Matron Olive PaschkePrint Page Print this page

27-November-2014 (Chris McLaughlin)
27-November-2014 (Chris McLaughlin)

Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin / Graeme Saunders / Roger Johnson / Henry Moulds

A sundial commemorates Dimboola resident, Matron Olive Pashke, who was one of the twelve nurses who died when Japanese sank the Vyner Brooke off Sumatra during World War Two.

Matron Paschke survived the bombing of the Vyner Brooke and was on a raft that was swept out to sea thus saving her and the seven other nurses from being massacred on Banka Island. In a desperate attempt to lighten the raft for paddling, two nurses and Malay sailors slid into the sea and swam beside it.

This plan worked well and for some time progress was made toward the shore. Then came one of those curious twists of fate which defy explanation. The raft began to drift away from the swimmers, as it was caught by a current that had missed them. To their horror they saw their comrades borne steadily away from them, out to the open sea. Despite their best endeavours Matron Paschke was carried away.

The Minister for Transport (Mr. Kent-Hughes), assisted by Capt. V. Bullwinkel, A.R.R.C., sole survivor of the Banka massacre, will unveil a memorial to the late Matron O. D. Paschke on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. Both Mr. Kent-Hughes and Capt. Bullwinkel suffered at the hands of the Japanese. The memorial, in the grounds of the Memorial High School, Dimboola, is of an unusual type. It is a sundial which, by adjustment, makes the necessary corrections to give standard time. It is believed it is the only memorial of its kind in Victoria.  The sundial will live as a memory to a great person. 

Matron Paschke was born in Dimboola and was trained as a nurse at Queen Victoria Hospital, Fairfield Hospital, and Mercy Hospital. She eventually became matron of "Airlie"' private hospital, at Dimboola,and in 1939 joined the Australian  Army Nursing Service. Matron Paschke served in Malaya in 1940. She was decorated with the Royal Red Cross for her courageous work in establishing a field hospital in Malaya, but was later driven back to Singapore by the Japanese, where again she did splendid work. She was evacuated five days before the fall of Singapore but the ship on which she travelled was bombed and machine gunned. The gallant nurse, with others, took to the rafts and soon after encountered a storm which they safely weathered. They were fortunate to escape a Japanese fishing fleet. In sight of land, Matron Paschke had the misfortune to be twice swept from reach of land by adverse currents. She was last seen alive being swept out to sea. Matron Paschke was well known throughout the Wimmera and it is believed that many who knew her will attend the memorial ceremony at Dimboola on Sunday week.
Horsham Times (Vic),  22 April 1949.


Address:Ellerman Street, Dimboola Memorial Secondary College, Dimboola, 3414
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.450036
Long: 142.034018
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event STart Date:12-February-1942
Actual Event End Date:12-February-1942


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 1st May, 1949
Front Inscription

In memory of Matron Olive Dorothy Paschke R.R.C., A.A.N.S.

Killed off Sumatra

12th Feb. 1942

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