Nursing Sister

   Sister Hines (NLA)
Sister FE Hines
From The Australasian
7 Jul 1900 p27


Born in 1864, Frances Hines, known to her friends as Fanny, was the fourth daughter of Patrick and Eleanor Hines.1  A trained nurse she embarked on the Euryalus in March 1900, as one of a group of ten Victorian nursing sisters, accompanying the Third Bushmen’s Contingent 2

By the end of April the nurses were in Salisbury, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), after an eventful trip by train and truck.  Sister Annie Thomson’s letter describing the journey and the various acts of kindness shown them, was printed on 5 June 1900 in the Melbourne Argus.  Whilst accommodations offered in the towns were for the most part acceptable, the nursing conditions in most places were extremely primitive.  A New South Wales Nursing Sister, Annie Matchett, based in Bloemfontein, wrote of the hardships faced by nurses:

Candles are very scarce; wood and coal are scarce also.  It is most difficult to get hot water at night.  We all have spirit lamps, but no methylated spirit is to be had in town.  All the shops are empty.  There are a great many deaths here.  We counted 20 funerals in one day.  They have no coffins, the dead are merely stitched up in grey blankets and carried to the cemetery on stretchers, with the Union Jack thrown over.  For an officer’s funeral they have a gun carriage.  All day long a fatigue party is kept working in the cemetery.3

Sisters Anderson, Rawson, Walter and Thomson, were also based with Sister Hines in Rhodesia.  In Sister Ellen Walter’s letter of 15 July 1900 she wrote

Sister Frances Hines is at Enkeldoorn but we expect her here soon.  She has been a long time alone there.4

On 7 August 1900, following a severe case of pneumonia, Fanny Hines died at the Memorial Hospital, Bulawayo.  Her friend, Sister Julia Anderson wrote that Fanny Hines:

… died of an attack of pneumonia contracted in devotion to duty.  She was quite alone with as many as twenty-six patients at one time, no possibility of assistance or relief and without sufficient nourishment.5

She was buried with full military honours in Bulawayo cemetery.  Her headstone was erected by the Victorian nurses and Bushmen.

Sister Hines' grave Bulawayo (Trish Woodman 1997)
Sister Hines' grave
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

(Trish Woodman 1997)

1 Death Notice, Argus, August 1900.

2 Official History of the Australians in South Africa, P L Murray, Melbourne 1911.

3 The Australians at the Boer War, Robert L Wallace, Canberra, 1976.

4 ibid.

5 Guns and Brooches - Australian Army Nursing from the Boer War to the Gulf War, Jan Bassett, Melbourne, 1997.

9 April 2002