Elizabeth (Lila) Hunter

Matron Elizabeth Hunter, M.B.E known as Lila, died at the age of 74 in the Waverley War Memorial Hospital in Sydney where she had been administrator for many years.
Lila was one of thirteen children born to Thomas and Catherine Hunter, farmers at Wurdale. After her training at Geelong Hospital she was a nurse at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne before being a director of hospitals at Corowa, Honolulu and the US.
When the war broke out two of her brothers and her brother-in-law, Luke Monkovitch (KIA) joined the AIF. Lila went to England and joined the Queen Alesandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR) on 6th June 1915, where she was appointed Matron at Hawarden Castle, a hospital for English officers. From there she took to the field as a Red Cross Matron in France, Malta, and Germany where she evacuated wounded German prisoners.
After the war she came home and in 1920, became the first Matron of the first Methodist Hospital in NSW even though she was an Anglican. Offers from Geelong Hospital and other attractive positions in Victoria couldn’t sway her to return home. She stayed with the hospital which became known as the Waverley War Memorial Hospital for 24 years before her retirement, building the hospital from a small 19 bed facility to a 130 bed hospital. Lila received the M.B.E. for her services to the nursing profession in the 1941 King’s Birthday Honours. After her retirement she maintained her interest in nursing as a member of the A.T.N.A executive. Just prior to her passing the doctors of the hospital commissioned her portrait, a canvas oil painting, by the well-known artist Joshua Smith; which was entered into the 1948 Archibald Prize.

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