Effie Mary Garden

Honour roll location: Pillar 5C

Feature story location: Pillar 5A

Effie Garden was a capable nurse who was entrusted with jobs that women often were not permitted to undertake. She was from Serpentine. At age 25 she enlisted in June 1915 after having passed her nursing examinations in May 1914. She nursed in Bendigo until she was sent overseas.

Effie Garden as pictured in The Age, 21st of April 1984, p. 20

Effie said she enlisted because,

“I just felt it was my duty to go”

(The Age, 21st of April 1984, p. 20).

Removing shrapnel by herself
Stationed in Egypt first, Effie was impressed by the way all the nurses got on so well. They were moved around often and could be sent anywhere at any time, taking care of both themselves and wounded troops. Never concerned for her own safety, Effie worked at the British No. 12 Casualty Clearing Station in Proven, France as part of a surgical team. She was often required to use a scalpel to take out pieces of shell. This was unusual for the time; nurses were not normally taught how to do these procedures.
Effie also helped to open a new hospital for infectious diseases. There the nurses had to scrub their instruments and boil them to stop the spread of infection.

Royal Red Cross Medal
Effie received the Royal Red Cross medal (2nd class) in September 1919. It was awarded for her ‘valuable service with the Armies in France and Flanders’.

Royal Red Cross Medal

Upon her return home in 1919, Effie witnessed first-hand the dramatic effects the war had on nurses, with some unable to ‘return to nursing’.

Effie later married John Garfield Fussell in 1920.



Mary Helen Davidson

Honour roll location: Pillar 5A

Mary Davidson was born in Serpentine. When Mary enlisted at 33 years old in 1917, she already had experience as a nurse. She had previously nursed at St Vincent’s Hospital for 3 years. At the time of enlistment, Mary was living and working at ‘Louda’ Private Hospital in Elsternwick.

Nursing aboard a ship
She arrived in Bombay (Mumbai) on the 30th of July, 1917. There she served in the Colaba War Hospital which tended mostly to wounded British troops. In December 1918, Mary transferred to the hospital ship ‘Vita’. She remained there until her return to Australia in April, 1919.

Mary Helen Davidson (left) with sisters Elizabeth and Francis.
Image courtesy of East Loddon Historical Society.