Recognising Aussie Nurses

Author:
Jeffrey Stephenson
Share to:
A bronze statue at the cenotaph in Cleveland, featuring a wounded soldier being comforted by a nurse, is the proud result of one man’s mission to pay tribute to the many Australian nurses who served in various conflicts past and present.

The lack of recognition for Australian nurses who enlisted in various conflicts throughout the world drove Redland RSL Sub Branch President Alan Harcourt to resolve what he believed to be a major oversight.

The bronze statue, featuring a nurse comforting a wounded soldier, was officially opened at the Cleveland cenotaph in November 2017.The bronze statue, featuring a nurse comforting a wounded soldier, was officially opened at the Cleveland cenotaph in November 2017.
Alan made it his mission to help rectify the dilemma when mapping out projects a few years ago. He’s now proud to point to the finished product at the Cleveland cenotaph, where a bronze statue featuring a wounded soldier being comforted by a nurse stands as a central theme.

The memorial was officially opened in November 2017 and has since attracted hundreds of people, proving a huge attraction at recent ANZAC Day commemorations.

“It’s a wonderful result and there’s a remarkable amount of detail,” Alan said. “Once the design was completed and ready to go, we went to the RSL committee, who quickly gave thego ahead.”

The work – carried out by JH Wagner in Toowoomba, renowned Australia-wide for soldier statues and memorials – took nine months and cost $55,000 to complete. More than half of the cost came from a grant from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation community benefit fund.

Chris Wagner used his son Logan and niece Letitia as models. He procured uniforms used in a television mini-series for the sculpture. The result is lifelike, reverent and magical.

“I was always of the opinion that nurses were not recognised in any shape or form, so I made it my job to sort it out. Now it’s the central theme of our display,” Alan said.

Lighting will soon be installed to finish the project and illuminate the display at night. Alan said the memorial “fitted in nicely”, with this year being the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.

Mr Harcourt, who is in his sixth year as president and will most likely seek a third three-year term, has two other projects in mind.

“I’d like to see more recognition coming the way of the Merchant Navy and the Land Army. They’re the two I’d like to see come to fruition before I’m kicked out.”