In 1916 the British Government in India requested assistance; they needed trained nurses to replace those who were serving in Mesopotamia. The Australian Army Nursing Service responded and by 1919 some 560 Australian nurses had served in India.
Service in India came with the challenges presented by climate, disease, and cultural differences. For most Australian nurses it was a frustrating posting, often filled with inactivity and far from the excitement of wartime nursing that they sought.
Staff Nurse Eliza Rowan enlisted on 18 June 1917 and was in India by the end of July. During her time in India – almost two years - Rowan served in three hospitals in Bombay and Deolali.
Rowan’s 1914 style outdoor uniform consists of an ankle-length skirt, a blouson, and scarlet cape. She would have also worn a veil, stockings, and shoes. It is unlikely that this uniform would have been worn for long in India. It would have been replaced by a uniform more appropriate for the climate.