Guide to the papers of Vivian Bullwinkel
Collection Number: PR01216
Title: Papers of Vivian Bullwinkel
Date range of collection: 1916-1998
Collection number: PR01216
Extent: 1.8 shelf metres, 7 boxes, 19 albums, 6 oversized (flat stack) folios
Location: Private Records collection, Research Centre, Australian War Memorial.
Abstract: The collection comprises Bullwinkel's diaries and notebooks covering 1941-1942; postcards, albums of correspondence relating to her experience as an Australian Army Sister; original transcripts based on her testimony at the Tokyo war trials in 1942; photographs, news cuttings, letters and ephemera relating to her postwar career which included work with the Red Cross and ex-service, nursing and other voluntary organisations.
Provenance: Donated by Vivian Bullwinkel in October 1999 and April 2000.
Restrictions on use: Copyright of materials described in this guide is governed by copyright law in Australia. For further information contact the Curator of Private Records, Research Centre.
Preferred citation: Guide to the papers of Vivian Bullwinkel, Australian War Memorial, PR01216
Related collections: The Australian War Memorial holds related material in the following Private Records collections:
Papers of Captain C H Ashton, AWM PR87/080
Papers of Matron Irene M Drummond, AWM PR87/187
Papers of Sister D G Elmes, AWM PR88/108
Papers of Nursing Sister Pat J Gunther, AWM PR90/019
Papers of Sister Ellen M Hannah, AWM 3DRL/7474
Papers of Lieutenant Betty Agnes Jeffrey, AWM 3DRL/1857
Papers of Staff Nurse E L Keats, AWM PR88/002
Papers of Captain Wilma Elizabeth Forster Oram, AWM PR84/345
Papers of Staff Nurse Mena P Raymont, AWM PR88/003
Papers of Lieutenant Mona Margaret Wilton, AWM PR89/092
Papers of Sister Veronica Turner (nee Clancy), AWM MSS1086
Subjects: Prisoners of war; Second World War; Australian Army Nursing Service
Born Kapunda, South Australia, 18 December 1915.
Died, Perth, Western Australia, 3 July 2000.
Vivian Bullwinkel was a Second World War Australian Army Nursing Sister who is widely known as the sole survivor of a tragic massacre on Banka Island in Sumatra on 16 February 1942, in which 21 of her colleagues were killed by Japanese troops. Her courage while a prisoner of war of the Japanese exemplified the bravery of Australian women in war, and her distinguished postwar career was marked by many humanitarian achievements.
|1934||Probationer in training, Broken Hill and Districts Hospital|
|1938||Graduated at Broken Hill and Districts Hospital|
|1939-1940||Staff nurse, Kiaora Private Hospital, Hamilton, Victoria|
|1940-1941||Jessie McPherson Hospital, Melbourne|
|1940||Enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service, Australian Imperial Force|
|1941-1945||Overseas service Malaya; prisoner of war, Banka Island and Sumatra|
|1945-1949||Heidelberg Military Hospital|
|1950||Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital|
|1950-1953||St Mary's Hospital, Paddington and Australia House, London|
|1955-1970||Lieutenant-Colonel, 3 Royal Australian Nursing Corps Training Unit (CMF), Southern Command|
|1959||Diploma in Nursing Administration|
|1947-1961||Charge Sister and Assistant Matron, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, Melbourne|
|1961-1977||Director of Nursing, Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, Victoria|
|1964-1969||Deputy Commander and Nursing Advisor, Australian Red Cross|
|1970||Council Member of the College of Nursing, Australia|
|1973-1974||President of the College of Nursing, Australia|
|1980-1995||Chairperson, Women's Auxiliary Group, Hollywood Repatriation General Hospital, Perth|
Member and later Vice President, Victorian State Committee, College of Nursing Australia. Member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Directors of Nursing, Victoria. Nurses Representative on the Nurses Wage Board, Victoria.
|1964-1969||First Woman Trustee of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra|
|1972-1974||Founder, Member and later President, Soroptimists Club of Deakin|
|1970-1971||Chairperson, Liaison Committee for Victoria Outward Bound|
|1976||Appointed to the Court of Directors of the Royal Humane Society|
|1976||Honorary Member for Western Australia, RHS
Member of the Executive Committee Naval, Military and Airforces' Club, WA
Member of the Executive Committee of the Army Museum of Western Australia
Honours and awards
|1993||Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)|
|1973||Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)|
|1947||Associate of the Royal Red Cross (ARRC)|
|1969||Efficiency Decoration (ED)|
|1947||Florence Nightingale Medal|
|Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing Australia (FRCNA)|
|1992||Honorary Life Membership of the Australian Red Cross Society|
|1988||Selected by the National Heritage 200 Committee for inclusion in the
Bicentennial publication of The People Who Made Australia Great
Manners, Norman G, Bullwinkel Carlisle: Hesperian Press 1999
Scope and content note
In 1941, at the age of 26, Bullwinkel enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service, Australian Imperial Force. She reported for duty in May and in September embarked for Singapore as a Staff Nurse with the newly raised 2/13th AGH. She served in Singapore from September 1941 until she was evacuated with 64 other Australian Army Nursing Sisters aboard a small coastal steamer, the Vyner Brooke on 12 February 1942. On 14 February, heading for Sumatra via Banka Strait, the ship was sunk by Japanese bombers.
Bullwinkel's diaries and notebooks, with entries dated from August 1941 to February 1942, give first hand account of the evacuation from Singapore, and the sinking of the Vyner Brooke by Japanese bombers on 14 February 1942:
'Beautiful sunny morning, calm sea, and anchored very pretty island. Peacefulness disturbed as planes flew over and machine-gunned boat, all took to lower deck as pre-arranged, but raid all over and much discussion on planes sinking us and enemy aircraft. Took up anchor and steamed along. 2 pm air raid siren. All down to lower deck and flatten down. Six planes attacking once more, bombs hit, second, third time, third bomb below the water line. Whistle for all on deck to take to life boats. Wight, Nourse, Cuthbertson, several civilians injured...'
Bullwinkel was with a group of survivors on Banka Island when a Japanese patrol arrived and ordered the 22 women in the group to walk into the sea. They were machine-gunned from behind. All except Bullwinkel were killed.
After two weeks in the jungle on Banka Island caring for a wounded British soldier, Bullwinkel gave herself up and rejoined other Sisters who had made it to shore. The surviving 32 Sisters spent the next three and a half years as prisoners of war on Banka Island and Sumatra. Of the original 65 nurses evacuated from Singapore on the Vyner Brooke, only 24, including Bullwinkel, returned to Australia. During their internment, eight Sisters died in the last seven months of their captivity as a result of malnutrition and other easily treated diseases. Among Bullwinkel's papers is the only postcard she was allowed to send home, in March 1943. Exemplifying the courage of the Sisters, she made light of her situation. Bullwinkel wrote to her mother, 'My roving spirit has been somewhat checked'.
Bullwinkel gave evidence before the Tokyo war crimes trials in December 1946 and was described a model witness. Included in the collection is her original transcript at the war crimes trials and her notes listing war crimes committed by the Japanese while she was a prisoner of war.
The albums of correspondence provide a rich source of testimony concerning Bullwinkel's experience as an Australian Army Sister and the impact her story had on Australians at the end of the war. There is a delightful postwar illustrated series sent in by school children, 'Dear friend, I hope you will soon be home again. Home is the best place. Thank you for helping to win the war'. Particularly poignant are the many letters sent to Bullwinkel by relatives of her colleagues, seeking information about the fate of their loved ones.
Bullwinkel's career can be traced through the albums, comprising photographs, newspaper cuttings, letters and ephemera. After the war, Bullwinkel retained her position at Heidelberg Military Hospital when it was taken over by the Department of Repatriation, and as Assistant Matron continued to care for Australian servicemen. From 1955 to 1970, she served as Lieutenant Colonel in 3 Royal Australian Nursing Corps Training Unit (CMF). On retirement in 1977, she was Director of Nursing, Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, Victoria. While at Fairfield, she organised a rescue mission to evacuate Vietnamese war orphans from Saigon and supervised their convalescence before adoption to Australian families. She worked tirelessly for the Red Cross, ex-service, nursing and other voluntary organizations. An achievement close to her heart was the instigation of nursing scholarships so that Malaysian nurses could finish training in Australia.
Bullwinkel received many honours and awards, and the albums contain the commendations for several of these. She was selected by the National Heritage 2000 Committee for inclusion in the Bicentennial publication of The people who made Australia. The photographs include one autographed by Queen Mary, presented to Bullwinkel after an audience in 1951, and another from the set of 'Paradise Road', autographed with thanks by the film's director, Bruce Beresford, in 1997.
Bullwinkel married Col Francis West Statham OBE, ED in September 1977. She returned to Banka Island in 1992 to select a site for a memorial. The series of photographs contain images of this journey. In 1993, with the dedication of the memorial on Banka, she fulfilled a long-held ambition to make a fitting tribute to her colleagues.
Wartime diaries and papers are arranged in Series 1. The remaining papers are arranged in folders in chronological order. Correspondence 1941-1945 is arranged in Series 2. The albums (Series 3) contain a variety of material, including photographs, letters and news cuttings arranged by year and dating from before the war to 1998. Other material is arranged thematically: Honours and awards (Series 4), Soroptimist Club (Series 5), newspaper cuttings (Series 6), photographs (Series 7) and POW accounts (Series 8). Bullwinkel's postwar nursing career, particularly at Fairfield Hospital, is not well represented in the collection.
Bullwinkel’s wartime diaries contain daily entries dated from 29 August 1941 to 14 February 1942. The diaries describe her experience in Malaya up to the Fall of Singapore. The series also includes notebooks and other papers kept while Bullwinkel was a prisoner of war, and includes recipes, poems, songs and sketches. Other papers relate to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal held in 1946–1948.
|Series/ Wallet/Item||Title, date and description|
|1/1/1||Diary (mock snakeskin cover with 2/13th AGH colour patch) with handwritten entries, 10–14 February 1942; additional entry for Saturday 28 February 1942; includes recipes, lists of nursing sisters and servicemen, and song lyrics. The section of pages cut out following the entry for the 28 February 1942 had already been removed from the notebook when Bullwinkel found it in a POW camp.|
|1/1/2||Diary entries, transcribed on foolscap pad, 29 August 1941 – 14 February 1942. Annotated by Bullwinkel’s biographer, Norm Manners.|
|1/1/3||Diary entries, handwritten in pencil on loose scraps of paper, 29 August – 27 September 1941.|
|1/1/4||Diary entries, handwritten in pen, on a re-used page of a Dutch ship’s manual, 28 September 1941 – 9 February 1942. Includes a list of summary entries.|
|1/1/5||Diary entry, handwritten in pencil on loose scraps of paper, describing Bullwinkel’s attempt to get help from the locals on Banka Island, after being shot by the Japanese, 28 February 1942.|
|1/1/6||Diary entries, transcribed by Bullwinkel, 7 January – 14 February 1942, 3 versions.|
|1/1/7||Diary entries in summary, transcribed, 14 October 1941 – 1 February 1942, list of men’s names and service numbers.|
|1/2/8||Lettercard written by Bullwinkel, from Women’s Camp, Palembang, Sumatra to her mother, 18 March 1943.|
|1/2/9||Message sent by Eva Bullwinkel to Bullwinkel in Sumatra, wishing her birthday and Christmas wishes and thanking her for the lettercard [nd].|
|1/2/10||Letter to Bullwinkel, from ‘Weston’, written from the men’s POW camp in Muntok, 22 November 1943.|
|1/2/11||Handwritten letter to Bullwinkel, [nd].|
|1/2/12||Handwritten letter to Bullwinkel, [nd].|
|1/3/13||Government issue notebook, containing handwritten recipes and Malaysian phrases; loose page with handwritten draft of a letter to the Governor of Sumatra.|
|1/4/14 – 1/4/22||Recipes handwritten on fragments of paper.|
|1/4/23||Recipes written in an undated Dutch diary that Bullwinkel discovered in the POW camp. Contains entries written by the original owner.|
|1/5/24 – 1/5/26||Song lyrics and poetry.|
|1/5/27||Copy of a birthday card, which includes music for the ‘Captives Prayer’, dated 12 October 1942, Palembang.|
|1/5/28||Handwritten miscellaneous notes, dated September 1942 – 6 February 1943.|
|1/5/29||A concert program (4 pages typescript) [nd].|
|1/5/30||Handwritten page from notebook in Dutch and English, describing a command from Japanese authorities, dated 13 June 1942, Palembang.|
|1/6/31 – 1/6/35||Fragments of pencil sketches drawn in the POW camp [nd].|
|1/6/36||Page from the Camp Chronicle with pencil drawing [nd].|
|1/7/37||Handwritten account of Christmas Days in 1942, 1943, and 1944 (2 pages).|
|1/7/38||Handwritten list of soldier’s names, possibly of those imprisoned in a nearby camp.|
|1/7/39||Handwritten funeral arrangements, listing pallbearers and attendance, Wednesday 7 June 1944. Handwritten prayer.|
|1/8/40||Bullwinkel’s copy of the Record of Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 20 December 1946.|
|1/8/41||Handwritten account of war crimes and conditions experienced while Bullwinkel was in the POW camps.|
|1/8/42||Handwritten account of the first day of proceedings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 3 May 1946.|
|1/8/43||Handwritten account of Bullwinkel’s experience in Singapore, 1941–1942.|
Early correspondence in the series is principally 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.
For preservation reasons, copies only will be issued to researchers.
|Series/ Wallet/Item||Title, date and description|
|2/1/1 – 2/1/53||Correspondence to mother, 1941–1942, includes: 53 letters, cards and telegrams Bullwinkel sent to her mother Eva from Jessie McPherson Hospital, Puckapunyal, Lady Dugan Hostel, ‘abroad’, and Malaya between 3 January 1941 and 8 February 1942.|
|2/2/54 – 2/2/63||Correspondence, 1942–1944, includes: ten letters Eva Bullwinkel sent to her daughter between 24 January 1941 and 4 January 1944, five of which were returned undelivered, and two notes from Eva acknowledging receipt of lettercard sent by Bullwinkel from Palembang prisoner of war camp.|
|2/2/64 – 2/2/70||Correspondence, 1942–1944, includes: seven letters, cards and telegrams that were sent to Bullwinkel from family and friends between 30 November 1941 and 5 May 1944. The correspondence includes a letter to Bullwinkel from her brother, John, who was on service with the RAAF in the United Kingdom.|
|2/2/71||Letter, dated 6 August 1944, from Aunt Besse to John Bullwinkel. Discusses air raids on the family home, John’s upcoming wedding, and mentions Vivian.|
|2/3/72 – 2/3/95||Correspondence to mother, 1942–1944, includes letters to Eva Bullwinkel from various agencies and persons regarding the status and fate of her daughter. Includes: official telegram dated 21 October 1943 informing Eva Bullwinkel that Bullwinkel “previously reported missing is now reported prisoner of war”; letter from the Australian Red Cross stating that Bullwinkel “is interned in Sumatra Camp”, dated 28 October 1943; letters in reply to her inquiries, including official notification of Bullwinkel as “missing”; letter to Mr and Mrs Bullwinkel, concerning a message, spoken by Bullwinkel, broadcast from a Japanese-controlled radio station, 21 March 1943.|
|2/3/96||POW lettercard from Bullwinkel to family, 2 July 1945.|
|2/4/97 – 2/4/99||Correspondence, August 1945, includes three letters to Bullwinkel, one from Bruce Hunt and two from her mother, celebrating the end of the war and Bullwinkel’s imminent return home.|
|2/4/100 – 2/4/205||Correspondence, September–October 1945, includes: letters between John, Eva, and Vivian Bullwinkel; ‘welcome home’ letters from relatives, friends, acquaintances, ex-service organizations, relatives of Bullwinkel’s colleagues, and illustrated letters from school children; letters and cards from ex-POW servicemen and nursing sisters, including Sisters Wight, Singleton, Halligan, and Casson; letter from Agnes Borton (whose brother, Richard Borton, was captain of the Vyner Brooke); an official letter from the Red Cross Bureau for Wounded, Missing and Prisoners of War to Eva Bullwinkel, informing Eva that Bullwinkel has arrived at Singapore, 19 October 1945.|
|2/5/206 – 2/5/240||Correspondence, November–December 1945, includes: ‘welcome home’ letters; letters from Bullwinkel to her mother; letters from relatives of Bullwinkel’s colleagues to Bullwinkel; letters concerning the fate of Sisters Bessie Wilmott, Kathleen Neuss, and Janet Kerr (who were killed in the Banka Island massacre); and letters and cards wishing Bullwinkel a Merry Christmas.|
|2/6/241 – 2/6/290||Cards and tags, 1945, includes: 50 ‘welcome home’ cards and gift tags sent to Bullwinkel in 1945.|
|2/6/291 – 2/6/394||Telegrams and cables, August–December 1945, includes: telegrams between Eva, John and Vivian Bullwinkel; ‘welcome home’ messages and well wishes to Eva, John and Vivian Bullwinkel; updates on Bullwinkel’s health and journey home; invitations to events; and Christmas greetings.|
|2/6/395 – 2/6/412||Telegrams and cables, February 1946 – February 1947, includes: ‘welcome home’ messages and well wishes; updates sent by Bullwinkel to her mother on her journey through Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia; Christmas greetings; and updates sent to Bullwinkel’s mother on Bullwinkel’s arrival in, and return from, Tokyo for the War Crimes Tribunal.|
|2/7/413 – 2/7/451||Correspondence to mother and brother, 1946, includes: letters by Bullwinkel to her mother and brother discussing recent news on family and friends, former colleagues and fellow ex-prisoners of war, her movements between Melbourne, Launceston, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, her work at 115 Australian Military Hospital, Heidelberg, and her travels to Japan for the War Crimes Tribunal in Tokyo.|
|2/7/452 – 2/7/461||Correspondence to Bullwinkel, 1946, includes: ‘welcome home’ letters, letters from friends and former colleagues concerning home news and Bullwinkel’s experiences as a prisoner of war, and letters concerning Sisters Mary Clarke and Winnie Davis, both of whom died in captivity.|
|2/7/462 – 2/7/466||Correspondence to mother and brother, 1947, includes: five letters from Japan and, later, 115 Australian Military Hospital, Heidelberg, concerning the War Crimes Tribunal, work, military matters, and the award of Bullwinkel’s AARC.|
|2/7/467 – 2/7/479||Correspondence to Bullwinkel, 1947–1948, includes: letters from friends, colleagues or former patients discussing the war years and life since; letters from admirers concerning gifts and Bullwinkel’s appearance on the radio on Anzac Day 1947; letter concerning Lieutenant Kenneth Lester, who died in captivity; and a letter to Eva Bullwinkel discussing Vivian.|
|2/8/480 – 2/8/504||Correspondence, 1950, includes: letters, cards and telegrams farewelling or welcoming Bullwinkel on her visit to England with Sister Betty Jeffrey; and letters of invitation from the Private Secretaries of Queen Mary, the Duchess of Gloucester, and the Marquess of Queensberry.|
|2/8/505 – 2/8/509||Correspondence, 1956–c.1970, includes: a telegram of congratulations from 1956; a letter written by the children of Ward 6; a letter from Virgil Reilly, a former wartime correspondent who sketched Bullwinkel following her liberation from captivity, 1968; a letter from Gideon Jacobs, a former British Royal Marine officer involved in the liberation of Bullwinkel’s prison camp, circa 1970; and a letter from a former military patient at the 2nd Field Ambulance.|
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.
|Series /Album/Item||Item title, date, and description|
|3/1/1 – 3/1/71||Album, pre-war. Certificate of Holy Baptism, 15 October 1916; childhood photographs; hatband and school uniform pocket, 1930; newspaper cuttings related to Broken Hill High School, 1930s; primary and high school photographs; Nurses Registration Certificate, 16 December 1937; photographs, Broken Hill and District Hospital 1934–1939; photographs, Kia Ora Hospital, Hamilton, Victoria, 1939–1940; genealogical research.|
|3/2/72 – 3/2/198||Album, 1941–1945. Photographs of 2/4 Casualty Clearing Station, 1941; 2/10 Australian General Hospital, 1941; 2/13 Australian General Hospital, Puckapunyal, May to August 1941; John Bullwinkel, 1941; Malacca, September–October 1941. Papers related to Bullwinkel’s enlistment, the Banka Island massacre, and Bullwinkel’s repatriation to Australia, including: photographs; news cuttings; card 2/1 Hospital Ship Manunda, with nurses’ signatures; official typescript of Bullwinkel’s statement concerning war crimes, September 1945.|
|3/3/199 – 3/3/383||Album, 1946–1948. Photographs, news cuttings, invitations related to Bullwinkel’s trip to Tokyo and her attendance at Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, October 1946; papers related to Nurses’ Memorial Appeal, 1947; photographs, including 13 Australian General Hospital reunion, 1948.|
|3/4/384 – 3/4/572||Album, 1949–1952. Tributes related to Matron O. D. Paschke, 1949; admission card to House of Representatives signed by Prime Minister Chifley, 20 September 1949; tributes to Sister Drummond, 1949; photographs of Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, 1950; news cuttings and photographs related to Bullwinkel and Betty Jeffrey’s tours around Australia in 1949, and overseas to England in 1950; invitations include those to Bullwinkel from Queen Mary, the Duchess of Gloucester, and the Australian High Commissioner at Australia House.|
|3/5/573 – 3/5/751||Album, 1953–1957. Ephemera related to Bullwinkel’s participation in the Coronation Parade for HM Queen Elizabeth, 6 July 1953; Bullwinkel’s return to Australia, 1953; correspondence; invitations; news cuttings and photographs related to the publication of Betty Jeffrey’s White Coolies, 1954, and Jessie Simons’ While History Passed, 1955; correspondence regarding Bullwinkel’s promotion to Deputy Matron, December 1955; Bullwinkel’s trip to Singapore for unveiling of Singapore Memorial at Kranji Cemetery, March 1957.|
|3/6/752 – 3/6/890||Album, 1958–1963. Includes papers related to Bullwinkel’s appointment as Matron, Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, 1961; appointment to the first Board of Trustees, Australian War Memorial, 1963; support for Outward Bound Association, 1963; ephemera and photographs related to various visits around Australia to memorial services and POW reunions.|
|3/7/891 – 3/7/1078||Album, 1964–1969. Includes opening of Remembrance Avenue, Gunedah, NSW, 1964; Bullwinkel’s inclusion in an The Age newspaper series, “Uncommon men” written by John Hetherington, and subsequent omission from a book based on the series, 1964; travel to Europe and USA, 1965; photograph and news cutting of the Trustees of Australian War Memorial meeting President Lyndon Johnson, 1966; letter from Buckingham Palace regarding Outward Bound, signed “Philip”, 1967.|
|3/8/1079 – 3/8/1226||Album, 1970–1976. Photographs and ephemera related to Bullwinkel’s presence as Guest of Honour, RSL Congress, Lae, PNG, 1971; souvenir booklet, opening of the “Completed Australian War Memorial”, 1971; colour photographic portrait, “President of College of Nursing Australia 1973–1974”; correspondence and ephemera related to the 25th Annual Meeting of the College, 1974; photograph and news cutting related to “Operation Babylift” of Vietnamese war orphans, 1975; travel to the USA, 1976.|
|3/9/1227 – 3/9/1383||Album, 1977–1983. Bullwinkel’s marriage to Colonel Frank Statham, 9 November 1977; farewell menu, Fairfield Hospital, November 1977; news cuttings related to a documentary Women in Captivity on ABC, 5 July 1979 (Bullwinkel and other nurses take out an injunction to prevent its broadcast); and to TV series Tenko [Roll Call], 1982.|
|3/10/1384 – 3/10/1502||Album, 1984–1987. Photographs from prisoner of war reunion, 1984; correspondence and news cuttings related to TV series Mike Willesee’s Australians, produced by Film Australia and Roadshow Coote and Carroll, 1986 (Rachel Ward acts as Bullwinkel); film and television agreement between Bullwinkel and Crawford Productions for The Vivian Bullwinkel Story, by Vivian Bullwinkel, 1986; photographs and correspondence related to Bullwinkel’s appearance on TV show This is Your Life, 1987.|
|3/11/1503 – 3/11/1656||Album, 1988. Correspondence related to TV series Mike Willesee’s Australians; Bullwinkel’s critique of the show; Bullwinkel’s letter to Rachel Ward and reply from Ward; photographs and ephemera related to the dedication of Changi Chapel, Singapore; Bullwinkel’s inclusion in The People Who Made Australia Great; Bullwinkel becomes warden of WA State War Memorial.|
|3/12/1657 – 3/12/1773||Album 1989–1991. Includes colour photographs of sites on Banka Island, 1989; correspondence related to 75th anniversary of the Australian Red Cross, 1989; program for “Song of Survival”, Perth Concert Hall, August 1990.|
|3/13/1774 – 3/13/1863||Album 1992. Includes program “50th Anniversary Kranji War Cemetry Singapore”; photographs and news clippings for 50th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore; letters and photographs from reunion with Gideon Jacobs; photographs from visit to the Royal Military College, Duntroon; notes and photographs from visit to Banka Island; programs and menus for 90th anniversary of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps.|
|3/14/1864 – 3/14/1982||Album 1993. Correspondence, photographs, artwork, signed piece of cloth, and other documents related to visit to Banka Island for dedication of Australian Army Nurses’ Memorial, 2 March 1993; award of Honorary Life Membership of the Red Cross Society of Australia; election as Patron, AIF Malayan Nursing Scholarship Board, July 1993.|
|3/15/1983 – 3/15/2027||Album 1994–1998. Correspondence and news cuttings related to the making of “Paradise Road”; news clippings and reminiscence related to 50th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific, 1995; production photograph signed by Bruce Beresford, 1996; opening of the Vivian Bullwinkel Wing at Hollywood Private Hospital, 1998.|
|3/16/2028 [Flat stack Folio 1]||Three pages of a musical score for piano entitled “The Spring Song” with a handwritten note on the front cover.|
Correspondence, 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.
Associate of the Royal Red Cross (March 1947)
The Florence Nightingale Medal (May 1947)
Efficiency Decoration (1969)
Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (1 January 1973)
Order of Australia (1993)
Honorary Life Membership of the Australian Red Cross Society (March 1992)
|Series/Wallet/Item||Item title, date, and description|
|4/1/1 – 4/1/67||Associate of the Royal Red Cross, 1947, includes: award citation, as well as letters and telegrams of congratulations, relating to Bullwinkel’s award of the Associate of the Royal Red Cross (AARC). Includes letters of congratulations from Bullwinkel’s mother, brother and extended family, friends and colleagues, and ex-service organizations, as well as Wing Commander Bobby Gibbes, and Lieutenant General Vernon Sturdee (Chief of the General Staff).|
|4/2/68 – 4/2/108||Florence Nightingale Medal, 1947, includes: letters and telegrams of congratulations relating to Bullwinkel’s award of the Florence Nightingale Medal. Includes letters of congratulations from Bullwinkel’s mother, brother and extended family, friends and colleagues, ex-service organizations, Lady Dugan, and Governor-General William McKell.|
|4/3/109 – 4/3/110||Efficiency Decoration, 1969, includes: letters of congratulations from Colonel Edna Doig and Major General Robert Knights relating to Bullwinkel’s award of the Efficiency Decoration.|
|4/4/111 – 4/4/273||Member of the Order of the British Empire, 1973, includes: award citation, as well as letters and telegrams of congratulations, relating to Bullwinkel’s appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Includes letters of congratulations from Bullwinkel’s extended family, friends and colleagues, ex-service organizations, College of Nursing Australia, Premier Rupert Hamer, Major General Colin Gurner, Governor Sir Rohan Delacombe, Sir Robert Risson, Sir William Refshauge, Sir Ivan Dougherty, and William and Sonia McMahon.|
|4/5/274 – 4/5/293||Australian Red Cross Society, 1992, including: citation, correspondence, news clippings and letters of congratulations relating to Bullwinkel’s award of Honorary Life Membership of the Australian Red Cross Society.|
|4/6/294 – 4/6/298||Officer of the Order of Australia, 1993, including: letters of congratulations and news clippings relating to Bullwinkel’s appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia. Also includes an August 1993 issue of the Order of Australia Association (Western Australian Branch) Newsletter, and a get well soon card from Margaret and Sir Francis Burt (Governor of Western Australia).|
|4/6/299 – 4/6/306||Awards and appointments, 1989–2001, including: Certificate of Service from the Probus Club of Redlands, 1990; Woman of Distinction certificate from the Girl Guides Association of Western Australia, 1991; Certificate of Honour from the Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical Research, 1991; correspondence with the Honours Secretariat concerning the Order of Australia nomination for Wilma Young (née Oram), 1992; the opening of the Vivian Bullwinkel Wing at Hollywood Private Hospital, 1998; correspondence concerning a memorial model made in memory of Bullwinkel, 2001.|
|4/7/307 – 4/7/375||Album, 1947–1993. A scrapbook folder of photographs, news clippings, and correspondence relating to: Bullwinkel’s investiture with the Associate of the Royal Red Cross; award, and copy of Bullwinkel’s speech at the investiture, of the Florence Nightingale Medal; Bullwinkel’s personal record card, Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps; photographs and news clippings related to Bullwinkel’s post-war army career; booklet “75 Years of Service: Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps 1902–1977”; Bullwinkel’s appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire; and Bullwinkel’s appointment of, and investiture as, an Officer of the Order of Australia.|
|4/8/376 [Flat stack Folio 2]||Certificate, 1973. Oversized certificate appointing Bullwinkel as a Member of the Order of the British Empire.|
Presentations, correspondence, programmes, documents and news clippings related to Bullwinkel’s membership of the Soroptimist Club, her term as President of the Divisional Union of Soroptimist Clubs of Victoria from 1972–1974, and the establishment of Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific.
|Series/Wallet/Item||Item title, date, and description|
|5/1/1 – 5/1/24||Speeches and presentations, 1967–1974. Includes the text and palm cards, often with handwritten annotations, of speeches, presentations, and toasts Bullwinkel delivered related to the Soroptimist Club, the majority of which were given during Bullwinkel’s period as President of the Divisional Union of Soroptimist Clubs of Victoria, 1972–1974.|
|5/1/25 – 5/1/53||Correspondence, 1970–1974. Letters, cards and handwritten notes sent to Bullwinkel relating to her membership and, later, presidency of the Divisional Union of Soroptimist Clubs of Victoria. The correspondence includes letters of congratulations on Bullwinkel’s election as president, formal correspondence between the Australian and British divisions of Soroptimist International, and a biographical profile of Bullwinkel written for overseas Soroptimists visiting for an international conference.|
|5/2/54 – 5/2/63||Programmes and documents, 1972–1982. Includes programmes, menus, resolutions, meeting minutes, and newsletters related to the Divisional Union of Soroptimist Clubs of Victoria and the establishment of Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific. Also includes a 1978 copy of the constitution and guidelines for the latter.|
|5/2/64 – 5/2/66||News clippings, 1963–1977. Includes two newspaper clippings and one magazine clipping related to Bullwinkel and the Soroptimist Club.|
Newspaper clippings, both loose and scrapbooked, that were collected by Bullwinkel between 1942 and 1954. The clippings primarily concern Bullwinkel, Australian Army nurses, and prisoners of war.
|Series/Folio/Item||Item title, date, and description|
|6/1/1 – 6/1/78||[Flat stack Folio 3] News clippings, 1942–1954. Includes an exercise book, scrapbooked pages, and loose cuttings from newspaper and magazine articles concerning Bullwinkel, the Fall of Singapore, the Banka Island massacre, prisoners of the Japanese (particularly Australian Army nurses), and the award of Bullwinkel’s Associate of the Royal Red Cross. The folio also includes a 1950 Anzac Day article by Sister Betty Jeffrey.|
|6/2/79 – 6/2/176||[Flat stack Folio 4] News clippings, 1942–1949. Includes scrapbooked, and one loose, cuttings from newspaper and magazine articles concerning Bullwinkel, John Simpson Kirkpatrick, the role of Australian Army nurses in Singapore prior to the capitulation, the Banka Island massacre, prisoners of the Japanese (particularly Australian Army nurses), the liberation and return of Australian prisoners of war, awards to ex-prisoners, and the unveiling of memorials.|
Photographs, negatives and slides that were taken, or collected, by Bullwinkel between 1922 and 1997. The photographs span from Bullwinkel’s childhood, pre-war nursing career, early military service, post-war life and career, and participation in commemorative events, to her return to Muntok, Sumatra and Banka Island in later life.
|Series/Album/Item||Item title, date, and description|
|7/1/1 – 7/1/71 & 7/1/74 – 7/1/139||Album, 1922–1951. Includes photographs of: Bullwinkel, aged seven, with her grandfather William Lyle Shegog, 1922; Bullwinkel’s childhood and early nursing career; Vivian and John Bullwinkel in uniform, 1941; pre-war and wartime Singapore, supplied by National Archives of Singapore; Bullwinkel and other Australian nurses following their repatriation to Australia, 1945; wartime portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Statham; Bullwinkel giving evidence at Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, 1946; Bullwinkel and Betty Jeffrey in the United Kingdom, 1950; and photograph presented to Bullwinkel by Queen Mary, signed “Mary R 1951”.|
|7/2/140 – 7/2/217||Album, 1951–1992. Includes photographs of: the Nurses Roll of Honour 1939–1945 book; Bullwinkel and others with Queen Elizabeth II in Melbourne, 1954; Bullwinkel with the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, 1956; Anzac Day in Melbourne, 1957; the unveiling of Kranji War Memorial in Singapore, 1957; former Sisters Betty Jeffrey and Elizabeth Simmons with Lieutenant General Gordon Bennett; Bullwinkel at various events, Anzac Day, and at home; the graves of nursing sisters who died in prisoner of war camps on Sumatra; Vivian and Frank Statham in Nedlands, Western Australia, 1991; and Bullwinkel reunited with Gideon Jacobs, 1992.|
|7/3/218 – 7/3/287||Album, 1993–1997. Includes photographs of: Bullwinkel’s return to Muntok and Sumatra, 1993; Vivian and Frank Statham at their home in Nedlands, Western Australia, 1996; contemporary colour photographs of Singapore; commemorative plaques and gravestones; Bullwinkel, wearing medals, in Canberra, 1997.|
|7/4/288 – 7/4/289 [Flat stack Folio 5]||Photographs, 1949–1950. Includes two oversized photographs of: the memorial to Matron Olive Paschke, presented to Bullwinkel on the unveiling of the memorial, May 1949; and Sisters Betty Jeffrey and Vivian Bullwinkel laying wreaths at the memorial to Edith Cavell, 1950.|
|7/5/290 – 7/5/292||Negatives and slides, 1990s. Includes photographic negatives of Singapore, Jakarta, and Banka Island, and the graves of Australian nurses buried in Indonesia.|
SERIES 8: Prisoner of war accounts
Series 8 consists of 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.
|Series/Wallet/Item||Item title, date, and description|
|8/1/1||List of Nursing Staff – 8th Division, evacuated from Singapore on Steamship “Vyner Brooke” on 12th February 1942, and subsequent fates.|
|8/1/2||List of six Australian Army Nursing Service personnel in, or lost in, Malaya, circa 1942. The list includes basic biographical and service details.|
|8/1/3||Copy of “Condition of General Foreigners and Natives, Headquarters of South Eastern Group Army, August 30th, 1945”, a Japanese command report sent to the First Australian Army on the surrender of Rabaul.|
|8/1/4||Testimony, 1946, Sister Nesta James to the Australian War Crimes Board of Inquiry.|
|8/1/5||Correspondence and account, 1946, regarding the sinking of the SS Behar.|
|8/2/6||Manuscript, “A POW’s Story” by Private Gregory McNamara.|
|8/2/7||Diary, copy, maintained by Sister Carrie (Jean) Ashton prior to and during her captivity by the Japanese.|
|8/2/8||Sumatran Diary, copy, an account by Presbyterian missionary Margaret Dryburgh on her internment by the Japanese on Sumatra.|
|8/2/9 – 8/2/12||Correspondence, accounts and a magazine article regarding the MV Empire Star and Sisters Maude Spehr and Bettie Forwood.|
|8/3/13 – 8/3/15||Note and two copies of Colonel A.P. Derham’s article “Singapore and After: A Brief Historical Survey of the Australian Army Medical Corps in Malaya”.|
|8/3/16 – 8/3/21||Accounts and extracts, including: extract from “Wilma’s diary” on the treatment and rations received by nurses in Japanese captivity; an account by Sister Thelma McEachern on the evacuation of the ship Wah Sui; an account of the sinking of the Vyner Brooke and captivity; an account of Edith (Betty) Leembruggen’s internment by the Japanese; a brief history and anecdotes of Raffles Hotel in Singapore; and an account regarding the search for a civilian internee grave on Sumatra.|
|8/4/22 – 8/4/23||Accounts (excerpts), “Spotlight on Singapore” and “Bushido – We Want No More of It” by Denis Russell-Roberts.|
|8/4/24 – 8/4/26||Correspondence, 1970, regarding the fate of the nurses on the island of Posik in 1942.|
|8/5/27 – 8/5/31||Accounts and articles, including: draft and published copies of Bullwinkel’s “On the Banks of the River Styx”; an account, “The Girls on the Beach”, recalling Bullwinkel’s account of the Banka Island massacre; copy on Bullwinkel, “Nurse Survived Beach Massacre”, published in Grand Parade; and Rosemary Williams’ “A Tribute to Nurses”, on Dame Margot Turner.|
|8/5/32 – 8/5/34||Accounts by, and a card regarding, Chaplain Lionel Marsden. Includes two accounts entitled “Chaplain’s Epic Story of Australia’s Lost Division” and “Cor Ad Cor Loquitor”.|
|8/5/35 – 8/5/36||Correspondence and accounts regarding Major Bruce Hunt and his service with F Force while in Japanese captivity.|
|8/6/37 – 8/6/46||Lecture and overhead slides, Bullwinkel to the 3rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian Military Medicine Association.|
|8/7/47 – 8/7/67||Articles and newspaper clippings, including accounts or obituaries regarding: Sister Ellen Savage; Sister Minnie Hodgson; Sister Florence (Flo) Syer; Coastwatcher Ruby Boye; the memorial to the nurses killed during the Banka Island massacre; the re-dedication ceremony of the Sister Irene Drummond Memorial Park; Sister Nell Allgrove; Brigadier Dame Margot Turner; Sister Sylvia McGregor (née Muir); and Sister Ellen Hannah.|
|8/8/68||Newsletter, “The Echo”, of the 13th Australian General Hospital Unit Association, from Bullwinkel’s time as president.|
|8/8/69||Script, 1960, “We Were Anzacs” by Frank Legg.|
|8/8/70||Address, 1992, delivered by Colonel John Edis on the unveiling of the memorial to the nurses killed during the Banka Island massacre.|
|8/8/71||Certificate, 1992, centenary of Australian Army nursing.|
|8/9/72 [Flat stack Folio 6]||Map, Prisoner of War and Internee Camps in the Far East, produced by the Australian Red Cross Society.|