About the Australian Nurses Memorial Centre

Our Mission

Our mission is to award scholarships to nurses today as a living memorial to nurses who served.

  • Our Goals

    To inspire nurses to lead with resilience, courage and determination.

  • To serve as a living memorial for remembering and learning from history.

  • To promote, honour and respect the qualities of nurses who served.

  • To share stories of leadership, past & present.

  • To award scholarships to nurses and organise memorial events.

Our History

The Australian Nurses Memorial Centre is a living memorial to the heroism and sacrifice of the 76 Australian nurses who died during World War Two and to those who survived years in prisoner-of-war camps during that time.

  • FEBRUARY 1942

    Vivian Bullwinkel is the sole surviving Australian nurse of the Bangka Island Massacre, during which 21 of her colleagues were killed by Japanese soldiers on Radji Beach, Bangka Island.

  • AUGUST 1945

    Vivian, Betty Jeffrey, and 22 other Australian nurses are freed after three-and-a-half years of captivity in Japanese internment camps. In October they arrive back in Australia.

  • DECEMBER 1947

    Formal launch of £250,000 War Nurses' Memorial Centre Appeal at Melbourne Town Hall.

  • APRIL 1949

    The Victorian home ‘Oban' (also known as 'Madowla'), situated at 431 St Kilda Rd, is purchased for the establishment of the War Nurses' Memorial Centre.

  • MAY 1949

    War Nurses' Memorial Centre opens its doors for the first time.


A Vision Becomes a Reality

In November 1947, Betty Jeffrey (right) and Vivian Bullwinkel (left) set out in Betty's little Austin car to promote a fundraising appeal for the establishment of a War Nurses' Memorial Centre in Melbourne. They visited every hospital in Victoria with more than 20 beds to present their vision of an educational and social centre for the nursing profession that would also function as a living memorial to their fallen colleagues. Betty and Vivian encouraged their fellow nurses to compete in a statewide 'Queen of Nurses' competition in aid of the appeal. Altogether the fundraising appeal raised £121,000, of which £78,000 was raised by the 'Queens'. At the time it was the most successful appeal in Victoria's history.

Betty Jeffrey

People of the ANMC - Past and Present

Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel (1915–2000)Co-Founder

The Vivian Bullwinkel Story

Lieutenant Betty Jeffrey (1908–2000)Co-Founder

The Betty Jeffrey Story

Captain Wilma Oram (1916–2001) Founder

Colonel Annie Moriah Sage CBE RRC (1895–1969) Founder

Edith Hughes-Jones (1905–1976) Founder

ANMC Patron

Emeritus Professor Judith ParkerANMC Patron
Patron since 2021

I undertook my basic nursing training at the Melbourne School of Nursing, which prefigured the shift to College/University based nursing education in a number of important ways. In this visionary and, sadly, short lived experiment in nursing education, we “belonged” to the School rather than to a specific training hospital and undertook our clinical placements at a number of affiliated hospitals. While we were paid employees rather than supernumerary students, our Dean and nursing educators wanted to ensure that through our exposure to the differing cultures, rituals and conventional nursing practices of the participating hospitals, we truly understood the importance of drawing upon principles rather than habitual routines in our nursing care.

I worked as an RN at Royal Melbourne Hospital for a few years, and later, with four small children, I worked part-time in a number of clinical settings. I wanted to gain a more coherent understanding of the vulnerability and suffering I had encountered in nursing and I enrolled part-time in an Arts degree at Monash in 1969. I was continuously enrolled at Monash for over ten years, undertaking an honours degree and a PhD which was on the topic of the structural, cultural and individual impact of a terminal cancer diagnosis upon patients.

By the time I was appointed as a lecturer at Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences (LIHS) in 1979, I was one of only five PhD prepared nurses in the country and soon after this, hospital-based nursing education was transferred to Colleges of Advanced Education (CAEs). The CAE’s focused particularly on teaching and when LIHS amalgamated with La Trobe University, I was in a position to start developing a research agenda for nursing at the university. I applied for a travelling grant from the Nurses Memorial Centre and was able to examine research developments in nursing internationally. I spent 17 years at Lincoln/LaTrobe before I was invited to take up the position of Foundation Head and Chair of the School of Nursing at the University of Melbourne where we focused on interdisciplinary clinical research and education for advanced specialty nursing practice.

I was honoured over my career to be placed on the inaugural Victorian Honour Roll of Women, to receive an Order of Australia (AM) and, upon leaving The University of Melbourne, to receive the title of Emeritus Professor. I believe my greatest contributions have been in my focus of advanced practice, in my writings about nursing and in my mentorship of nurses, many of whom now hold leadership posts in Australia and internationally.

I entered nursing at a time when there were fewer opportunities for women and was swept along on the wave of innovations in higher education which opened up new worlds for women generally and for nurses specifically. Now is another time of huge change where nurses can play key policy, practice, research and teaching roles in this era of new and emerging communicable diseases.

I am excited to have been appointed Patron of the ANMC and look forward to supporting another generation of nurses in their clinical and scholarly pursuits.

ANMC Board 2024

Dr Elizabeth Lavender President

Board Member since 2014

Liz undertook her initial nursing education at the Addington Hospital and the University of Kwa/Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. After graduation she worked as a registered nurse in South Africa, London and Queensland. She joined La Trobe University when the Lincoln Institute of HealthSciences became part of the University in 1988 and worked in nurse education at the Melbourne, Albury/Wodonga and Bendigo Campuses before taking the senior roles of Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and latterly Director of the Shepparton Campuses. Her professional interests are in international and rural and regional education particularly providing educational opportunities for students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to higher education.

Emeritus Professor Maxine Duke AM Vice President

Board Member since July 2022

Maxine was Head, School of Nursing and Midwifery and Chair Nursing Development at Deakin from 2007-2019. Interim Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health 2020 and Director, Quality and Patient Safety (QPOS) Strategic Research Centre from 2014-2019. Maxine is a Board member of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (VIC) and the Victorian Nurses and Midwives Trust. She has had a long career as clinician, educator, researcher and nurse leader. Her contribution to the nursing profession and nurse education were recognised with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in January 2022. Maxine continues to help shape and improve the health profession in Australia in her various roles.

Mr David Balcombe Treasurer

Board Member since 2018

David is a Chartered Accountant who had a long career at a top 4 accounting firm. He undertook a range of roles including audit, corporate finance, risk management and quality systems. Currently he is a financial counsellor specialising in problem gambling financial issues. He is energised by working for fairness and justice for vulnerable people using the skills learned during his previous career. He is also a member of the Australia Health Practitioners Regulation Agency finance, audit and risk committee and the board of Financial Counselling Victoria Inc.

Dr Beverley Wood Member

Board Member since 2017

Beverley holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Advanced Nursing (Education) from Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences, and a Master of Educational Studies and Doctor of Philosophy from Monash University. After completing the General Certificate of Nursing at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia, Beverly worked as a registered nurse in Perth and Melbourne, and as a charge nurse and nurse educator at the Royal Melbourne Hospital before joining the staff of the School of Nursing, La Trobe University. She has extensive experience in nursing education in university, health care and international settings and the strategic development, administration and delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate programs within the context of local and international health care issues and professional regulation. Beverley is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing and has been a life member of the Nurses Memorial Centre since 2008.

Ms Barbara Green Member

Board Member since 2018

Barbara has spent the majority of her professional life working in higher education in Victoria, she holds a Graduate Diploma in Administrative Management and a Graduate Diploma in Computing. She recently retired following 10 years as an administrator in a university library and 32 years in nursing education (Deakin University, La Trobe University and Victoria University). Her focus during her latter time in nursing was international students, international experiences for domestic students, international relationships, partnerships and staff and student cultural competency. Barbara worked closely with the transfer of nursing education into the higher education sector, has worked internationally, Thailand and London, and is the Chair of the Melbourne Chapter of the Australia Bhutan Friendship Association.

Mrs Susan Hogan Member

Board Member since July 2022

Sue has extensive experience and a successful track record in Nursing covering 30 years in Australia tertiary and regional hospitals. She is accustomed to managing multicultural and multidisciplinary teams optimising varied experiences and skills for education, recruitment and retention, strategic planning to meet the needs of the community. Utilising excellent communication skills, Sue has developed policy for advocacy of nurses and patients within various settings and communities to ensure quality outcomes.

Dr Susan Lee Member

Board Member since August 2023

Dr Lee is a registered nurse with extensive experience as a nurse academic, specialising in education, research and palliative care. Her last appointment before retiring was as Director of Research Degrees at Monash University Nursing and Midwifery where she was responsible for staff supervision and student research skill development, student-supervisor relationships and scholarship ranking. She has served on various palliative care boards related to clinical service delivery, peak organisations and nursing leadership. Susan is a member of the Scholarship Committee.

Dr Ingrid Brooks Member

Board Member since September 2023

Since training at the Alfred Hospital, Ingrid has had a long career in teaching and curriculum development in nursing and many years of experience working on boards and committees at state and national levels. She is currently board member and treasurer for the Psi Zeta at-Large Chapter of Sigma nursing society. From 2015–2021 she was Head of Campus for Nursing and Midwifery at Monash University providing leadership in governance, strategic planning and management of the School’s operations at Clayton. She also ran her own education and management consulting business for seven years. As a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing, since 2017 Ingrid has been privileged to review applications for the Emerging Nurse Leader program.