Historical information

This photograph is taken in the lounge room of Mrs. McCoubrie's home in Dudley Street, Fitzroy. Sr. Fullarton is assisting her to regain her independence from being wheelchair bound to walking with a 4 prong stick.


From the founding of the Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS) in 1885, known as Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) from 1966, the rehabilitation of patients to ensure they were able to live independently in their own homes was at the forefront of care given by their Trained nurses. As well as teaching and supervising the use of equipment, their Trained nurses taught them safe transfer techniques. These techniques were also taught to family members to enable them to care for their loved ones. RDNS at first held workshops given by a contracted private Physiotherapist before employing their own Physiotherapist in 1975 who taught staff the correct techniques, not only for safety of the patient, but to reduce physical strain on RDNS nursing staff and patient’s family members. When required the Physiotherapist accompanied the Sister on her visit to the patient in their home.

Physical description

On the left of this black and white photograph, is Mrs. McCoubrie, who is an elderly lady with white curly hair and is wearing dark rimmed glasses. She is standing on a rug between the raised footplates of a wheelchair which is behind her. She is smiling and looking at Sister Ethel Fullarton from the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) who is in the right of the photograph. Mrs. McCoubrie is wearing a black frock with white buttons, collar and belt. She has her right hand on the wooden handle of a 4 prong stick and her left arm is supported by. Sr. Fullarton, who is standing side-on, and is smiling at Mrs. McCoubrie. Sr. Fullarton is wearing glasses; has curly dark hair, and is wearing a white gown over her uniform. She has her right hand under, and supporting, the upper section of Mrs. McCoubrie's left arm and is grasping Mrs. McCoubrie's hand with her left hand. In the left background, part of a brick fireplace with a small vase of flowers sitting on the wooden mantelpiece can be seen. A lounge chair is seen on the far right and a patterned carpet is under the dark patterned rug.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton LW 1