Honour roll location: Pillar 5C

Feature story location: Pillar 5A

Winifred Garden was the daughter of Alexander and Annie Garden (nee Todd). Annie (born 1885) and Alexander (born 1841) had eight children: four daughters and four sons. Winifred and her sister Effie both served in World War One as nurses.

Nurse Winifred Garden. Image uploaded to Ancestry.com by user DLG1244

Winifred was born in 1887 in Penhurst, Victoria. Her mother passed away when she was 5 years old. The Garden family lived at Albert Park, Serpentine which was originally built by the mining magnate Lansell family of Bendigo. Her father, Alexander was a caretaker there.

The Albert Park homestead c. 1920.
Image courtesy of the East Loddon Historical Society.

Winifred became a trained nurse at Geelong hospital in 1916 and the next year (1917) on the 11th of July she enlisted as a staff nurse in the Australian Army Medical Corps unit at the age of 30. Her next of kin was her father, Alexander Garden who lived in Yaralla, Western Australia at the time.

Winifred embarked for war from Melbourne on the transport vessel ‘Wiltshire’ on the 31st August 1917. On the 9th of October 1917 she joined the 78th General Hospital Alexandra, Egypt for duty.

Nurse Winifred Garden.
Image from Virtual War Memorial of Australia, supplied by Faithe Jones

Serving in harsh conditions

On the 13th of June, 1918 she embarked for Salonika aboard the ‘Gorgon’. She arrived and was marched in on the 22nd of June, 1918. Salonika was in Greece and was the site of fighting between the Allied forces (French, British and Serbian) and the Bulgarian/German forces.

The conditions at Salonika, Greece required grit and determination to endure day after day. The water had to be treated as it was of poor quality and malaria was common. Matron McHardie White- the nurse in charge of all others in Salonika- wrote that ‘most of the nurses were affected by it [malaria] one time or another…’ Many nurses had to be sent home to Australia due to their illnesses. Matron McHardie White also noted the difficulty of obtaining fresh food and the harsh winter conditions. It was so cold during winter that hot water bottles, ink and medicines often froze overnight.

The Sisters’ quarters at the 60th General Hospital, Hortiach, near Salonika. This gives a sense of how exposed the nurses were to the elements, particularly during winter.
Copied from the collection of Sister Violet Hilda Kellick.

In the first few months of 1919, the Australian nurses left Salonika after treating British, French and Canadian soldiers, and Bulgarian Prisoners of War. As no Australian soldiers served in Greece, many Australian nurses never got the chance to tend to ‘our boys’.

The journey home

On the 23rd of January 1919 Winifred embarked for the United Kingdom. She reported for duty at the 3rd Australian Auxillary Hospital in Dartford and in February, she was treated there for her own illness. She was sent home to Australia due to ongoing problems with absesses. Winifred left England on the 18th of July 1919 transported by the ship “Orsova”.

The SS Orsova

Life after the war

Winifred married William Helliar Long on Tuesday the 6th of June 1922. William enlisted in the army / flying corps during World War One when he was a medical student (1918) but he was not called up for duty after the AIF was demobilised. They had two children: Winifred Mary (b. 1923) and Robert Alexander (b. 1925).

William, Winifred’s husband also served as a Medical Practioner in World War Two. In July 1941 Dr Long accidently injured his right knee cartilage on a cupboard whilst on duty.  He was hospitalised for a while then returned to special duty for short time. In December 1942 his appointment was terminated as medically unfit for duty and he was placed on the retired list.