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Florence Nightingale note to Annie Miller

From the Collection of Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation Level 1 535 Elizabeth St Melbourne Victoria

Description
Hand written note by Florence Nightingale to Annie Miller, upon her departure to Sydney with Lucy Osburn in 1868, written in ink on a blank page at the front of Walter Scott's 'Poetical works' (1866)
Size
L170mm x H120mm
Links
Object Registration
N002
Keywords
nursing history, nursing
Historical information
'Miss Annie Miller, who had nursed Prince Alfred with Miss Turriff [Haldane, first matron of Alfred Hospital], also joined staff at the Alfred some time before 1876. During her time at the Sydney Infirmary, Annie Miller created something of a stir when, after her experience nursing Prince Alfred, she became selective about which areas of the hospital she would work, only willing to serve in Male Surgical and Accident. She also had been reported to Miss Nightingale by both Lucy Osburn and Haldane Turriff for openly flirting with the Resident Physician, receiving flowers, embroidering slippers, playing with his watch chain and generally becoming the subject of gossip ... Before his departure from the hospital the doctor in question diagnosed Annie Miller as having an [abdominal] aneurism and she went into decline, mainly from the deprivation of his company, it was felt. With the threat of her possibly being returned to England because of ill health, Miller went to Brisbane and Goodna (Queensland), subsequently to Melbourne, where she faded into obscurity. Her aneurism had apparently subsided.' From '5.30, nurse! : the story of the Alfred nurses' by Helen Paterson. History Books: Melbourne, 1996 p. 8

'Annie Miller was Scottish, single and claimed to be 34 years old (in Sydney, she was assumed to be ten years older); Wardroper [Sarah Elizabeth, first superintendent at the Nightingale School of Nursing at St Thomas's Hospital, London] had found her to be a good nurse, but 'proud and peculiarly sensitive'' (Burrows, 2018 p. 33). At the end of 1870 Annie resigned after the three-year term at Sydney Infirmary ended. She was appointed to the position of matron at Brisbane Hospital in February 1871. She resigned within a few months of her appointment after a dispute with the staff surgeon who refused to recognise her and her status. From 'Nurses of Australia : the illustrated history' by Deborah Burrows. NLA Publishing : Canberra, 2018 p. 41

'Annie Miller went from the [Sydney] Infirmary to Brisbane Hospital, she then joined Haldane Turriff at The Alfred Hospital, while Osburn thought that Miller had gone to nurse private patients. The two versions are not incompatible as hospitals hired out nurses to care for wealthier patients in their homes. Schultz records that Miller worked at the Hospital for the Insane at Goodna [Queensland] and died in the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum on 12 March 1907. The Victorian branch of the Australian Nursing Federation owns the book presented to Miller by Florence Nightingale in 1867.' From 'Lucy Osburn, a lady displaced : Florence Nightingale's envoy to Australia' by Judith Godden. Sydney University Press : Sydney, 2006 p. 315

'This betrayal of all that had been said to Tate [Henry, Alfred Hospital Secretary-Manager 1874-1876] was in keeping with Annie Miller's reputation (earned in Sydney) for being unreliable and a trouble-maker. Miss Miller was also an intimate of Miss Turriff's. Annie Miller is said to have had a brief term as matron in Brisbane after her resignation from the Sydney Infirmary in 1870 but the Brisbane Hospital authorities are unable to provide this one way of the other. Lucy Osburn thought that Miss Miller was in private nursing in Melbourne in 1873 and the Vagabond [alias of John Stanley James, Argus journalist] stated positively that she was working for Miss Turriff at the Alfred when he was there in 1876'. From 'The hospital south of the Yarra' by Ann Mitchell. Alfred Hospital : Melbourne, 1977 p. 242

'Annie Miller was appointed matron of the lunatic asylum at Woogaroo (Goodna) in Queensland in 1877, and remained there for ten years. When she left the medical superintendent, in his report for 1888, praised her for the work she had done in the female division of the asylum'. From 'A tapestry of service' by Bartz Schultz. Churchill Livingstone : South Melbourne, 1991 p.222
When Made
1867
Made By
Florence Nightingale (Maker)
Significance
Annie Miller was one of five Nightingale-trained nurses who come to Sydney in 1868 with Lucy Osburn, the newly appointed Superintendent and Chief Female Officer at the Sydney Infirmary. Florence Nightingale gave them all books before they sailed in December of that year. Annie worked in Sydney, Brisbane and Goodna, and in Melbourne. She died in 1907 and is buried at Boroondara cemetery. Annie was a member of the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses' Association.

This note was written in Annie's book and this item is in the archive collection of the ANMF Vic Branch Library. The note was written on the front page of a book. We believe the item was donated to the Branch.
Inscriptions & Markings
"For Mrs. Miller affectionately offered in remembrance of her own Scotch country by Florence Nightingale London 27 Nov. 1867"
Last updated
3 Mar 2020 at 4:39PM