International Women's Day: Alice Broadhurst

Liz Pidgeon

10 March, 2021

Alice E. Broadhurst, V.A.D., 16th Australian General Hospital, Macleod. Alice Broadhurst Collection, Yarra Plenty Regional Library

This year, YPRL is celebrating International Women’s Day all week! The theme for 2021 is Choose to Challenge.

Our spotlight today is on nurse and photographer, Alice Broadhurst.

Alice Elizabeth Broadhurst was born in 1896 and spent part of her childhood in Western Australia. During World War One she worked as a voluntary aid detachment nurse with the Australian Red Cross at the Mont Park Military Hospital in Macleod.  She would have had some first aid and home nursing training, but the role was completely voluntary.  Later, as a nurse, she worked at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospitals alongside many pioneering doctors of their fields.

Alice's legacy has preserved a unique period of history at Mont Park. When it was a military hospital, it helped returned servicemen get back to 'normal' life after their wartime experience. During her time there, Alice photographed staff working and relaxing, and patients resting and taking part in “everyday life” using her box brownie camera.

Alice never married, but travelled extensively to the United Kingdom, Europe and New Zealand in the 1920's.  She passed away in 1981.

Her extensive photo collection was donated to YPRL. It has since been fully digitized and added to our Flickr page, and is also accessible via the images category on Trove.

Through her work as a VAD and nurse, Alice helped and challenged her patients to get better. Her love of photography has provided us with an invaluable historical record of places in a time that would otherwise have been lost forever, but which now help enable us to connect with that past, today.

Search Wikinorthia for more stories about local women and be sure to visit the other posts in this blog series — we'll be publishing one each day throughout the week.

You can also visit our curated list on the catalogue for recommended reading from our collection to celebrate International Women's Day 2021.

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