Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The cost of war

A dreadful war … more like wholesale slaughter…
(Alice Kitchen, quoted in Heroic Australian women in war)

Sister Alice Kitchen, whose mother, her next of kin, lived in Brunswick, wrote a three volume diary of her experience of the war. Her papers, including the diary, are in the Manuscript Collection of the State Library of Victoria. Here she describes in stark detail the experience of nursing Australian wounded from 1915 until the end of the war. If you want to read more about what conditions were like for the wounded and dying, I highly recommend you find out more about Alice Kitchen’s war. A good starting point is Susanna de Vries’ Heroic Australian women in war. Chapter 3 of that book concerns Alice Kitchen’s frank and often disturbing observations. Patsy Adams-Smith has also referred to her extensively in her The Anzacs (Melbourne, Nelson, 1978).

Recommended reading:

More than bombs and bandages : Australian Army nurses at work in World War I, Kirsty Harris, Newport, N.S.W., Big Sky Publishing, 2011.

Scarlet poppies : the army experience of Australian nurses during World War One, Ruth Rae, Burwood, N.S.W., College of Nursing, 2004.

Veiled lives : threading Australian nursing history into the fabric of the first world war, Ruth Rae, Burwood, N.S.W., The College of Nursing, 2009.

The other Anzacs :  the extraordinary story of our World War I nurses,​ Peter Rees, Crows Nest, N.S.W., Allen &​ Unwin, 2009.

Heroic Australian women in war : astonishing tales of bravery from Gallipoli to Kokoda, ​ Susanna de Vries, Pymble, N.S.W., HarperCollins, 2004.

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