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Biographical entry Conyers, Evelyn Augusta (1870 - 1944)


1 March 1870
Invercargill, New Zealand
6 September 1944
Richmond, Victoria, Australia


Evelyn Conyers was a highly regarded war-time nurse. She served in Egypt and Greece for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during 1914-1915 and was promoted to matron. In 1916 the AIF transferred Conyers to their London headquarters to help reconcile differences between the nurses and medical staff and the Australian and British nursing services. Her contributions to the war effort and nursing in general were rewarded by her being appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), the Order of the Royal Red Cross and recipient of the Florence Nightingale medal.


In her early 20s, Evelyn Augusta Conyers migrated from New Zealand to Victoria, Australia. There she set about studying nursing at the Children's Hospital and then the Melbourne Hospital. She graduated in 1896 and worked in a private hospital from around 1901 to 1903. It was also in 1903 when Conyers joined the Australian Army Nursing Service. The following year, she was employed by the new Queen's Memorial Infectious Diseases Hospital as matron. In c.1907, Evelyn Conyers and Sister Jessie MacBeth established the Lancewood private hospital in Kew.

When wore broke out, Conyers joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) as a senior sister. Her first post was at the 1st Australian General Hospital in Egypt, but soon after arriving Conyers was sent to the Egyptian Army Hospital (Abbassia) to give urgent assistance. By July 1915 she had rejoined the 1st Australian General Hospital which had been moved to Heliopolis, Greece. Conyers was soon promoted to matron and sent to the neighbouring 3rd Australian General Hospital. In December of the same year, she was promoted to matron-in-chief of the Australian Army Nursing Service. In 1916 Conyers was transferred to the AIF's London headquarters, where she worked in administration as well as making several trips casualty-clearing to auxiliary hospitals on the Western Front. Conyers returned to Australia in December 1918 and went back to the Lancewood Hospital.

Evelyn Conyers was a heavily involved in the development of nursing in Australia. She was founder of the (Royal) Victorian Trained Nurses' Association (later known as the Royal Victorian College of Nurses) and the Victorian Trained Nurses' Club Ltd, a ten-year board member under the Nurses' Registration Act, a member of the Australian Nursing Federation, and a member of the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital's board of management.


c. 1890
Life event - Migrated to Australia (Victoria)
Education - Nursing Certificate completed at the Children's and Melbourne Hospitals
Career position - Founder of the Victorian Trained Nurses' Association
Career position - Matron at a private hospital in Melbourne
Career position - Sister with the Australian Army Nursing Service
Career position - Foundation Matron of Queen's Memorial Infectious Disease Hospital in Fairfield
1914 - 1916
Career position - Senior Sister with the 1st Australian General Hospital of the Australian Imperial Force in Egypt and Greece
c. 12 December 1914
Career position - Matron-in-Chief with the Australian Army Nursing Service
Career position - Matron with the Australian Imperial Force at their London Headquarters
3 June 1916
Award - Order of the Royal Red Cross (1st class)
12 December 1917
Life event - Returned to Victoria
January 1919
Award - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
March 1919
Award - Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
December 1919
Award - Bar to her Royal Red Cross received
23 February 1921 - 23 February1921
Award - Florence Nightingale Medal and Diploma received from the Red Cross Committee in Geneva

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

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Annette Alafaci