On the morning of February 27th 2016, a special ceremony was held at the Ballarat Old Cemetery to commemorate the service of Annie Westcott AANS (1875 – 1951) and the memory of all the forgotten nurses of WW1.
Ballarat Girl Guides were in attendance and performed the colour party at the service. The ceremony included a plaque unveiling, wreath laying, poppy placement and a minute of silence.
Annie Maynard Westcott was born at Leigh Creek in Victoria. At age 24, she trained as a nurse at the Ballarat Base Hospital (January 1899 to 1902) then served as a
- Sister at Mayborough District Hospital
- Matron at Inglewood for 16 years
- Matron at Maldon for 2 years
Annie enlisted with Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) in 1915 when she was 40 years old. She was a Staff Nurse with the 1st Australian General Hospital and helped with the sick and injured soldiers being evacuated from Gallipoli. Annie continued to nurse soldiers on her return boat trip home in 1916 and worked with the AANS until she resigned in 1917. Annie married Frederick Smith in 1917.
Annie died on 10 May 1951 aged 76 and was buried with her brother at the Ballarat Old Cemetery (F1, Section 9, Row 1, Grave 26). Her grave was unmarked.
When the Ballarat Trained Nurses League realised that Annie was lying anonymously, they raised funds for a memorial to be placed on her grave. They wanted to ensure that she would be recognised and remembered for the service she gave to her country during WW1.
A plaque was unveiled by Sarah Birtle (President, Ballarat Base Hospital Trained Nurses League) and Judy Verlin (Chair, Ballarat General Cemeteries Trust).
Ms Birtle said
“It’s more than Annie’s story, it’s about acknowledging all the nurses that went to war,”