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Awarded for service to Health, service to Defence
Born: 20 August 1877
Died: 29 July 1956
Entered on roll: 2009
Emmeline Wellard was born in North-West Tasmania in 1877. She was one of nine children. Emmeline eventually moved to Launceston and began training as a nurse.
Emmeline trained at both the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women and the Launceston General Hospital, qualifying with first class honours in 1906.
In 1916, Emmeline enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service and set sail for India. She was posted to British hospitals in Bombay and Deolali, caring for wounded soldiers from the campaigns in the Middle East.
In 1918, Emmeline was one of five Australian nurses posted to the British hospital at Bushire, Persia. This was a 150 bed hospital and was the only one near the Mesopotamia front staffed by Australian nurses. Conditions were harsh and difficult, with severe dust storms lasting days, intense heat and sometimes torrential rain.
These nurses had little time for breaks from work with convoys of sick and injured soldiers. As well as war injuries, soldiers suffered from many diseases such as malaria, cholera and smallpox. It was at Bushire that she was Mentioned in Despatches for her service.
On her way home, in May 1919, Emmeline volunteered to serve in the North-West Frontier region of India, just as the Afghan tribes began a revolt against British rule. Only seven Australian nurses served in what became known as the Third Afghan War.
Emmeline was commended for her “gallant and distinguished services in the field” and was awarded the Royal Red Cross, an imperial decoration received by only a few Tasmanian nurses. She also received the British War Medal, Victory Medal, British General Service Medal and the India General Service Medal. Emmeline was one of the most highly awarded Tasmanian nurses to serve in the Great War. She returned to nursing in Tasmania and died in Ulverstone on 29 July 1956.