Jane Perry HANDLEY

HANDLEY, Jane Perry

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Not yet discovered
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Rockhampton, Qld., 16 June 1877
Home Town: Rockhampton, Rockhampton, Queensland
Schooling: Camdenville Public School
Occupation: Nursing Sister
Died: Paris, France, 16 April 1937, aged 59 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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Help us honour Jane Perry Handley's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Help us honour Jane Perry Handley's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Daughter of Samuel Heely HANDLEY and Mary de Vis nee STOCKER

Jane was employed from before 1897 to late 1901 at Lismore Hospital, 60 Uralba Street, Lismore, New South Wales.  In 1901 Miss Perry Handley, head nurse of Lismore Hospital, who has obtained an appointment in the Coast Hospital, Little Bay.

Perry was employed from 8 Nov 1901 to Feb 1905 at Coast Hospital, 1430 Anzac Parade, Little Bay, New South Wales

The Northern Star, of Lismore, on Wed. 6 Nov 1901, reported:-

     PRESENTATION TO NURSE HANDLEY, — On Monday afternoon a very pleasing function took place in the School of Arts, Lismore, when a number of the lady friends of Miss Perry Handley, head nurse in the Lismore Hospital, assembled to bid her good-bye on the eve of her departure for Sydney to take a position in the Coast Hospital, Little Bay. After partaking of refreshments provided by the ladies, his Worship the Mayor (Alderman J. Barrie, J.P.), in a pleasing speech said among the many duties devolving upon him as Mayor he felt honored at being asked to preside at this ceremony. He asked Miss Handley's acceptance of a brooch from the ladies as a small souvenir of the esteem in which she was held. Whilst all regretted her departure, all sincerely hoped to hear of her promotion in the noble profession which she had chosen, that of alleviating the sufferings of those placed in her care, and that she would receive a full share of the good things of this life. He read an address, signed by the ladies. Dr. A. Parker, the senior medical officer of the Hospital, returned thanks for Miss Handley, and in very complimentary terms said he could not let the opportunity pass without saying a few words on behalf of the Matron and staff of the Hospital. While they all knew promotion was Miss Handley's gain, still it was their loss, for her amiable disposition had endeared her to them all. There never was a nurse in the Hospital so deserving of their esteem in every way, and the Matron and the medical men much regretted her departure. Miss Handley left yesterday afternoon by the "City of Grafton", for Sydney.

Perry was employed from 1908 to 1913 at University of California Hospital, 2nd Avenue & Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, California, United States of America.

Nurse Miss Handley and Mrs. Whitney’s Flying Ambulance Hospital

      In early 1914 Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II (1843-1899) and the wife of millionaire banker Harry Payne Whitney (1872-1930), contacted former Ambassador to France and President of the Board of Governors of the American Ambulance Hospital of Paris, Robert Bacon, with the proposal of financing a new American hospital in France. The offer was quickly accepted and communicated to the French government by the Hospital Committee.   Under the guidance of Ambassador Bacon, a contingent of six doctors and 14 nurses were contracted for a period of no less than six months duration. These physicians and nurses, along with Mrs. Whitney and Ambassador Bacon set sail for France aboard the RMS Lusitania in November 1914. The superintendent of these nurses was an Australian woman named Jane Perry Handley. Miss Handley who went by the first name “Perry” had received her initial medical training in Australia before immigrating to Canada in 1908. By 1910 Nurse Handley had relocated to San Francisco for a postgraduate course in surgical nursing; at the University of California. She completed a postgraduate course at Women's Surgical Hospital of New York and studied at Mayo Clinic Cleveland, under Doctor George Washington Crile. By January 1914 she was the Lady Superintendent at University Hospital in San Francisco, California. She was hired by Ambassador Bacon upon the express recommendations of Dr. Crile. The site chosen for this new hospital was the little village of Juilly, Seine et Marne located approximately 25 miles to the east of Paris. The hospital itself was housed in the ancient Collége de Juilly which was a school dating back to the 13th century.

     Nurse Handley remained at Mrs. Whitney’s Hospital at the Collegé du Juilly for the remainder of the war. In 1917 when the United States Army assumed control of the hospital, she was inducted into the American Red Cross as Chief Nurse of American Red Cross Hospital #107. After the Armistice she treated wounded and typhus patients in Poland and Serbia. Miss Handley remained in Paris after the war and passed away in 1937.[1]

     The Northern Star, of Lismore, on Wed. 20 Jan 1915, reported:-



     Nurse Perry Handley, sister of Mrs. (Dr.) Connor, for some time on the staff of the Lismore Hospital, and afterwards superintendent of one of the largest American hospitals, is in France in charge of the surgical staff of the hospital of a wealthy American lady. In the last letter received, which was written in Paris, she tells how they were in hospital working very hard preparing surgical dressings for the front for a month's work. They did not know what moment they would start or what their destination would be. Every evening the nurses attended French classes and only French was spoken everywhere. They were getting quite fluent. Among other news she said that in one ward of the hospital there were 500 British wounded, and on the whole they were very cheerful. There was, she said, no shortage of food in Paris, and the nurses' quarters were particularly comfortable, and the nearest to home cooking of food it could possibly be.[1]


     The Northern Star, of Lismore, on Tue. 26 Jan 1915, reported:-



     The last mail from England brought a letter from Nurse Lindsay Gray, extracts from which, no doubt, will be of interest to her many friends here. Writing on 10th ultimo she writes :— We were told to be in readiness to leave for France at an hour's notice, and we obeyed orders. Then the unit that went out before us returned, and some members of our unit were in the train, bound for Folkestone, en route to Paris, when they were sent back. It seems they are sending no more nurses out; that our men are being brought to England. On Saturday, 28th November, our unit was ordered here to Brighton, in response to an urgent wire from the War Office for twenty supervising sisters, with the promise that if any more should be sent abroad we should be with them. There is a beautiful Royal pavilion here, used as a palace by King George IV., and our King has asked on account of its Oriental appearance that it should be given over as a hospital for the Indians. The Corporation of Brighton has given this pavilion, with the county schools, making in all about 1200 beds. We are located in a large house taken over also by the War Office, about twenty minutes' walk from the hospitals. So far no patients have arrived. The reason given is that troops are being embarked at Southampton and the Admiralty will not allow the ships to dock until the embarkation is completed. As we have been here nearly two weeks, and our patients have been in three ships all this time, lying in Southampton waters, they surely must be nearly or quite ready to return to the front. I have been given a section with 95 beds. When we do get going it should be most interesting, for there are many castes. The senior officers, and in fact I think the juniors also, of the R.A.M.C. have all seen long service in India and speak Hindustani fluently and know their customs well, so have been giving us many bits of advice. We each have an English medical officer, an Indian one (with English diploma), and crowds of orderlies and Indian sweepers. We have all been furiously studying French in London, ready for foreign service. Now we have to put our mind to Hindustani. After learning a little Fijian and Hindustani in Suva, a little Hawaiian in Honolulu, then French, now more Hindustani, I begin to wonder what country I originally came from. The Brighton people are very curious about the Indians. All day you will see crowds of people up on the railings of the pavilion, peering over. On the other side are the Indian sweepers, who exchange long looks of curiosity. You will see a group of English people staring stolidly through the rails at an equally stolidly staring group of Indians. It does look so funny. Whilst we were waiting in London we made the most of our time, and there surely cannot be any place in all the world like London? It is full of delights. I have seen and heard all the best artistes, among them our own little Australian, Maria Lohr, Constance Collier, Ruth Vincent, Matheson Lang, and last, but not least, Mdme. Kirby Lunn, who sang as an encore "Three Fishers." We have seen the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the Lord Mayor's procession, King and Queen's procession on their way to open Parliament, the Guards' chapel, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, with its wonderful whispering gallery, Lord Hobarts' funeral, and crowds of other equally interesting ceremonies. Matron Gray, of Dongravald {a private hospital in Lismore}, has taken charge of a hospital of 80 beds in Kent, just waiting for her chance of service abroad. Her patients are English and Belgians. They have a very fine orchestra here in Brighton, under the conductorship of Mr. Lyell Taylor. They give entertainments in the Aquarium Winter Garden (since the pavilion has been taken from them) and we enjoy them greatly: six-pence admission. We expect a visit from the King and Queen next week, when the patients are in and the place all in order. Miss Perry Handley went across to Paris with a number of American nurses, but when last we heard she was still there but doing nothing. Of course they may be working now. Such numbers of Australians in London at present. We meet friends everywhere. If our patients are not here by Monday next three of us are going up to London to see "the powers that be" about the possibility of going abroad.