Lieutenant Margaret Hopcraft
"This Koala holds many of my memories"
Lieutenant Terrie Ross
“I took three Australian icons to Vietnam, a little wombat, a kangaroo and a Kookaburra, they always reminded me of home”
Lieutenant Patricia Kennedy
“This letter opener was given to me by one of the soldiers”
Lieutenant Leslie Simken
“My most valuable memory is my veil, it has given me respect, dignity and courage during my time in Vietnam”
Lieutenant Trish Ferguson
“A picture of me at that time”
Lieutenant Fayette Lewis
“When I returned from Vietnam I listened to this record over and over again, I now can’t listen to it any longer”
A total of 43 Australian Army Nursing Sisters served in Vietnam between April 1967 and November 1971.
Undertaking tours of up to 12 months, these nurses were assigned to a military hospital in a war zone with no advance preparation for what they would encounter. Caring for horrifically injured soldiers straight from the frontline, understaffed with only using basic equipment, the conditions were like nothing they had ever experienced.
These dedicated nursing veterans share a common story of caring and coping with the harsh realities of the Vietnam War. I asked them if they kept a token or souvenir – something they took to Vietnam or something they brought home.
This project was inspired by the book Tears on My Pillow by Narelle Biedermann and the SBS documentary Vietnam Nurses by Polly Watkins & Beth Frey.