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Lucy Osburn Plaque / April 2013
Lucy Osburn Plaque / April 2013

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams / John Huth

A plaque and seat commemorate the first Lady Superintendent of Nursing at Sydney Hospital.

Lucy Osburn arrived in 1868 accompanied by five trained nurses following the Sir Henry Parkes appeal to Florence Nightingale for trained nurses for the Sydney Infirmary. Lucy Osburn trained at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and also at the Kaiserwerth Hospital near Dussledorf in Germany, which had greatly influenced Florence Nightingale’s ideas. She was identified as ‘an outstanding graduate’ at the Nightingale School and set sail for Australia following her appointment as Superintendent and Chief Female Officer of the Sydney Infirmary (later called the Sydney Hospital).

Together with five other Nightingale nurses, Ms Osburn arrived in Sydney in 1868, where she encountered appalling conditions, and hostility from medical staff. She spent the next 12 years transforming the hospital and training nurses in the Nightingale tradition.

Miss Osburn left Sydney in 1884. She died on 22 December 1891.

Note : The inscription on the plaque is believed to contain historical inaccuracies particularly in relation to her date of birth. A book "Lucy Osburn, a Lady Displaced: Florence Nightingale's envoy to Australia " by Judith Godden contains a more historically accurate account of her life.
 

Location

Address:George Street, Surgeons Court, off Nurses Walk, The Rocks , 2000
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.860296
Long: 151.208334
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Medicine

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 11th July, 1984
Front Inscription

LUCY OSBURN (1835-1891)

FIRST LADY SUPERINTENDENT OF NURSING
SYDNEY HOSPITAL 1868 -1884 
WHEN SIR HENRY PARKES, THEN COLONIAL TREASURER OF 
NSW, APPEALED TO FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE FOR TRAINED 
NURSES FOR SYDNEY INFIRMARY, LUCY OSBURN WAS 
SELECTED AND APPOINTED LADY SUPERINTENDENT.
             
ACCOMPANIED BY FIVE TRAINED NURSES FROM THE 
NIGHTINGALE SCHOOL OF NURSING, ST. THOMAS' HOSPITAL 
LONDON, SHE ARRIVED IN SYDNEY IN 1868.
             
STARTING UNDER PRIMITIVE CONDITIONS 
SHE SUCCESSFULLY ESTABLISHED NURSE EDUCATION 
IN AUSTRALIA ON A PROFESSIONAL BASIS.

THIS PLAQUE AND SEAT DEDICATED TO HER MEMORY 
WERE ERECTED BY THE SYDNEY HOSPITAL GRADUATE 
NURSES' ASSOCIATION AND UNVEILED BY 
LADY ROWLAND, C.St.J., ON 11TH JULY 1984

Source: MA,H
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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