Please find enclosed media release and cover shots of More than Bombs and Bandages Australian Army nurses at work in World War 1 by Kirsty Harris who is originally from Launceston, Tasmania.
Based on her CEW Bean Prize winning PhD thesis, Harris new book is far removed from the ‘devotion to duty’ stereotyping of Nurses, offering instead an intriguing and sometimes gut wrenching insight into the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) during World War I.
Australian nurses came from all around Australia – from both metropolitan and country areas; they represented more than 170 training hospitals.
Nearly 90 nurses served overseas with the AIF in WWI, 14 born in Launceston, and around 24 from Northern Tasmania. Some of the descendants of these amazing ladies still live in Tasmania today.
Harris hopes that her work will allow those both inside and outside the nursing world to gain a better appreciation of the work these nurses did during WW1.
More than Bombs and Bandages will be launched in Canberra by Major General John Caligari and Deputy Chief of Army, Major General Paul Symon. 10.30am Wednesday 2 March 2011, R1 Foyer, Russel Offices, Canberra.
Kirsty Harris will be speaking at The Shrine of Remembrance, free Public Lecture series 12.30pm. Friday 25 February
Kirsty Harris is available for interview.
More than Bombs and Bandages tells of a time when nurses had greater influence over whether a patient lived or died, and records nursing practices long since removed from Australian hospitals. Australian Army nursing practices in World War I were very different to working in Australian hospitals. These amazing nurses, whose previous experiences ‘back home’ would have provided little understanding for the requirements of war, proved that they would do anything in an emergency; and that their work in fighting for soldiers’ life was as important as the battles for terrain or power. More than Bombs and Bandages reveals how these Australian women responded to the increasing scope of their nursing roles and skills; the military, environments, people, places and differing diseases and war wounds that the AANS experienced would ultimately change facets of nursing practices for the benefit of all.
About the Author : Born in Launceston, Tasmania
Kirsty Harris was born in Launceston, Tasmania and lived there until she was 16 when she moved to Canberra. She attended went to school at East Launceston Primary, Kings Meadows High and Launceston Matriculation College. Post high school, she joined the Australian Army and served both as a private soldier and officer in Signals Corps (RASIGS) in Sydney, Melbourne, Toowoomba and Wagga. She left after ten years and went to university in Melbourne where she completed a BA in history and public relations working in the corporate sector. In 2002 she commenced her candidature for a doctorate in history, researching the work and work practices of nurses in the Australian Army during World War I.
Harris’s interest was sparked when she began researching her grandmother, Staff Nurse Bessie Proudfoot, military postings in the Australian Army Nursing Service in World War 1. General research revealed some details of Bessie’s nursing career, but not enough for Kirsty or her sister (a registered nurse) to discover what she ‘actually did.’ This book is the result of trying to find out. (Staff Nurse Bessie appears on the front cover: She is standing at the base of the tree stump, second from left, squinting into the morning sun.)
Kristy’s research had an unintended but valuable outcome. On commencing her research she discovered there was no complete nominal roll in existence of the women who served their country, nearly 5 years later, Kirsty has compiled a list of those nurses who served in the AANS. This unofficial nominal role appears in More than Bombs and Bandage. She continues to update this as more information comes to light.