at the Arch of Victory on Sunday, 16 February.

At the 11am service, the Arch of Victory – Avenue of Honour Committee will remember 56 nurses marked along the Avenue, three from Ballarat being the focus.

That weekend is the 78th anniversary of the Banka Island massacre in World War Two, when 21 Australian nurses died, including former Macarthur Street Primary School pupil, Mary Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Cuthbertson.

Gertrude Munro and Blodwyn Williams were locals who died in World War One. Committee president, Garry Snowden said Ms Williams is buried at the Ballarat New Cemetery, having fallen ill while working, while Ms Munro’s grave is in Greece.

He said major battles and Ballarat men have been acknowledged in recent years, but others deserve more recognition than they’ve had.

“It is only right that we also remember the critical work of the nurses who cared for the sick and wounded,” he said.

The commemoration will also celebrate courageous, devoted Ballarat women who may not have lost their lives in war but earned bravery awards.

“People attending the service will hear of the outstanding service of several nurses who trained at the Ballarat Hospital.

“Ballarat citizens and visitors are invited to attend, and anyone wishing to do so will be able to place a wreath or other tribute during the service,” Mr Snowden said.

He visited Ms Munro’s resting place in 2018, noticing her headstone was dated incorrectly. Contacting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Mr Snowden arranged for a new and correct headstone to be installed.