Rachael Pratt

Events

Birth

18 July 1874

Pratt was born near Heywood, Victoria. Rachael Pratt was the ninth child of farmers William and Phoebe, both originally from England.

The beginning of her nursing

1909

Always an independent spirit, Pratt decided, in 1909, to begin nursing
training at Ballarat Hospital. She lowered her age from 35 to 31.

Certificate of Competency

August 1912

She received her certificate of competency in August 1912 and just two months later was employed at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.

The First World War

May 1915

With the onset of the First World War, Rachael made the decision to serve
her country. Aged 41 at the time, she enlisted as a staff nurse in the AANS
in May 1915 and was posted to the 3rd Australian General Hospital; she
embarked for Britain aboard RMS Moolton.

The Greek Islands

June 1915

Rachael was transferred to the Greek island of Lemnos,
where equipment was in short supply.

Egypt

25 June 1915

Pratt went on to work, for a short time, in Egypt, before being posted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station (1ACCS) in France

The tragic attack

4 July 1915

In the early hours of 4 July 1915, 1ACCS was attacked from the air. Pratt was busy nursing a patient when the shrapnel from a bomb burst through the tent, puncturing her lung and tearing through her back and shoulder. Despite her injuries, she remained calm, and when the attack ended resumed treating her patients. Soon, however, the pain of her injuries and the loss of blood caught up with her, and she collapsed.

Military Medal

July 1916

For “conspicuous gallantry displayed in the performance of her duties” Pratt was promoted to sister and was awarded the Military Medal.

Her return

October 1918

After spending time in a hospital in England, Rachael returned to duty and nursed until the end of the war. In October 1918, she returned home to Melbourne

Her discharge

April 1919

Rachael was discharged from the AIF in April 1919.

Her death

23 March 1954

With shrapnel still in her lung, Rachael suffered from chronic bronchitis until her death on 23 March 1954, aged 79. She never married