Sister Nellie Constance Morrice

Australian Army Nursing Service

Daughter of David and Sarah Morrice, Nellie was born in 1881 at Eling Forest near Berrima, the property first settled by her grandfather, John Morrice, in 1835. She trained at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital betwen 1903 and 1907 after which she completed a midwifery course at the Royal Hospital for Women at Paddington.

In 1910 she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service, a reserve unit aimed at providing a pool of qualified civilian nurses in times of war. At the outbreak of World War I she volunteered immediately and sailed on HMAT Kyarra with the No 2 Australian General Hospital in November 1914. After service in Mena, Ghesirah, Lemnos and Ismalia, she was transferred to England and then to the No 3 Australian General Hospital at Abbeville in France. In June 1918, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross, a decoration for exceptional services in military nursing. She returned to Australia as Matron on HMAT Demosthenes in March 1919. Four of Nellie’s five brothers also served during the war and remarkably, all survived.

Nellie’s post-war career included an appointment as Matron of George’s Heights Military Hospital at Mosman and later Sub-Matron at Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. In 1923 she became Secretary of the Bush Nursing Association which focussed on midwifery and the care of infants in rural areas. Nellie was awarded the MBE for her services to nursing in 1934.

Original photo of Nellie Morrice taken while  on duty in France between 1914 and 1916

Original photo of Nellie Morrice taken while  on duty in France between 1914 and 1916

Photo of Ealing (Eling) Forest, the family home  of Nellie Morrice, taken early 1900s

Photo of Ealing (Eling) Forest, the family home  of Nellie Morrice, taken early 1900s

Photo of Nellie Morrice taken by ‘Frank’ while on active duty overseas, location unknown

Photo of Nellie Morrice taken by ‘Frank’ while on active duty overseas, location unknown

Inlaid brass trinket box crafted in Egypt.  A gift from Nellie to her brother Wilson Holt Morrice.

Inlaid brass trinket box crafted in Egypt.  A gift from Nellie to her brother Wilson Holt Morrice.

Silk postcard from Peronne, France, 1917.  Acquired by Nellie for family in Australia

Silk postcard from Peronne, France, 1917.  Acquired by Nellie for family in Australia

Tobacco case brought back by Nellie from Egypt  as a gift for her brother, Wilson Holt Morrice

Tobacco case brought back by Nellie from Egypt  as a gift for her brother, Wilson Holt Morrice

Silk postcard from Armentieres-St Roch, France, 1914. Acquired by Nellie for family in Australia

Silk postcard from Armentieres-St Roch, France, 1914. Acquired by Nellie for family in Australia

All items in this collection were passed on to Helen Morrice Graham  (Wilson Morrice’s daughter), then later to Jeremy Graham, her son.

On loan from Jeremy Graham