Macleod Repatriation Sanatorium for returned WW1 soldiers

Tuberculosis
Control of tuberculosis (TB, sometimes called ‘consumption’) became an issue in Victoria from the 19th century and Dr Dan Gresswell was responsible for much of the initial policy, procedures and medical treatments.  Treatment involved quarantining patients and ensuring better sanitary conditions for the population generally. https://www.montparktospringthorpe.com/721-2/
Government–run sanatoria were set up at places like Greenvale and on the Mont Park Hospital site. These were on tracts of Crown Land and some parts of these areas remain as natural bushy Reserves to this day.
By the 1950s and 1960s TB infection was being successfully controlled by new drugs, and the spread of TB and other contagious diseases like diphtheria, scarlet fever, measles, whooping cough, meningitis and polio were being contained. See https://www.montparktospringthorpe.com/gresswell-and-tuberculosis/
WWI and TB
Many soldiers returning from the early years of WWI had contracted TB in the trenches of Europe, and came back in very poor health.
The No. 1 Military Sanatorium Macleod was opened in 1916 to provide care for military veterans with tuberculosis, catering exclusively for soldiers, see https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/155086241
It was located on the eastern slope of Gresswell Hill in the Mont Park hospitals complex.

 
Other private TB Hospitals were available for civilian patients, including the large Gresswell Sanatorium/Sanatarium which opened in 1933 on the north-east slope of Gresswell Hill. See https://www.montparktospringthorpe.com/gresswell-and-tuberculosis/
The Gresswell Hill site for Macleod and Gresswell Sanatoria was chosen as it was isolated, yet part of the Mont Park Mental Hospitals precinct. The hospitals could share resources including medical and service staff. Furthermore there were Melbourne suburbs close enough to ensure people could be recruited to work at the Sanatoria. Less medical staff were needed in a Sanatorium ward than in Mont Park asylum wards, because the TB patients were mobile and capable of helping with the cleaning and meals, and were not receiving any medications.
Since it was a Sanatorium, patients were to be exposed to fresh air and sunlight to aid their recovery, and could do light work. Visitors came via the railway to Macleod or Watsonia stations which were about a mile away (1500 m). Families also came from Heidelberg station. The Red Cross generously provided cars to pick up visitors from the stations.

Until 1964 a goods train rail line came up into the Mont Park site from Macleod station and materials were brought up for constructing and refurbishing the wards. Also coal for power plants and other supplies were transported on this rail link. The Macleod Wards were not substantial buildings in the early days. They were mainly long, low white and brown wooden glassed-in bungalows, sometimes referred to as ‘chalets’ because of their open, airy configuration.
Life at Macleod Sanatorium early in the twentieth century
Although one report in May 1918 in the ‘Melbourne Age’ presented the Macleod Sanatorium in a very poor light, with bad food, and lack of clean bedding and clothing see https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/155098761, another report in November 1918 from the resident Chaplains was much more positive, see  https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/154258427?#
In 1921 the Repatriation Department took over administration of the Macleod Sanatorium from the Defence Department.
By 1922 the Red Cross Society had raised funds to have a croquet lawn installed for the veterans https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/140787373?#  as well as installing a veranda to cover the porches. A tennis court, gym equipment, a laundry and reading and music facilities also resulted from fund raising efforts. Local groups from Greensborough, Eltham and Hurstbridge provided weekly afternoon teas with cakes, and flowers to decorate the tables for the men. Distinguished guests such as the Governor and Melbourne Mayors often visited according to the newspapers of the day, and the wards were then decorated with bunting and flowers.
So although being in a Sanatorium sounds very grim, there was respect and compassion shown for the veterans and efforts made to ameliorate their circumstances.

The long wards all ran north-south on the Gresswell Hill, stepped down along the quite steep eastern slopes, and had quite pleasant views. Levelled out areas near the base of the hill were utilised as a tennis court and croquet lawn.
Men were encouraged to play a variety of sports and worked on the surrounding land producing copious vegetables and tending poultry. Other work therapy for the purpose of retraining the men, involved leather work, wood work, building construction and concreting.
Springthorpe Estate Development after closure of the Hospitals
Maps from the Environmental Assessment Reports (2003) for the re-development of the area into Springthorpe Estate, show the considerable number of building which comprised Macleod Sanatorium before it was dismantled. These buildings included four wards, a boiler house, carpenter’s shop, occupational therapy workshops, administration, kitchens, recreation rooms, female quarters, male quarters, the Medical Officer’s residence and gardener’s sheds, as well as a croquet lawn, tennis court and a children’s playground.
In the 1940s there had been substantial building work, and ultimately the Macleod Hospital was productively re-purposed in 1960. From a Sanatorium it became the Macleod Repatriation Hospital, and at about the same time, Gresswell Hospital became a public Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre. TB was no longer a widespread and debilitating problem because drug treatment and vaccination had become available, and the facilities could be revamped. By the 1980s Macleod was known as a Veterans’ Affairs Aged Care Facility, with occupational therapy, physiotherapy and social work services for the veterans and some of their widows.
Interestingly, aerial photographs show a substantial amount of tree growth on the Macleod and Gresswell sites between 1945 and 1954. Gresswell Hill (with its water tank, designed by Sir John Monash in 1912) now became more densely treed, whereas it had been quite bare of trees and shrubs.
In 1993 Macleod was closed and the whole Mont Park site was developed for housing as the Springthorpe Estate.
Fortunately much vegetation still exists in the spacious public areas of Gresswell Hill and the Gresswell Reserve. Some very old river red gums and pine trees planted 100 years ago remain, and kangaroos thrive in the surrounding popular bushy Reserves, see https://www.montparktospringthorpe.com/flora-fauna/
 
Article contributed by Kathy Andrewartha (May 2020), with thanks to Mr Arnold Wheeler.
 
Resources:
‘Special Hospital for Soldiers’, The Age (Melbourne) 1 June 1916 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/155086241
‘Treatment of Soldier Patients’ The Age (Melbourne) 18 May 1918 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/155098761
‘A Visit to Mont Park’ Spectator and Methodist Chronicle 20 November 1918 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/154258427?#
‘Macleod Sanatorium’ The Australasian, 28 October 1922 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/140787373
GHD Pty Ltd Report for Urban Pacific Ltd, 2003 – Environmental Assessment Reports
Le Get, Rebecca, 2018. “More than just ‘peaceful and picturesque’: how tuberculosis control measures have preserved ecologically significant land in Melbourne”. Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 89 (1), pp. 67 – 87
 

Hansel and Gretel and other Pantomimes

In the late 1960’s, under the auspices of the psychiatrist superintendent, Dr. David Barlow, the process of desegregating the male and female wards commenced– it exposed the female patients to the risk and sometimes, the reality of sexual abuse though generally improved the male patients’ behaviour and their general attention to cleanliness and appropriate clothing.
Dr. Barlow and others introduced new treatments, including the Hoddle Rehabilitation Music group, music and art therapies to the benefit of patients.
Len Blair, a chaplain wrote two pantomimes- Cindy Rella and the Hospital Ball that staff performed in, giving great enjoyment to the patients. (Dr. David Barlow was in Alice in Larundel Land. In Episode 1 where he drinks from a saucer.)

and Alice in Larundel Land
Episode 1

Episode 2

 
Two artists-in -residence devised the Cinderella wedding procession; patients made costumes and stood along the road as clowns, ruffians and townspeople. The whole hospital then sat down to a wedding breakfast.
Bill Lloyd, a psychiatric nurse created the Larundel Little Theatre Band, a rock band of staff and patients which lasted for nearly 30 years and also co-wrote and produced Alice in Larundel Land.
Button, James (2018) Down the Rabbit Hole: A closer Look at Larundel in Writing this Place, Darebin Arts, City of Darebin. https://www.darebinarts.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/2018-335-City-of-Darebin-This-Place-Proof04-1.pdf
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1972-73No16.pdf
 
This information below, was printed on the back of the album cover recording the first performance by patients to a live audience at Larundel. The show was a resounding success and played to other hospitals in Victoria.
 
HANSEL AND GRETEL
PRESENTED BY THE HODDLE REHABILITATION CENTRE
LARUNDEL PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL
THE STORY ABOUT THIS RECORDING
Hoddle Rehabilitation Centre in the complex of Larundel Psychiatric Hospital, Bundoora, Victoria specialises in the rehabilitation of young people suffering from a psychiatric illness which is characterised by withdrawal from emotional contact with others and preoccupation with day – dreams and unreality.
The centre comprises patients of both sexes and its therapeutic aims are resocialisation and work rehabilitation.
The units Music Group was established in 1969 and was an immediate success. It aims at the complete, active involvement of the patient, and the production of all its work before an audience. Musical appreciation (e.g. Listening to records) is a passive involvement which has been recognised as a useful therapy for many years. Unfortunately, it makes no demands on the withdrawn patient. Active musical involvement, on the other hand, makes many dynamic demands, and promotes self-awareness and esprit de corps, and forces interpersonal relationships which are invaluable to withdrawn patients, resulting in realistic self-esteem, confidence and pride in achievement, all of which contribute to the return of the patient to a full life in the community.
Hansel and Gretel was first staged at Larundel in December 1971 as a Christmas pantomime and played to full houses. The show was scheduled to run for only two nights, but such as the enthusiasm of the performers and the tremendous reception at Larundel that it was decided to show the pantomime to other hospitals.
In all, Hansel and Gretel was seen and enjoyed by patients at five large hospitals, one as far as Ballarat. The pantomime was also shown at Bundoora Community Hall. This was the first time that psychiatric patients had performed before an audience in the community of Victoria.
The show was produced with minimum staff content. Patients accounted for 90% of the cast, musicians and technicians.
The production was well staged, dressed and lit. Logistical difficulties which at first seemed unsurmountable, but thanks to the enthusiastic response by the hospital administration, nursing staff, occupational therapists and artisans, all of the difficulties were overcome. When you here this recording you may find it hard to believe the performers are any different from an enthusiastic group of young people anywhere in society.
The record adequately demonstrates the value of intense musical involvement in bringing out latent talent and artistic abilities in the withdrawn patient.
This record has been produced for public release in the hope that it may help to pave the way towards a better understanding by the community of the psychiatrically ill. If it succeeds in this, then the personalities behind the voices on this record will stand a better chance of successful acceptance within the community.
Hansel and Gretel was recorded live with an audience. Proceeds from the sale of this record will go exclusively to the purchase of musical and stage equipment for Hoddle Rehabilitation Centre.
RECORDING EDITED BY: Drew Ellen
SCRIPT: Deidre Oliver and Bill Lloyd (Copyright Reserved)
MUSICAL ARRANGEMENT: Wally Mason and Bill Lloyd
COVER DESIGN: Deidre Oliver
COVER ART WORK: George H. Davies
GUEST ARTISTS: The Greenwoods
PRODUCED BY: Bill Lloyd
Acknowledgements:
Mental Hospital Auxiliaries of Victoria
Myer Melbourne Pty. Ltd.
APM Australia Pty. Ltd.
Astor Radio Corporation Pty. Ltd.
Leeds Music Pty. Ltd.
Castle Music Pty. Ltd.
PATRONS:
Jeff Duggan- ABC Supervisor Light Entertainment, Victoria
Dr. David H. Barlow- Medical Superintendent, Larundel Psychiatric Hospital
SIDE 1
The Pantomime
Songs:
Jean (R. McKEON)© ALBERT AND SON
Be Back Soon (L. BART) ©ESSEX
You’ll Never Walk Alone (R. ROGERS) © LEEDS
Spider and the Fly (TRAD)
For I am the Demon King (GILBERT AND SULLIVAN)
Metal Things (G. DOYLE) © RESERVED
The Marines’ Hymn (TRAD)
Eton Boat Song (TRAD)
Pomp and Circumstance (E ELGAR)
Ding Dong the Wicked Witch (H. ARLEN) © ALBERT AND SON
SIDE 2
Songs and music from the pantomime
Banjo (Arr.) Hoddle Music Group
Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head © CASTLE
Where is Love (L. BART) © ESSEX
Travelling Man © ALLANS
My Hero (OSCAR STRAUSS) © ALBERT AND SON
Because (GUY HARDELOT) © CHAPPELL
World of our Own (T. SPRINGFIELD) © CHAPPELL
Mr. Bojangles © ESSEX
Up the Street (Arr.) HODDLE MUSIC GROUP
Carnival is Over (T. SPRINGFIELD) © CHAPPELL
Yellow Submarine (LENNON AND MCCARTNEY) © LEEDS
A HODDLE MUSIC GROUP PRODUCTION
(HODDLE REHABILITATION CENTRE, LARUNDEL PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL, BUNDOORA, VICTORIA)
with thanks to the family of L. Rattray-Wood for finding the recording and allowing it to be published here.

Pathology Services in the Mont Park Hospital Environs

Pathology Department picture from “Glimpses of the Past”
Pathology services at Mont Park started around August 1968. Initially there was only the post-mortem service and then, towards the end of that year, the rest of the clinical pathology tests previously performed by outside laboratories were introduced.
The laboratory was run by Dr Stanley Weiner who came from Switzerland, though originally from Poland. He had an MBBS and MD from Zurich University and was required to obtain registration from the Victoria Medical Board after coming to Victoria.
Dr Stan Weiner
As he could not practice medicine until registered, he worked as a senior orderly, a junior assistant nurse, and a laboratory assistant in several Victorian hospitals. He also worked as a bricklayer, locksmith, painter and bottle washer. He was registered in 1956 and became senior lecturer in Pathology at the University of Melbourne after receiving his PhD from there in 1962, for research on electron microscopy of human liver samples.
The Mont Park Pathology Centre serviced all hospitals, drug and alcohol and mental retardation facilities in Macleod/ Bundoora except for the Repatriation Department. The Laboratory also provided Pathology services for Sunbury, Janefield and Pentridge as well as all the New-Born screening for Victoria, and for some other Australian states and Papua and New Guinea.
Pathology Staff outside Pathology Department
The MPPC, Mont Park Pathology Centre, with a staff of about 20, in conjunction with the smaller laboratories at Royal Park and Willsmere, provided the following services:

Comprehensive Laboratory diagnostics and treatment monitoring services for In-Patients and Out-Patients of the Mental Health Department.
Pathology tests for the Mental Retardation Branch of the Health Department
Routine investigations and screening for drugs of addiction for the Alcohol, Drugs and Forensic Branch
Screening of all Victorian newborns to detect hypothyroidism and PKU (phenylketonuria) either of which can lead to mental retardation if left untreated.
Investigation of the causes of death of all custodial and some voluntary patients
Educational, survey and research requirements

To provide these services there were seven subsections at Mont Park:

Haematology
Biochemistry
Microbiology
Isotope laboratories
Anatomical pathology
Drug screening
State screening laboratory for newborns

Dr Weiner and the Centre encouraged all staff to undergo further undergraduate and post-graduate educational training and cooperated with 12 colleges to provide work-experience for young students. Dr Weiner demanded that staff who completed additional training should be rewarded and be upgraded with reclassification; this greatly assisted the high staff morale at the Centre. Extra-curricular activities were encouraged for staff, squash played by some and a glass lead light window inside the MPPC was the work of staff. The gardens in front of the Centre were also taken over by the staff resulting in an Australian native plant display.
The Centre also employed up to 12 university students for 6 weeks every year, preference being given to medical, science and dental students to encourage an in-depth knowledge of the benefits of pathology services for patients.
The Centre staff took strike action in 1986 along with many others at Mont Park, when the Government blocked 600 job vacancies.
Dr Weiner was officially farewelled by staff from Mont Park and Plenty Hospitals in December 1985.
 
Thanks to Peggy Preston, former Scientist with the Mont Park Pathology Service, for her invaluable contributions to this article.
 
REFERENCES:
Diamond Valley News February 25, 1986
Health Victoria, December 1985
Report of the Director of Mental Hygiene Authority Commission of Victoria, 1969 online see https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1969-70No35.pdf
The Melbourne School of Pathology: Phases and Contrasts (1962), Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
Weiner, Stanley. (1962). Electron microscopical studies of liver/with special emphasis on techniques of ultrafine preparations. Ph D. Thesis, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
 
 

Early Physiotherapy at Mont Park Hospitals

The first professional physiotherapy association was formed in 1906 as the Australasian Massage Association (AMA) by combining members from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia to protect their emerging profession. The three prime organisers were Frederich Teepoo Hall (born in Mysore India in 1858), Alfred Peters and Heinrich Best.
In 1891, Dr John Springthorpe was the first president of the Australian Medical Association and was the first Chairman of the Masseurs Registration Board which was the precursor for the Australian Physiotherapy Association (1982). A professional committee was set up to frame their constitution and the first formal education for physiotherapists began in April 1906, in conjunction with The University of Melbourne.
From December 1918, Miss Frances Bulmer was in charge of physiotherapy services at Macleod Repatriation Hospital. Miss Bulmer had first worked as a salaried masseuse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and The Royal Children’s Hospital; she also served overseas in WWI as a physiotherapist/masseuse before working at Macleod.
Frances Bulmer is seated on far right of the central row
Two physiotherapists who worked with her were Miss Vair Horwood and Miss McFarlane, both travelled to Macleod by train to work. Dr. Sir Stanley Argyle, later Premier of Victoria was sorry they had to travel so far to work as Macleod was very much considered to be in the country.
Lesley Breheny graduated in Physiotherapy in Sydney in 1948 and worked extensively in psychiatric hospital work. During her time working at Macleod she noted staffing increases across mental health areas and also saw the commencement of student placements in undergraduate training. She also saw the reduction in length of stay and reduced bed occupancy likely due to the improvement to patients following the introduction of medications, ECT, Neuro- surgery and other changes in management; Lesley was the only woman who worked on the wards. She found the work challenging at first then became very interested in the work as she became more involved.
Lesley recalls several of the wards:

psychiatric patients with TB
typhoid carrying psychiatric patients – completely segregated from the rest of the hospitals
neuro psychiatric surgical ward – patients with acute or chronic brain syndrome, atypical neurotic or psychotic reactions, personality disorders or epilepsy; there was an Outpatient Clinic attached
geriatric section – provided an admission ward, a rehabilitation ward, two totally dependent wards and four wards for ambulant patients with moderate hope for rehabilitation. There were also plans for a Day Unit. Patients had the usual geriatric conditions plus lots of fractures and chest conditions. There were also some occasions of self-mutilations and unsuccessful suicide attempts.

In the early years, the female physiotherapists wore navy cotton dresses with long white aprons and the male masseurs wore waistcoats and trousers as seen in the accompanying photographs from the Alice Broadhurst collection. Frances Bulmer is seen in the photo of the Massage Staff with the same attire.
Some of the treatments administered by physiotherapists were:
Tallerman Hot Air apparatus
Heat baths – a local application for pain relief and improving the circulation, to reduce post traumatic inflammation and increase lymphatic flow. Treatment was for 10 to 20 minutes daily or three times per day
From the Alice Broadhurst Collection. Austral Photo Series, P.C. 119 Enquiries: Yarra Plenty Regional Libraryhttp://www.yprl.vic.gov.au/
Electrical Schnee baths
Water temperature was 105 degrees Fahrenheit and water covered the part to be treated. More water meant less current to the treated part and salt in the water lowered the resistance so less current was administered to the patient- usual dosage was 200 milliamperes delivered for 20 to 30 minutes then gradually reduced over time. Treatment was given once or twice a week and was used in the treatment of paralysis. The skin at the water surface was coated with Vaseline to reduce irritation and to protect cuts and abrasions. It was felt to be particularly useful for hands and feet to stimulate paralysed muscles. A large, indifferent electrode was placed on the lower back or the second limb in the bath.
Schnee baths in the centre and Galvanic Faradic machine on the left of the photo. From the Alice Broadhurst collection Austral Photo Series, P.C. 121 Enquiries: Yarra Plenty Regional Library   http://www.yprl.vic.goc.au/
Galvanic Faradic machines
used for the treatment of:

galvanic, faradic was used for hysteria or malingering patients
sinusoidal stimulation for neurasthenia and general debility
diathermic currents- a high-frequency electric current to stimulate heat generation within body tissues. The heat can help with various processes, including: increasing blood flow.
or a combination of all three.

In 1960, as other institutions could not cope with the complex management required, brain trauma patients with behavioural problems began to be admitted. The therapeutic team consisted of Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Social Worker and other ancillary staff as well as medical and nursing personnel.
Due to the number of patients, group treatment classes were used frequently though the patients responded better from individual sessions.
Amputees at Macleod Repatriation. Photo from the Alice Broadhurst Collection Enquiries: Yarra Plenty Regional Libraryhttp://www.yprl.vic.gov.au/
Initially the professions worked in isolation; progressing in psychiatric work to a team -based approach.
Margaret Kraehe was the Senior Physiotherapist at Plenty Hospital from 1976 to 1984. She was also the Senior Physiotherapist at Larundel Hospital from 1978 to 1984 and acted as Physiotherapist Adviser to the Mental Health and Retardation Division (Office of Psychiatric Services). Her initial role at Plenty Hospital was to set up a Physiotherapy Department to replace the visiting service provided by the Public Health Division of the Health Department staff. The ratio of staff to patients was very poor and eventually all the physiotherapy staff across the 7 nearby Mental Health and Mental Retardation hospitals combined to provide a more flexible service across all the sites and enabled the staff to provide an improved service to patients.
In 1978, a concerted effort was made to increase staffing across Mental Health and Mental Retardation Units; the staff assessed the physiotherapy requirements of the over 7000 clients across Victoria. This survey was conducted by Margaret Kraehe, Maureen Morrisey and Andrea Lindenmeyer but the report was not approved, despite their evidence that the physiotherapy staff had picked up a large number of undiagnosed fractures. Eventually there was a small increase but unfortunately, particularly now with the deinstitutionalisation and reduction in the number of services, people are primarily diagnosed with psychiatric or intellectual disabilities and often their physical problems tend to be left untreated.
In the Government report https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1972-73No16.pdf.  there are several reports of Physiotherapists providing treatment to brain-damaged patients (P. 72) in the neurological wards in the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital with possibly an outpatient clinic (P.82). Janefield had some part-time and sessional physiotherapists. and there were other staff providing sessions at St. Nicholas Hospital, Kew Cottages and Pleasant View in Stawell. Their departments were all understaffed but did manage to improve the physical capabilities of their patients.
 
Special thanks for the assistance of my Physiotherapy Colleagues, in particular Professor Joan McMeekin AM and Barbara Walker.
References:
Australasian Massage Association 30 April Report. (1912) UNA. Journal of the Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association p. 33.
Frances Amy Bulmer https://sites.google.com/site/archoevidence/home/ww1australianwomens/masseuses
Horwood, Vair. (1979) “Oral History Record.” Australian Physiotherapy Association.
McMeekin, Joan. AM. History of Physiotherapy at University of Melbourne.
https://mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/news-and-events/news-archive/recognising-a-founder-of-physiotherapy-in-australia,-frederick-teepoo-hall
Morris, Hugh. M.D., D.M.R.E. (1953) Medical Electricity for Massage Students. Fourth Edition.
Report of the Inspector. Charitable Institutions Victoria. (1914) p. 28, Melbourne.
Report of the Director of the Mental Health Authority of Victoria. (1969) https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1970-71No29.pdf   Dr. T. A. Pearce Report Mental Hospital: Mont Park 1969. pps. 60 – 62
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1972-73No16.pdf
 
Margaret Jack
January 2020

Matron Jane Tyers- 20 years at Mont Park

Matron Tyers, Dr David Cade and staff in the front step of the New Hospital courtesy ‘Glimpses of the Past- Mont Park’ Iliya Bircanin and Alex Short
Matron Jane Tyers worked at Mont Park for about 20 years before and during WWII.
Jane’s early life was marred by tragedies
Jane (Jeannie) Fawthrop Bennett was born in 1877 in Portland Victoria, and died in 1960 in Heidelberg Victoria.
Jane was the youngest of 10 children. Their mother (Emily Mary Jane GREEN) died at age 36 in 1879, when Jane was only two years old and her oldest brother William was 19 years old. Her parents had been married since 1858 when Emily was a teenager. Jane’s parents had both emigrated independently from the UK in the 1850s and settled in Portland where her father Thomas was a tailor.
Jane’s father Thomas died 10 years after his wife, in 1889 at age 57 years, when Jane and several of the children were still teenagers. At this stage her eldest sister Florence was 25 years old and her oldest brother William was 29, and they possibly helped look after the family. Florence eventually married in 1898 when she was 34 years old and had two children.
Jane married Charles James TYERS (junior) on June 18th 1903 in Portland. She was then 26 years old. Their wedding is described in the Portland newspaper of the time, with a full choral service as Jane had been an active member of the St Stephen’s Choir.  Her sister Adelaide (b. 1876) was bridesmaid and her brother William gave her away. Charles and Jane Tyers lived in Jerilderie NSW after they were married. He was working as an accountant and also interested in music being involved with brass bands in Ararat and Jerilderie.
Charles died soon after their marriage, in October 1904. He had been born in 1879 and was only 25 years old. He died after a bout of bronchitis and pleurisy. Jane gave birth to their daughter Venora May in 1905 in Jerilderie after his death. Jane appears to have moved to Melbourne to earn her living, and Venora was raised by the Tyers and Bennett families in Portland (see later).  Jane did nursing training at the Austin Hospital for three years, gaining General, Surgical and Mental nursing certificates by 1909. She then worked there as a relieving Matron in the male and female hospital wards with 70 nursing staff for another 6 years.
At the age of 38 in 1915, being widowed, she enlisted as a nurse with the Australian forces during World War One, as did her sister-in-law Lilian Rose Tyers (b. 1883, also a nurse), and two of her brothers-in-law (Roden Dalrymple Tyers b. 1886, who was a professional soldier and Wilfred Angus Tyers b. 1893, who was a postal worker). Her daughter Venora would have then been about 10 years old then and was living in Portland.
Jane’s husband Charles Tyers junior had been the oldest of 7 children and his mother died shortly before him in 1904. She was 45 years old and the remaining 6 children then ranged in age from 24 years (Marguerite May Tyers) to the youngest of Hugh Alex Tyers who was only 10 years old.
Jane’s next of kin on her enlistment in 1915 was her sister Adelaide Victoria Tyers (b. 1876 nee Bennett) from Portland. It appears that Adelaide had married Jane’s widowed father-in-law (Charles James Tyers senior) in 1905 in Portland (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/10010299 ) Adelaide would have been 21 and he was 54 years old.  Adelaide and Charles had one son Kenneth Clarke Tyers born in 1911 in Ararat, and before WWI they moved back to Adelaide’s hometown of Portland. Charles senior died in 1930. They seem to have cared for Jane’s daughter Venora and Charles senior’s children together in Ararat and Portland, until the children were adults. Venora is listed as passing a piano exam in Portland in 1915, Grade VI Primary (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/1580411) , and also performing in a concert in Portland Hall, when she was about 10 years old.
Jane’s Military Service
On enlistment in 1915 Jane Tyers was described as 5 ft 3 inches tall and weighing 140 lbs (63 kg), with brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.
Jane left Melbourne for WWI duty in August 1915 and served first in Heliopolis Egypt, and then Suez, returning to Australia on Transport Duty in June 1916. There is a photograph of Mrs Jane Tyers in a small group of nurses departing again from Adelaide to Salonika in June 1917 https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/blog/mettle-and-steel-aans-salonika
She continued to nurse in the UK in 1919 after the War ended, studying at the Royal Sanitary Institute.
 
Matron Tyers, Attendants and Nurses in front of the Chronic Block, Mont Park, from ‘Glimpses of the Past’ by Iliya Bircanin and Alex Short
Jane Tyers in Mental Health employment for 20 years
On her return to Australia Jane Tyers was appointed acting Matron at Sunbury Mental Hospital for 1920 and 1921, and then in December 1921 she became Matron at Mont Park.  In the register of Nurses in 1926 she was living at the Mont Park hospital site. There are two photographs of her in staff groups at Mont Park in 1926 and 1932 (in the book ‘Glimpses of the Past’).
In 1927 Jane’s daughter Venora May (“Arlie”) Tyers was married to Charles Herbert Allchin (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/146842784?searchTerm=allchin%20tyers&searchLimits=) in Melbourne. Interestingly Venora was given away by Dr David D. Cade from Mont Park, Matron Tyers’ hospital colleague. Venora’s husband Charles Allchin (b. 1894) served in WWI and WWII. Before his enlistment in 1915 he was working at Sunbury ‘Hospital for Insane’ as a clerk. Venora (“Arlie”) and Charles lived initially at 53 Waterdale Road Ivanhoe, and they had a daughter, who was born on 17thOctober 1931. This was when her mother, Matron Jane Tyers was living and working at Mont Park.  Charles and Venora were living at Beechworth ‘Mental Hospital’ when he enlisted again in 1942. (Venora died in Mornington aged 62 in 1967 and Charles died in 1981 at Parkdale, aged 87.)
Jane retired from Mont Park in March 1942 after 20 years of service, and enjoyed a celebration and presentation from the staff as reported in The Argus newspaper of Friday March 20 1942. See https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/8238277 . She was then aged 65 years.
After she retired, she was living at the Queen Elizabeth Aged Care Centre in Ballarat by 1946, where she listed her next-of-kin as Miss V.M. Tyers of Portland, her daughter Venora. Jane did some traveling between Portland and Ballarat visiting her family. Her military records show that she lost one of her Service Medals on one of these trips.
Jane Tyers died in June 1960 in Heidelberg Victoria after an eventful life.
She had worked at the Austin Hospital for about 10 years, in overseas military duties in WWI for about 5 years, and then at Mont Park Mental Hospital for 20 years. She was aged 83 years when she died. Hopefully she had enjoyed a peaceful and happy last 18 years of retirement with the company of her daughter and granddaughter.
Resources:
A photograph of Jane Tyers and other nurses in WWI https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/blog/mettle-and-steel-aans-salonika
Bircanin, Iliya and Short, Alex (1995) Glimpses of the past: Mont Park, Larundel, Plenty, the Authors, Melbourne
Jane Tyers finishes work at Mont Park https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/8238277

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