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Avon Emile CostelloPrint Page Print this page

24-April-2021
24-April-2021

Photographs supplied by Ian Waters

The plaque commemorates Avon Emile Costello, a Red Cross volunteer who died in March 1919, in Cairo Egypt.

The Allan family worshipped at the Presbyterian Church at Thane’s Creek, and it was there that Avon Allan met Edward Costello, of “Seagoe”, Thane’s Creek. With war imminent in Europe, Avon Allan, attended by her sister Ethlene, the only family member present, married Lieutenant Edward Costello of the 11th Light Horse Regiment, and formerly the 3rd Light Horse (Darling Downs), on 21st April, 1915 in Brisbane, shortly before Edward embarked for the Middle East in June.

For the next three years, Avon busied herself in the Costello household, and she became heavily involved in the war effort through fund-raising activities.  In 1918 when she received news from Edward suggesting that she secure a passage to Egypt, where she arrived in August. They were able to travel in Egypt and Palestine, spending their first and only Christmas together in the Holy Land.

When Major Costello returned to the front, Avon volunteered with the Red Cross Society in Cairo, and she was attached to No 14 Australian General Hospital where she worked with the soldiers in the wards as well as in the Red Cross kitchen.  On 3rd March, 1919, smallpox broke out in the hospital, and Avon, together with eight patients, were infected.  She was immediately moved to the Government Infectious Diseases Hospital and Major Costello telegraphed for in Syria. Two Australian nurses, Elizabeth Stephens and Lillian Alton, volunteered to care for the patients, risking their own lives in the process. 

With her husband by her side, Avon died early on Sunday morning,16th March, aged 28 years.  She was buried on the same day in the afternoon, in the Cairo New British Protestant Cemetery, later to be known as the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, in Egypt. 

Location

Address:Karara School Road , Karara Hall, Karara, 4352
State:QLD
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -28.204329
Long: 151.564269
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

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

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 24th April, 2021
Front Inscription

TO THE MEMORY OF
Avon Emile Costello
   (nèe Allan)
Died on 16th March 1919
Aged 28 years,
Serving her country
with Australian Red Cross
Laid to rest Cairo, Egypt

[ Photograph ]

“She had the smile that comforts sufferers, and the quiet voice and manner that soothe a racked frame to sleep.  Her name, I think, should be on a roll of honour in this church (Thane’s Creek Presbyterian Church).  I am sure the soldiers of Thane’s Creek will desire it, that her memory be kept green and children ask for the beautiful story in years to come”.

These words were used to describe Avon Emilie Costello at her memorial service in April 1919, and although the church has long gone, her memory will now live on in the Karara Hall.  That is significant, as it was to this district that Avon, born in 1890, the eldest of eight children of James and Mary Allan, moved in 1907, where the family owned the dairy farm and sheep property “Strathyre”.

The Allan family worshipped at their nearest Presbyterian Church at Thane’s Creek, and it was there that Avon met Edward, youngest son of Mr and Mrs James Costello, of “Seagoe”, Thane’s Creek. With war clouds gathering over Europe, Avon Allan, attended by her sister Ethlene, the only family member present, married Lieutenant Edward Costello of the 11th Light Horse Regiment, and formerly the 3rd Light Horse (Darling Downs), on 21st April, 1915 in Brisbane, shortly before Edward embarked for the Middle East in June.

For the next three years, Avon busied herself in the Costello household, with her presence cheering Edward’s parents in his absence, and she became heavily involved in the war effort through fund-raising activities.  Her life brightened early in 1918 when she received news from Edward suggesting that she secure a passage to Egypt, where she arrived in August. They were able to see some of the sights of Egypt and Palestine while on leave, spending their first and only Christmas together in the Holy Land.

When the now Major Costello returned to the front, Avon volunteered with the Red Cross Society in Cairo, and she was attached to No 14 Australian General Hospital where she worked with the soldiers in the wards as well as in the Red Cross kitchen.  It was while Edward was fighting in Syria on 3rd March, 1919, that tragedy struck.  Smallpox broke out in the hospital, and Avon,together with eight patients, was infected.  She was immediately moved to the Government Infectious Diseases Hospital and Major Costello telegraphed for in Syria. Two brave Australian nurses, Elizabeth Stephens and Lillian Alton, volunteered to care for the patients, risking their own lives in the process. 

 

Source: MA
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