Historical information

This photograph depicts a MDNS Sister visiting a male patient to give him nursing care. He is lying in bed in his home and the Sister is applying a bandage to his left wrist. Under her white gown the Sister is wearing the MDNS winter uniform of a grey dress with peaked collars and grey wool beret which has a central red Maltese cross attached.


The Trained nurses (Nurses) of the Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), from its inception in 1885, provided wound care to their patients who ranged in age from the very young to the elderly. The patients required their wounds to be dressed following various types of surgery, accidents, burns, cancer, leg ulcers etc. As research developed better products and dressing materials, the methods and medication applied to wounds changed. MDNS received Royal patronage in 1966 and as Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), the Education department developed wound care programs, such as the Leg Ulcer Management Program to provide their Trained nurses (Sister) with methods of best quality care. They ran a program for Wound Care Specialists who made assessments and provided advice and support to the District Sisters working in the field as needed. The Sisters liaised with the patient’s Doctors and hospitals to provide information on the progress of patient’s wounds and to receive any change of wound care from the Doctors.

Physical description

Standing on the left of this photograph is a Melbourne District Nursing Service (MDNS) Sister who is wearing a white gown over her grey uniform, the collar of which can be seen. She is wearing her uniform grey wool beret over her short dark curly hair and is smiling as, with her outstretched left hand, she supports the partly bandaged extended left arm of a gentleman who is sitting up in bed to her right; his right arm is resting on the bed and supporting him as he is partly turned towards the Sister. She has part of a rolled bandage in her right hand. The male patient, who has short dark hair, is looking at the camera and smiling. He is wearing a white and striped pyjama top and his lower body is covered by a patterned bed cover. Part of a pillow with check pillow case sits flat behind him and part of a wooden horizontal slat bedhead is seen. On the wall behind the bed hangs a framed photograph of a couple on their wedding day. Patterned curtains cover the window in the left rear of the photograph.

Inscriptions & markings

John Gallagher photography. 4 Benares Street, Mitcham Victoria WU 2568 No. 4-4