Australia Post will honour an unsung Aussie war hero
AUSTRALIA Post will honour one of the country's unsung war heroes, Matron Grace Wilson of the Australian Army Nursing Service, as part of the anticipated 2016 World War I commemorative stamp issue out this week.
Referred to as Australia's very own Florence Nightingale, Matron Wilson features in the new stamp release that marks the centenary of the war and honours the efforts of Australians overseas and at home during 1916.
Australia Post Managing Director and Group CEO Ahmed Fahour said it was an easy choice to honour Matron Wilson for her dedication to improving the health and conditions of others as well as her efforts as an inspirational leader during a time where women were underrepresented.
"Never before has the discussion of equality in our community been more poignant, so it's a great pleasure to immortalise the considerable achievements of Matron Wilson," Mr Fahour said.
"Our stamp releases offer a pictorial account of Australia's heritage and culture, and it is only fitting for a talented trail-blazer like Matron Wilson to be recognised."
Long-time supporter, author and historian Susanna De Vries said she was delighted that the hard working heroine was getting the recognition she deserved.
"Grace was a loved and respected nurse known for her compassion, leadership and resourcefulness - known for sleeping rough under the stars and turning petticoats into makeshift bandages when a supply ship was delayed for three weeks," Ms De Vries said.
Becoming one of Australia's highly decorated wartime figures, in 1916 Grace was one of six individuals throughout the Commonwealth that year to receive the Royal Red Cross, First Class for "distinguished service in the field.
"Few people know that Grace was distinguished in war and in peace. On her return to Australia, she was appointed Matron-in-Chief at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital and then a very popular Head Matron at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital before returning to service in World War II. She was a real hero."
Grace will appear alongside images relating to the 1916 debate on conscription, the Somme offensive, trench action, and soldiers' mail from the Western Front.
Products associated with this stamp issue comprise a minisheet, stamp pack, first day cover, maxicard set, postal and numismatic cover, booklet of 10 x $1.00 self-adhesive stamps, stamp medal, medallion cover, medallion cover box set (five medallion covers), prestige cover, and prestige booklet.
The WWI commemorative stamps and associated products are on sale now at participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at auspost.com.au/stamps while stocks last.