Nurse Edith Cavell Print Page Print this page

Nurse Edith Cavell : 16-September-2011
Nurse Edith Cavell : 16-September-2011
Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

The bas relief tablet commemorates British nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed by a German firing squad during World War One. The tablet was presented by members of the Austral Salon. 

Edith Louisa Cavell (1865 – 1915) was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, for which she was arrested. She was accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

There was a large congregation in St. Paul's Cathedral for the Evensong service on September 16, the occasion being the unveiling of a memorial tablet to Nurse Edith Cavell by Lady Forster. Her Excellency, who was accompanied by her two daughters, the Hon. Mrs. Lubbock and the Hon. Mrs. Pitt Rivers, sat in the front pew for the choral service , and just behind her was Mrs. W. G. Hindley, wife of the Vicar-General. Then came a large number of nurses from the different hospitals, all wearing nursing costume, their capes making bright patches of colour against the sombre colouring in the cathedral.

A number of military nurses were also present. On the opposite side of the aisle there was a special reserve for the members of the Austral Salon, and fully 100 availed themselves of this privilege. The service included the anthem "The Souls of the Righteous," and Dr. A. E. Floyd played Guilmant's Funeral March and Hymn of Seraphs. During the singing of a processional hymn the choir and clergy proceeded to the south-western end of the cathedral, followed first by Lady Forster and then by the nurses and the members of the Austral Salon.

The Vicar-General (Archdeacon Hindley) then asked Her Excellency to unveil the tablet, which is a bas relief in bronze of the bust of Nurse Cavell in nursing costume. It is the work of Margaret Baskerville, who executed it as a gift for the Austral Salon, of which she is a member. This women's club originated the movement in Melbourne for perpetuating the memory of Nurse Edith Cavell, and now it has presented the tablet to the cathedral. The tablet bears the inscription, "In memory of Edith Cavell, an English military nurse, martyred in Belgium, October 11, 1915.

Presented by members of the Austral Salon. Lady Forster, when unveiling it, said that the tablet would commemorate the noble services of Nurse Cavell in the cause of mercy and the relief of suffering, and we must think today, not only of her sacrifice, but of her courage, and must honour her for her life as well as for her death. Archdeacon Hindley then formally accepted the tablet for the cathedral. Present at the service were Lady Madden (president of the salon), Mrs. Thomas Baker (vice-president), Mrs. Quinnell (hon. secretary), Mrs. H. Vial (hon. treasurer), Mrs. Douglas Richardson (Margaret Baskerville), Mr. Douglas Richardson, Lady Hodges, Mrs. Usher, Mrs. J. L. Stein, Mrs. Marcus Collins (Geelong), Miss Annette Lynch, Miss E. Shaw, and Mrs. and Miss Rimmington.
Australasian (Melbourne), 24 September 1921.

Note: The Austral Salon of Music, Literature and the Arts was founded by a small group of women journalists in Melbourne as a club for women writers. It developed into a club for artistic and intellectual women interested in any of the fine arts and provided an important entré for many aspiring women musicians.


Address:Flinders & Swanston Streets, St Paul`s Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.817176
Long: 144.967806
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:12-October-1915
Actual Event End Date:12-October-1915
Artist:Margaret Baskerville


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 16th September, 1921
Front Inscription

In memory of Edith Cavell

An English military nurse martyred in Belgium 1915 -

Presented by members of The Austral Salon.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design