Historical information

The Matron and Sisters in this photograph worked in the Melbourne District Nursing Society After Care Home, (later called Hospital) full time and administered nursing care to patients who ranged in age from babes to adults.
The Society also had a District Nursing division and these Sisters only worked in the community giving nursing care to patients in their homes.


The Melbourne District Nursing Society were pioneers in recognizing the need for premises where patients too ill to be in their own home, but not ill enough to go to hospital, was needed, and the Society built, then opened, the After-Care Home in 1926, (from 1934 called After-Care Hospital), for these patients, and patients from Hospitals. Many children were nursed there, some long term during the Polio epidemic and the Society employed two School Teachers. The Society now ran two divisions, the After-Care with its own Sisters and nurses, and the District division. The Society were the first in Melbourne, in early 1928, to recognize some patients leaving the After-Care, and many at home, needed further social care and they set up ‘Almoners’ from their committee to visit these patients and be intermediaries in getting them social assistance. It was late the following year before the first training of Almoners took place in Melbourne. In 1930 the Society employed a full time kindergarten teacher to visit poor children in their homes. That year the Society were pioneers in opening an Ante-Natal Clinic at the After-Care, setting a high standard with equipment, keeping records, and providing leaflets with instructions in how to keep healthy during pregnancy, what complications to look for and what to do when labour commenced. In 1934 the Society were pioneers again when they opened the first Women’s Welfare Clinic in Melbourne giving advice on birth-control, at first attended by their own patients, but then accepting patients from public hospitals until their own clinics were opened. A trained Almoner was employed by the Society in 1934, doing a great deal of work with Midwifery patients, but she resigned after twelve months due to the amount of work. Due to a lack of trained Almoners, the Society employed a Social Service Officer at the After-Care who successfully gained better housing from the Housing Commission for families living under unsuitable conditions.

Physical description

A black and white photograph of Matron and twelve Trained nurses (Sisters) standing at the front entrance of the Melbourne District Nursing Society After Care Home, In the front of the portico is the Matron and four Sisters. Matron is dressed in a white long uniform dress and white veil over her short dark hair, and is wearing white stockings and white shores. To her right are four Sisters. Behind them are five Sisters, one standing between the left pair of round columns of the portico and the others to her right finishing just before the second set of columns. Two Sisters are to the left of the left hand column in front of the brick wall of the building. A short brick wall runs from the column to the building and hides the lower half of these Sisters. All the Sisters are dressed with white long aprons with white belts, which are covering their uniforms, only their dark grey sleeves and white collars can be seen. They are wearing white veils covering most of their short dark hair, grey stockings and black shoes. At the top of the portico can be seen the words 'District Nursing Society'. Part of the two story brick building can be seen behind the group; two long windows are visible on the upper and lower sections. To the right of the building some shrubs and a tree can be seen.