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state library of queensland
John Oxley Library

Sharing Stories of Service: Dr Kim Morgan Short

By Elita Machin, Visitor Services Assistant, Anzac Square Memorial Galleries | 23 March 2022

Woman in Australian defence fatigues with stethescope around neck

Dr Kim Morgan-Short. Courtesy State Library of Queensland, Dr Kim Morgan-Short Digital Story, Record no. 21235373830002061

I’m a mother of a serving member, I’m a wife of a serving member, I’m a widow of a serving member and I am a serving member, and I am a veteran. So I don’t think there’s too many of me out there.

The military has always played a role in Kim Morgan-Short’s life. Her father was a national serviceman and, as a child, she always imagined a medical career through the Australian Defence Force (ADF). She realised this ambition when she joined the Army Reserves after graduating university as a doctor.

Head and shoulders of man wearing Australian defence flight suit

Kim Morgan-Short’s first husband. Courtesy State Library of Queensland, Dr Kim Morgan-Short Digital Story, Record no. 21235373830002061

Kim met her first husband- an F-111 pilot- through the defence force. They were posted at the Amberley base when he was sent to Malaysia for a routine four-week detachment. While on an exercise with his navigator, his plane crashed and he was sadly killed. At the age of 34, Kim was now a war widow and left to raise three children under the age of 10.  

In her grief, Kim found support by connecting with other war widows: 

...I think over the years I’ve realised that what people don’t do well is death. They don’t know how to manage it, they don’t know how to handle it, and they don’t necessarily know how to deal with the people who have to pick up the pieces afterwards…I became quite close with other widows who kind of tried to change the culture and I’d like to think that we did.

Kim was determined to use this experience for good. From 2010 to 2013, she served on the State Council of the War Widows’ Guild of Queensland, an organisation which advocates for families affected by military deaths. The important work of this group is acknowledged by a plaque in Anzac Square’s Post-1945 Gallery.

War Widows' Guild of Australia (Qld) metal plaque

The War Widows’ Guild Plaque at Anzac Square. Courtesy Anzac Square Memorial Galleries.

After her husband’s death, Kim continued her military career. In 2016 she was deployed to the Middle East as a squadron leader medical officer in the RAAF Specialist Reserve. She has also served on a number of advisory committees, including Legacy. 

Kim also found love again through the military: 

The navigator Stephen Hobbs, nicknamed Nige, who died with my husband had been on exchange in the UK…navigating Tornado aircraft. And it just so happens that Nige had flown with a guy called Stewart Morgan. He said he was in Kuwait at the time…during the no-fly zone protection. He came out of a bunker when Shorty and Nige were killed and he said, ‘I looked at my phone, I got a text saying Nige was killed.’ And he said, ‘I imagined- I wonder who the pilot was, I wonder if I knew him, and I wonder if he was married.’ And he said he never imagined that he would then marry the widow and raise that pilot’s children. So we got married…

Man in flight uniform standing with woman in front of a group of people in defence uniforms

Kim with her second husband, Stewart Morgan. Courtesy State Library of Queensland, Dr Kim Morgan-Short Digital Story, Record no. 21235373830002061

Kim currently works as a civilian general practitioner with a special interest and expertise in aviation medicine and women’s health for the Australian Defence Force. Her story is featured as part of State Library’s 2022 Anzac Day Campaign.  

This year we will be featuring 15 stories of service personnel from WWI to present. We encourage you to share your stories of service with us. To learn more about this campaign and how you can contribute, visit our website.

Further Reading 

Dr Kim Morgan-Short Digital Story and Transcript


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