Nursing in Queensland

Guest blogger: Niles Elvery - Manager, Public Access, Queensland State Archives

"The Most Honourable and Humane of all Professions". Painted design featuring a female Nurse in uniform intended as recruitment, c 1945. Queensland State Archives. Digital Image ID 22148

Queensland State Archives’ foyer exhibition The most honourable profession: Nursing in Queensland was opened earlier this year. The exhibition presents the history of nursing in Queensland, as illustrated in the state’s public records. Charting the development of nursing since the late 1800s, the exhibition displays documents, photos, medical artefacts and video to reveal the fascinating and often unrecognised work and commitment of nurses and the nursing profession.

Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, nursing was characterised by strict protocols, a keenly adhered-to hierarchy, and fear of the matron. Yet regardless of the physically demanding work, long hours, epidemics and wars, nursing offered women one of few career opportunities available, and lifelong friendships were formed.

Maternal and Child Welfare - Ipswich, March 1955. Queensland State Archives Digital Image ID 11994

As part of our exhibition on Nursing in Queensland, Queensland State Archives asked a number of retired nurses to tell of their experiences in the profession over the years, highlighting the great changes, the difficulties and the characteristic compassion of nursing. This video can be viewed on the QSA website or via YouTube.

For researchers, an online index Nurses examinations 1915-1925 has been compiled from Series ID 17342, Registers of Nurses, with Examination Results which was created by the Nurses Registration Board of Queensland. This series consists of registers recording the results of written examinations and the registration of general, mental and midwifery nurses.

Register - health practitioners, 1915-1925. Queensland State Archives Item ID 324261

An essay Nursing in Queensland by historian Margaret Cook highlights the historical significance of the nursing profession in Queensland, as illustrated in the records held within Queensland State Archives' collection.

The Image Queensland online exhibition, including photographs and documents, traces the evolution of nursing in Queensland – from the first training school at the Royal Brisbane Hospital in 1886 to the present day.

The Brief Guide: Nurses provides an administrative history of nursing agencies in Queensland and identifies the major series of records held by Queensland State Archives in relation to nurses and the nursing profession.

The exhibition The most honourable profession: Nursing in Queensland is available during Queensland State Archives opening hours from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday until June 2014. Admission is free.



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Great exhibition and really useful sources for Qld nurses at QSA

This year marks the centenary of Maternal and Child Health Nursing in Queensland

Looking for information about NURSE MASONS PRIVATE HOSPITAL, Albion Road, Albion . Brisbane.
My father was born 23 June, 1923 -Albion Road, Albion.

Hi Sandra,
The State Library of Queensland Ask Us service will be able to assist your query about the Nurse Masons Private Hospital. There is a range of online services to help you here:

I am trying to find information/photo of Nurse Mason's Private Hospital, 71 Albion Road, Albion. On my father's birth certificate - it state place of birth -Albion Road, Albion. Further searching came up with the above Private Hospital.( other people were born at this hospital, we have found. Her name was Jessie Mason. Her parents' funerals left from this address. Information from one person said that the hospital was where the start of the Albion overpass ends on the Lutwyche end.( Strangely enough Dad (David MERVYN Goeldner) and his family lived in Storkey St., Albion from 1954 - 2002. Your help will be most appreciated. I live in hope. Kind regards, Sandra (Sandi) Goeldner McKenzie.

Hi, If you would like to fill in our online enquiry form with your details, one of our helpful librarians might be able to assist you with your question -