Newsletter 2019, 19th November.

 Newsletter No. 12 | November 2019

Mehret Hill, winner of the 2019 NDSNGA Inc Annual Award, is pictured with members of the NDSNGA Inc Committee: Ken Pata (Treasurer), Jenny Pata (School 67),  Fay Bourke (School 28) and Joan O’Shea (School 1).   Photo per LaTrobe University Bendigo

Welcome to our 2019 Newsletter. 

Let’s celebrate 70 years in 2020. Save the date Saturday 2nd May in your diaries for a jam-packed reunion. Book Launch: Remember our WW2 Nurses was held on 29th March at Bendigo Library. A very worthwhile project for our  committee to undertake and a highlight for the year. We were able to honour and pay tribute to one of our own, Miss Marjorie Scott known as Margot who was Assistant Dean of the NDSN from 1950 –1977. 

Annual NDSNGA Inc Award: the LaTrobe Award Agreement has been ratified and a Scholarship Fund is set up for future awards. This year the Prizes and Scholarships for Bendigo Campus ceremony were held at the Ulumbarra Theatre on 5th August and the award went to Mehret Hill. Mehret was also presented with a copy of our book.  

Archiving: Progress is slow because of this labour intensive activity of categorising, cataloguing and photographing memorabilia and artefacts as we grapple with the understanding of the required format for preservation. We have now employed archival consultant services to assist with this endeavour. Fay has been instrumental in facilitating this process and safekeeping our memorabilia and artefacts. Working bees have been held at Huntly Historical Society with a job well done by Jan, Joan, Jenny Trewartha with her husband, brother-in-law and nephew. Sadly, at this stage, Bendigo is no closer to the development of a museum. 

Finance: Special thanks to Ken Pata for continuing as our Honorary Treasurer with his comprehensive reporting of our financial status. The 2018/2019 Treasurer’s Report is presented on page 7. The focus of our expenditure continues to be on archival costs,  printing and postage of annual newsletter and reunion invitations, storage costs at Huntly, the annual award at LaTrobe University, wreaths and IT charges and equipment.  ANZAC and Remembrance Days: were attended by committee Members with wreaths laid.  Website and Facebook: Fay has continued to enjoy working with both the Website and Facebook (FB) keeping both sites up to date.

Membership: currently we have 365 members. From 2020, the cost payable for 5 years membership will be $30. Please notify any committee member of any change of contact details or membership enquiries.  

Committee: I extend special thanks to our small band of very hard-working members. We are desperately seeking volunteers to join our committee as we prepare for the 2020 reunion. Marion Symes (President) 

NDSNGA Inc Committee to 2020: 

  • Marion Symes: President 
  • Rosemary Baker: Secretary 
  • Jenny Pata: Asst Sec, Membership, Newsletter and LTU Alumni (Bendigo Chapter) Liaison, Archiving
  • Ken Pata: Treasurer 
  • Fay Bourke: Archiving, Facebook, Website 
  • Jenny Trewartha: Heritage Advisory Council (HAC), Archiving 
  • Joan O’Shea: Heritage Representative Committee (HRC), Archiving 
  • Jan Spencely: Archiving 
  • Committee: Maree Worme, Marg Coad, Chris Forbes.


This year the NDSNGA Inc Annual Award was presented to MEHRET HILL for “a final year nursing  student who has exemplified the University’s cultural qualities of connectivity, innovation, accountability and  caring.” 
The NDSNGA Inc committee has set aside an account with the Bendigo Bank to ensure that this award will be presented annually for at least the next ten years.  

Our congratulations go to Dr Penny Davies on her appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia for her work in higher education and Community Health. Penny founded the Bendigo Cystic Fibrosis Support Group more than 40  years ago as her two late children, Justin and Megan, were diagnosed with the condition.  Penny is a wonderful supporter of the NDSNGA Inc and assists wherever she can through the LaTrobe University Alum ni and has been instrumental in brokering generous sponsorship through the Alumni for our 2020 reunion. Penny was a member of School 45 commencing her training in February 1960.

The 2020 reunion will be held on Saturday 2nd May at the basketball Stadium in West Bendigo. There is plenty  of parking. Our reunion will be held on Court 2 so there will be opportunities to have a look around what is a world class sporting venue.

The cost of morning tea and lunch will be generously subsidized by LaTrobe University Alumni as well as spon soring the hire of the venue and the Audio-Visual equipment to be used on the day.

If you are a current member, you will receive your invitation in February which will provide the necessary infor mation regarding registering for the reunion and payment for same. 

Guest speakers at the reunion will include, Rob Stephenson— Head of LaTrobe University Bendigo Campus,  Mehret Hill—winner of our NDSNGA Inc Award 2019 and Murray Poustie—author of “Remember our WW2 Nurses”. 

The Future of the NDSNGA Inc Committee. (Joan O’Shea, Jenny Pata. ) 
The original dean, Nancy Long, frequently spoke of a Reunion of former trainees of the School. However, it did not occur during her tenure. When the 25th anniversary was approaching, we nurses contacted the then Dean, Syd  Gerry, who was very supportive of the idea, hence a committee was formed and the first Reunion was held in April  1975. This was the forerunner to the Graduates Association. The committee was comprised of representatives of as many of the associated hospitals as possible. Following the success of this event, it was decided to hold reunions on a  regular basis. As reunions were held annually by the associated hospitals, 5 yearly NDSN reunions was adopted as the best option. Eventually, this committee formed the basis for the current NDSNGA Inc and much water has since flowed under the bridge. If members wish this tradition to continue, support in the form of new committee members is required immediately. We hope the history of the Northern District School of Nursing does not disappear as we have worked diligently to preserve our memorabilia over the past 30 years. 

Do you want the NDSNGA Inc to continue? 
Like many committees, ours is comprised of folk in the ‘older’ age group, some of whom are now facing health issues and participating on the committee is becoming increasingly difficult. And so we need some new blood and new ideas. The biggest undertaking of the committee is the reunion every 5 years and a representative to attend the annual LaTrobe University Prize and Scholarships evening to meet with the winner of the NDSNGA Inc award. We have membership on two Heritage Committees and also a seat on the LaTrobe University Alumni given that the NDSN  is an antecedent institution of LTU Bendigo Campus. 

If new committee membership is not forthcoming, it is highly probable that the 2020 reunion will be the last and  the committee’s continued existence beyond a year or two cannot be guaranteed. If you are interested, please  contact

  • • Marion Symes: (03) 5447 9024 or 
  • • Rosemary Baker: 0417 459 004 or 
  • • Jenny Pata: 0411 799 202 or 

2 Heritage Preservation (Jenny Trewartha)

The NDSNGA Inc has as part of its remit, the care and preservation of the NDSN trainees’ memorabilia and artefacts. To assist in this endeavour there has been a representative of the committee attending bimonthly meetings of the  Heritage Representative Committee (HRC) for many years now, and since the beginning of 2018 a representative on  the City of Greater Bendigo (COGB) – Heritage Advisory Council (HAC). 

The HRC is an informal group of approximately 20 organisations and is chaired by the curator of the Post Office  Gallery. The aim of this group is to share heritage information and continue to lobby for appropriate storage of  memorabilia/artefacts and ultimately (at least from the NDSNGA’s perspective) a museum for Bendigo. 

In 2017 the COGB commissioned a Heritage Report which was undertaken by Dr Meagan Cardamone known as  the Cardamone Report. Unfortunately the scope was limited and only the five historical societies in the COGB were  included in the report. The report is available on the COGB website. The COGB has developed a Collections Policy the  aim of which is to assist collectors and community groups to manage their collections. That policy doesn’t really assist  the NDSNGA Inc with our collection. 

The HAC was revamped in 2017 by the COGB and community representatives were invited to apply for/ undertake a selection process for a position. I was nominated by the NDSNGA Inc and was successful. The position is  for a 4 year term. The role of this committee is to advise council from time to time on Heritage matters. This is anoth er avenue to advocate for the safe keeping of the NDSNGA’s memorabilia. There is no plan for a museum for Bendigo  currently.  

 Over the past years members of the NDSNGA Inc committee have worked towards cataloguing photos of each  nursing school and other items. Working bees have been held at Huntly Historical Society to clean and repack our ar tefacts stored there. As we had duplicates of monometalware items, those not required were given to the Rotary  Club of Eaglehawk for transportation to East Timor hospitals. 

Currently the committee is looking to adopt an acquisitions/collections policy, progress the digitalisation of  photos and other artefacts and continue to advocate for more suitable storage of memorabilia and artefacts. The  Huntly site is very limited and some items are quite exposed in a tin shed that is not weather, dust or vermin proof. 

FAY’S PAGE (Fay Bourke) 

FACEBOOK: ndsnga.facebook Continues to be popular with a regular number of stalwart followers. As I now have access to over 500 NDSN photographs, which are part of our archival collection, I have begun to gradually upload these to FB. These generate interest and favourable comments. Members are invited to post their own photos, especially of recent reunions. Details of upcoming reunions are given well in advance. Since this is an ‘Open’ FB page  (meaning anyone can view it) there is often comment by non-nurses. I have not experienced any adverse posts on our site. There is no cost to FB. Is not as popular as FB, and some members have expressed that I post more NDSN  information and photographs. Since we pay an annual fee for this to be administered, I will aim to do so. Cost appears on financial report as Information Technology. Our Newsletter appears on the website (but not the current one, as this would be unfair to our financial members), hence 2018 will appear when our current 2019 Newsletter is sent out in a few weeks. Photos and details of reunions can be put on the website. FB is limited to minimal information, but the website can provide extensive files. 

ARCHIVING: Our committee has been fortunate to secure the services of a qualified Archivist in Dr Michele  Mathews who is currently archiving our entire collection of photographs, books, and documents spanning the period of the years of the NDSN. When completed, the archived material will be stored at the Bendigo Regional Archival  Centre (BRAC) in Nolan St, Bendigo. Prior to the storage, the 600 plus photographs will have been returned to us for transfer from their current plastic sleeves into acid-free sleeves and covers as per the standards requested by BRAC.  A working bee is on the horizon! This current archiving does not include our artefacts, some of which are held at  Huntly and District Historical Society as well as a private home. These artefacts, such as uniforms, badges, nursing and medical instruments and other equipment, will be reassessed based on quality, standard and need, then catalogued and archived by a second person. As BRAC does not accept artefacts, the preference would be for the collection to stay together and be donated to the Bendigo Historical Society (BHS) for safe-keeping. Future discussions with  BHS will determine the housing of our artefacts. Our dream of a museum or a suitable building for our treasures to be on display has not yet eventuated. 

3 Book launch of “REMEMBER OUR WW2 NURSES” (Jenny Trewartha) 

In late 2017 the Northern District School of Nursing Graduates Association Inc committee was approached by local historian Mr Murray Poustie, for assistance to publish a book he had been researching and writing “Remember our WW2 Nurses. The Service and Sacrifice of Bendigo nurses in World War Two”. The committee was pleased to enable the publication of Murray’s book covering this chapter of Bendigo trained nurses history, due to an important link with one of the nurses to the Northern District School of Nursing (NDSN). An application by the Committee to the  City of Greater Bendigo Council for a community grant of $2500 was successful.  

The book is dedicated to the service and sacrifice of the 48 nurses who trained at Bendigo Hospital. Two nurses died as a result of their service including one nurse who was shot on Banka Island. These brave women served overseas and in the Northern Territory and Queensland in the same very difficult conditions as our soldiers. Murray was determined that their stories of courage and commitment deserved to be told. 

The NDSNGA Inc was very keen to support Murray by applying for the grant as one particular Bendigo nurse who returned to nursing after her war service was Marjorie Scott. During the war, she was a member of the first medical air evacuation team of the RAAF Nursing Service. Her story, like all the other nurses featured, is inspirational. Post  WW2 Miss Scott went on to have a long career in nursing including a 27-year association with the NDSN, thus providing an outstanding post-war contribution to nursing education. 

Murray has also researched and written a number of monographs all relating to Bendigo, and also two published works including: “Remember our nurses – The service and sacrifice of Bendigo nurses in WW1”. This latest publication is a very welcome addition to the nursing history of Bendigo and all surrounding towns from where nurses came to the NDSN for training. 

The book had a very successful launch by the Mayor, Councillor Margaret O’Rourke, at the Bendigo Library on the 29th of March 2019. Approximately 50 people attended including relatives of some of the nurses featured in the book. Several nurses who served were interviewed for the book, and also some family members provided information and photos. Each living nurse and/ or their family received a complimentary copy of the book. We also donated copies of the book to the library at Bendigo Health and National, State and Bendigo libraries.  

Copies of the book, from a limited print run of 200, are available from the Soldiers Memorial Institute Military  Museum in Pall Mall, or by contacting Jenny Trewartha on 0403574131. They will also be available at the May 2020  NDSNGA reunion. The cost is $10 plus postage. 

Murray is the guest speaker at our reunion and will be happy to sign copies of his book. 

Photos from the May 2019 book launch. 

Murray with members of the NDSNGA Inc : Rosemary  Baker, Chris Forbes, Marion Symes, Murray Poustie, Jan  Spencely, Fay Bourke, Jenny Trewartha, Margaret Coad 

From the Nurses’ Point of View……….! 
A nurse sees a guy wheeling himself frantically down the hall of the hospital so she stops him and asks what’s wrong.
He says, “I’m due to have an operation but I heard the nurse say, ‘It’s a very simple operation, don’t worry, I’m  sure it will be all right.’“
The nurse says, “That’s okay, she was just trying to comfort you. What’s so frightening about that?” The guy replies, “She was talking to the doctor!”

Bendigo Councillors Matt Emond and Malcolm  Pethybridge, Mayor Margaret O’Rourke, Murray  Poustie and Marion Symes

4 School 68 – 50 Year Graduation Reunion | 20 July 2019

L-R: Glenys Thomas (George), Janet Whelan (Brereton), Cheryl Johnson (Winzar), Sue Grogan (Gee),  Helene Porter (Wiegard), Donna Brook (O’Dwyer), Maree Vinnicombe (Theobald), Heather Martin (Pell),  Myra Douglas (Nalder), Dawn Oswald (Tarren) behind Maxine; Maxine Gray (Gray), Joan Cleven  (Voutier) Val Davies (Brown), – behind Joan; Judi Besley (McAlister) and Pam Van Kempen

L-R: Janet Whelan (Brereton), June Brereton (Kiefel), Elaine Holshier  (Dorman), Janese (Styles) (Photo: Pauline Taylor (McLeod)

Echuca Reunion 12 October 2019 

Bendigo Trained Nurses  League Reunion 
7th March 2020 
Kangaroo Flat Sports Centre 
Contact: Wendy Wilkinson
Ph: 0402916175

5 School 74, 3rd August 2019 — Celebrating 50 years from  commencement of training. 

School 74 reunion on 3rd August 2020 Contact: Elspeth McKay 

School 71 Get–together 2019 


L-R: Jan Crowe, Elspeth McKay, Sue Harris, Myrtle Eickert,  Sandra Pickering (Leech), Carmel Heaney (Walsh), Denise  Rodda (Harrower) and Toni Carringon (Prentice) 

School 74: 

L-R: Bev Carter (Johnson), Julie Edwards (Cameron), Pauline Taylor (McLeod),  Marg Nuttall, Julie Burnett (White), Diane Williams (Lane), Angela Evans  (Hoye), Ruth Lackovic (Perrin), Chris Forbes (Lindrea), Jenny Makeham  (Myers), Judi Sewell. Front: Marg Anderson (Dwyer) and Marg Coad (Boyle)  


Remembrance Day 2019 Jan Spencely and Joan O’Shea attended the service and laid our wreath which is in the school’s colours. Don’t forget to let us know about any reunions and send photos for inclusion in future newsletters or on Facebook.Remembrance Day 2019 Jan Spencely and Joan O’Shea attended the service and laid our wreath which is in the school’s colours. Don’t forget to let us know about any reunions and send photos for inclusion in future newsletters or on Facebook.


Where are they now? 

Mrs Meran Pease (School 96) —last known address—41 Roy Street, WANGARATTA 3677 

Mrs Christine Prosser (School 99) – last known address—5/10 Varram Way, WEST LAKES SHORE SA 5020 Mrs Helen Pettifer (School 94) – no address 

Mrs Shirley Collier (School 31) – last known address—63 Pitman Street, CHEWTON 345 



LaTrobe University Archives at Bundoora holds two collections of records relating to your time as a  student of the Northern District School of Nursing . These are: 

20017/106 Student Record Cards, 1950-1987 

2008/031 Student Assessment & Correspondence Files 

To assist you in your choice of records to access, a detailed description of these collections has been  provided to the NDSNGA Inc. 

In applying to have access to your records, please follow the steps below: 

Email: Records& and include the following details: Your name (including your maiden name where applicable) 

Your date of birth 

The collection/s (see above) you would like to access 

Records Services will then scan your records and attach these in a return email Should alternative arrangements be necessary due to, for example, the unavailability of email or a  preference to view the records in person, please contact the Manager, Records Services on   (03) 94792056. Please note that records can be viewed in person at either the Bundoora or  Bendigo campuses. 

It is also noted that some files are missing (or currently misplaced) as in the case of School 67. 


Badges: Limited number of NDSN Badges (the 1972 design) $25 each includes postage 

Books: ‘The First of its Kind :Nurse Education and Training at the Northern District School of Nursing’ @ $40 plus $15  p&p – limited number left. We will take names (and money) for a new print round if necessary.  Commemorative Mugs: from the 2000 reunion @ $6– each plus p&p. Only 5 left.  

School Photos: Schools— 27, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 67,68,  69, 70 (These photos are sized 17.7cm X 12.7cm) : 25, 27, 39, 41 (These photos are sized 20.2cm X 15.1cm) Cost for Photos: $3 or $5 posted 

Contact: Asst Secretary Jenny Pata, PO Box 509 Bendigo 3552 , 0411 799 202 or email : 

President Marion and the Committee wish everyone a  

Merry Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year. We  

look forward to seeing you at the reunion in May 2020.