Nurse Edith Cavell Print Page Print this page

15-September-2011 (Graeme Saunders)
15-September-2011 (Graeme Saunders)

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson / Graeme Saunders

The portrait bust on a pedestal commemorates English nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed by a German firing Squad during World War One. 

The bust was originally on St. Kilda Road and unveiled by the Inspector-General of the Commonwealth Military Forces, Lieut-General Harry Chauvel. On the sides in bas relief are two scenes, one showing Nurse Cavell standing beside the bed of a wounded soldier; the other showing her resolutely facing the firing squad. Cavell`s last words are also inscribed on the plaque. The delay in erecting the memorial was due to a shortage of marble after the war. 

The memorial idea came from Mrs Thomas Baker in 1915 and the appeal for funds met with such a generous response that besides erecting the monument, a trust fund was established to help sick, needy and returned nurses, raising £26000 pounds in 1916.  The trust was wound up in 1974. 

Edith Cavell remains an inspiration to nurses everywhere. Born in England in 1865, she was an accomplished linguist, musician and artist. After a distinguished nursing career in England, she was invited by a surgeon to establish a nursing school in Brussels.

When World War One started, Cavell stayed to nurse wounded soldiers, some of them Germans. Tragically she was executed by the German authorities because of her heroic efforts to help Belgian and other allied refugees to escape.

MELBOURNE, November 12. There was a large crowd at the unveiling of the Edith Cavell memorial ln St. Kilda Road, yesterday afternoon, by Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Chauvel (chief of the general staff). An official guard and a military band from the Victoria Barracks attended. There were no nurses present in uniform. The memorial takes the form of a bust of Nurse Cavell. It stands on a white marble pedestal, and at the base there are reliefs typical of her life and her death. On one side is quoted her last message: "But this I would say, standing as I do before God and eternity, that patriotism is not enough. I must hear no hatred or malice to anyone."
Telegraph (Brisbane), 12 November 1926.



Address:Birdwood Avenue, Kings Domain, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.828112
Long: 144.973768
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:12-October-1915
Actual Event End Date:12-October-1915
Artist:Margaret Baskerville


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 11th November, 1926
Front Inscription

Edith Cavell

October 12th 1915

Back Inscription

Nurse Cavell's last message to the world.
"But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough.

I must have no hatred or bitterness to anyone."

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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