Historical information

The photograph is taken at Western General Hospital. Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Nurse Educator, Sister Nan Deakin, after teaching the RDNS Community Nursing Education program to the Western General's two Student nurses is introducing them to Sister Ellen Anderson, Supervisor of the RDNS Footscray Centre. Sr. Anderson will arrange for the Students to go on District nursing visits with RDNS Trained nurses (Sisters) from Footscray Centre who administer nursing care in the community. Sister Deakin is wearing the RDNS winter uniform of a blue/grey skivvie under a blue/grey V neck tunic style frock made of herringbone winter material. Sister Anderson is wearing the RDNS summer uniform of a white short sleeve blouse under a royal blue V neck tunic style frock. The RDNS logo is seen on the upper left on both uniforms.


During their training, Student nurses from several hospitals either attended the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), Education Department, or, a RDNS Nurse Educator travelled to the appropriate hospital’s Education Department to educate the Trainees on District nursing through the RDNS Community Nursing Program. Following the lectures Students went to an RDNS Centre and each Student accompanied a Trained nurse (Sister) for a week observing and gaining knowledge of all facets of nursing care in the home. This gave them an insight into the home conditions and situations patients faced after discharge from hospital. During 1971 there were 584 student nurses who received field experience with RDNS.
From its inception as Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), in 1885, their Trained nurses (Nurses) worked in specific areas, 'districts'. The first Nurse worked east and west, between Victoria Parade and Flinders Street and, north and south, between Spencer Street and Spring Street. When a second Nurse was employed they divided this area at Elizabeth Street so each Nurse could attend to patients in the same area giving continuity of care. As the Society expanded, becoming Melbourne District Nursing Service, then, with Royal patronage, Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) many Centres were opened throughout the Melbourne Metropolitan area and outer suburbs. The District nurse's areas (districts) grew and were divided within Shire boundaries for e.g. Knox 1, Knox 2, Knox 3, Knox 4, within the area of the Shire of Knox. A map covering the Centre’s Districts was attached to a wall, and its different colour pins identified streets where patients lived who were currently receiving nursing care from the RDNS Trained nurses (Sisters) working in these areas (districts).

Physical description

On the far left of this black and white photograph is a male Student nurse, who has collar length, straight dark hair. He is wearing his hospital uniform of white trousers and top. To his right, is a Student nurse who is wearing her white nursing cap, with motif in the centre front, over her long drawn back dark hair. and her short sleeve uniform checked frock, with white two breasted buttons down it, and with white collar and cuffs. A nursing watch is attached to its upper left. Both are standing in the dark framed doorway of a room and are looking to the right and smiling at Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), Nurse Educator, Sister Nan Deakin. She has short dark hair; is wearing glasses, and is wearing her RDNS uniform of a light grey skivvie under a darker V neck tunic style frock. To the right of her, is RDNS Sister Ellen Anderson who has short curly dark hair and is wearing her RDNS uniform of a white short sleeve blouse, under a dark V neck tunic style frock. They are standing side-on facing the Students.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton MA 78