Bullwinkel, Vivian (Lieutenant Colonel, b.1915 - d.2000)

Accession Number PR01216
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 181 cm; Box/es: 7; Wallet/s: 19; Oversize: 6
Object type Book, Card, Certificate, Diary, Document, Letter, Photograph, Postcard, Scrapbook, Serial, Souvenir
Maker Bullwinkel, John
Bullwinkel, Vivian
Place made Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, United Kingdom
Date made 1916-2001
Access Open
Conflict Period 1910-1919
Period 1930-1939
Period 1950-1959
Period 1970-1979
Period 1960-1969
Second World War, 1939-1945
Period 1920-1929
Period 1990-1999
Period 1980-1989
Period 1940-1949
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

Collection of personal papers relating to the Second World War and post-war service of F31029 Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Statham (nee Bullwinkel) AO, MBE, ARRC, ED, FRCNA, nursing sister and matron, prisoner of war, 1915-2000.

The collection consists of diaries, papers, notebooks, recipes, letters, sketches, news clippings, photographs, certificates, and ephemera, split into eight themed series and relating to Bullwinkel’s early life, military service, prisoner of war experience, repatriation, awards, and her post-war work with the Red Cross and ex-service, nursing and other voluntary organisations.

Series 1 - Bullwinkel’s wartime diaries and papers, 1941-1946. The diaries contain daily entries dated from 29 August 1941 to 14 February 1942 and describe Bullwinkel’s experiences in Malaya up to the Fall of Singapore. The series also includes papers kept while Bullwinkel was a prisoner of war and features handwritten recipes, poems, songs, sketches, and a concert programme. Other papers relate to the war crimes trials held in Tokyo in 1946 and include handwritten accounts of Bullwinkel’s experiences while a prisoner of war.

Series 2 - Bullwinkel’s correspondence, 1941-1970. Early correspondence in the series is primarily between Bullwinkel and her mother, Eva, and covers the period from Bullwinkel’s enlistment and service with 13 Australian General Hospital to the Fall of Singapore. Wallet 2 contains letters to Eva Bullwinkel regarding the status and fate of her daughter, and letters (several of which went undelivered) written by Eva to Bullwinkel while the latter was a prisoner of war. Wallets 4, 5 and 6 comprise letters, cards and telegrams sent during 1945 when Bullwinkel was found alive in a prison camp in Sumatra and repatriated to Australia. Wallets 6 and 7 contain correspondence written from 1946 to 1948 and include ‘welcome home’ letters, correspondence with the families of colleagues who died in captivity, and Bullwinkel’s involvement in the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. Wallet 8 includes material from 1950, when Bullwinkel and Sister Betty Jeffrey visited the United Kingdom, and sporadic correspondence with friends, former colleagues and acquaintances up to circa 1970.

Series 3 - 15 albums of official papers, photographs, news cuttings, correspondence and ephemera relating to Bullwinkel’s childhood, war service and repatriation, activities around Australia, work for voluntary organisations, attendance at memorial services and ex-prisoner of war reunions, and depictions in television. Also includes one flat stack folio of musical score.

Series 4 - Honours, awards and post-war service in Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps, 1947-2001. The series consists of seven wallets and a folio containing letters, telegrams, certificates, news clippings, and scrapbooked photographs and ephemera relating to military and civilian honours and awards bestowed on Bullwinkel, and her post-war career in the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps. In particular, the series includes material relating to Bullwinkel’s awards of the Associate of the Royal Red Cross (Wallet 1), Florence Nightingale Medal (Wallet 2) and Efficiency Decoration (Wallet 3), appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (Wallet 4), award of Honorary Life Membership to the Australian Red Cross Society (Wallet 5), and appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia (Wallet 6)

Series 5 - Consists of two wallets containing the text and drafts of presentations, correspondence, programmes, documents and news clippings related to Bullwinkel’s membership of the Soroptimist Club and the establishment of Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific. Much of the material relates to Bullwinkel’s period as President of the Divisional Union of Soroptimist Clubs of Victoria from 1972 to 1974.

Series 6 - Two wallets of newspaper and magazine clippings, which were collected by Bullwinkel between 1942 and 1954. The clippings, both loose and scrapbooked, concern Bullwinkel, the Fall of Singapore, Australian Army nurses, the Banka Island massacre, prisoners of the Japanese, the liberation and return of Australian prisoners of war, the unveiling of memorials, the award of Bullwinkel’s Associate of the Royal Red Cross, and military honours to ex-prisoners of war.

Series 7 – Photographs, negatives and slides, 1922-1997. The series consists of three binders, two wallets and a flat stack folio of photographs that span from Bullwinkel’s childhood, pre-war nursing career, early military service, post-war life, participation in commemorative events, and her return to Muntok, Sumatra and Banka Island in later life. The series includes a signed portrait presented to Bullwinkel by Queen Mary, Bullwinkel with the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, the unveiling of Kranji War Memorial in Singapore, and memorials to, and graves of, nursing sisters killed during the Second World War.

Series 8 - Consists of eight wallets containing various accounts, correspondence and articles on the experience of Australian prisoners of the Japanese during the Second World War. The focus is primarily on nurses, those captured following the sinking of the Vyner Brooke or Empire Star, or those imprisoned on Sumatra. The series includes accounts on, or by, Sister Nesta James, Private Gregory McNamara, Sister Carrie (Jean) Ashton, missionary Margaret Dryburgh, Sister Thelma McEachern, civilian Edith (Betty) Leembruggen, and Chaplain Lionel Marsden.