Elizabeth Burchill SRN RM TC OAM

Elizabeth Burchill SRN RM TC OAM

Sometimes magic does happen. Several days ago I was privileged to come across this book, Innaminka, published 1960,  by Elizabeth Burchill. Sister Burchill was one of my childhood heroes, along with Betty Jeffery, RN, OAM  and Matron Vivian Bullwinkel, RN, AO , MBE , ARRC, ED. These women were extraordinary women, each one of whom has had an indelible impact on Australian history. Sadly today their names are fading from memory.

Role models for a generation of  young girls  in the post-war period,they endured hardship and deprivation. They did not ask to be heroes and  went about their daily work  unencumbered by the trappings of fame.

Innaminka  is  a story of the pioneering days of Australian Nursing. It features the work of the Australian Inland Mission Nursing Service at Innaminka in the days before ‘Flynn’s Flying Doctors’ reached into the heart of the Outback.  This wonderful book complete with dust jacket just happened to come into my possession. When I opened it to my amazement and delight it has been autographed and dated by the author, The discoveries did not stop there, nestled in its pages is a roneoed copy of  the original forward document  for Sister Burchill’s autobiography  ‘The Paths I’ve Trod‘. The forward is written by E O Smith Superintendent  and Chief Surgeon of Smith Memorial Hospital, Marlin Texas.

What a privilege and honour it is to own this book, an unexpected treasure, providing insight into a slice of Australian history.

What stories these women have told and I am sure there are stories yet to be told of their valour under fire, and  their dedication not only to their chosen careers of nursing but to the country they served.

Dora Elizabeth Burchill SRN, RM, TC, OAM. b.4 January 1904 – 3 December 2003  an Australian nurse, philanthropist, and author.



Do you have an image like this?

What a story there is in this photograph. Social context can bring your family history alive.

1930s: Around 1 million people lived in Melbourne.In Australia, 300,000 were out of work, the cost of a stamp was two pence. Italian new arrival Salvatore Cosentino couldn’t get work, so he built a working model of Melbourne’s CBD and charged people three pence to view it.


Picture: courtesy of Herald Sun Image Library

How do you start?

Maria Angalou

How do you start your family history research?

The answer is simple you start with what you know. You start with your own information and work backwards, confirming documentation as you go.

Why do you do family history research? You do the research because those who went before have helped shape who you are.  In understanding their drives and who they are, you learn more about yourself.

Being part of a family group also gives a sense of belonging.

  • Everyone has a story to tell.
  • Keep a journal
  • Personal reminisces will add authenticity to your family history
  • Old letters add personal and  social commentary and help make the past come alive
  • Does one relative, in particular, stand out and ‘talk’ to you?
  • Ask yourself why am I doing this?
  • In your journal record why that person is important to you
  • Keep good research notes
  • Don’t be afraid to be creative
  • Find a record-keeping system that works for you. A quick check on google will pull up a number of good research storage methods


                                                               ‘Don’t talk about it…..do it.’

Who are we?

We are but a fragile collection of beings composed of the whispers and the shadows of the past. Who we are is determined by those who precede us. Who our children and children’s children will be, is determined by who we are today“. LM 2016

This image is of Glastonbury Abbey, rebuilt by Dunstan in the 10th century and ruined in the 16th century. Dunstan established the constitutional covenant between leader and people it remains fundamental to democracies today.http://www.britsattheirbest.com/heroes_adventurers/h_dunstan.htmGlastonbury England  the resting place of King Arthur 2.



I am having some hiccups setting up this page. Please be patient. I am having difficulty getting the categories menu to come up in the  sidebar and may have to change the format.

To find posts you currently have to scroll down the page .  Not ideal I know.  In the mean time enjoy this beautiful photograph to brighten your day. It comes  from my dear friend Jasvinder Singh who resides in Dharamsala,  India.  Thank you Jas for another beautiful image.