Penelope FRATER

FRATER, Penelope

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Sister
Last Unit: 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF
Born: Yarraman, NSW, 26 January 1869
Home Town: Narrabri, Narrabri, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Nurse
Died: 12 December 1939, aged 70 years, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Sister, New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve

World War 1 Service

20 Oct 1914: Involvement 1st Infantry Brigade Headquarters
20 Oct 1914: Embarked 1st Infantry Brigade Headquarters, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
28 Nov 1914: Involvement 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF
28 Nov 1914: Embarked 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF, HMAT Kyarra, Sydney

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Daughter of Alexander FRATER and Penelope nee HAY
From Narrabri

Penelope Frater of Narrabri trained at the Sydney Hospital before volunteering to serve with the New South Welsh contingent of nurses sent to the Boer War.

The Boer War broke out in 1899. On 17 Jan 1900, Penelope sailed with a group of 14 other nurses, on the SS Moravain. This was the first group of military nurses sent to any war from Australia, and they were paid $80.00 a year. The nurses were required to provide at their own expense, a type of wallet which was worn around the waist, called a chatelaine. These could cost up to $6.00 (a large outlay for nurses at that time) and contained instruments such as forceps, probes, scissors, spatulas, thermometer, syringes and catheters. My Aunt still had her chatelaine in the 1930's and used some of its contents. The NSW nurses were fortunate in that the government paid their fares, whereas in other states, the nurses had to pay their own passage to Africa.

Penelope and her contingent arrived in South Africa in February 1900. Some nurses were stationed in Capetown, but Penelope and three other went to a temporary hospital near Stromberg. Here they encountered many typhoid fever patients were the most trying of their nursing careers. The nurses where housed in some very primitive quarters, such as an old corn store in Bullawayo, where they often had rats running over them during the night. The camp hospitals, in which these nurses worked, consisted of tents, with six beds to a tent. One can imagine the difficulty involved in nursing patients, especially at night.

The war officially ended on 31 May 1903, but Penelope and some of her colleges were still in Ermelo at No.31, British Service Hospital until July. On her return to Australia, Penelope nursed for a time at a private hospital opened by her wartime colleagues Nellie Gould and Julia Bligh. During this time, Penelope and her working colleagues were members of the newly formed Australian Army Nursing Service.

During World War One, Penelope enlisted again to serve with the No. 2 Australian General Hospital.