WWI health workers commemorated on film

The proud history of Queensland’s doctors, nurses and support staff who served during the First World War is the subject of a unique documentary ’Bandages and Battlefields’, launched today at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said the 42 minute documentary revealed the work, memories and legacy of Queenslanders who worked in terrible conditions in the medical service during the war.

“The conditions that confronted 1300 doctors and about 2500 nurses from the Australian Army Nursing Service in the First World War were appalling,” Mr Dick said.

“Infection was rampant, and the only anaesthetics available were chloroform and ether.”

“Despite this, our medical personnel treated 137,000 Australian soldiers, as well as countless others from allied nations.”

Mr Dick said the documentary was produced by the Department of Health as part of the Queensland Government’s contribution to the ANZAC Centenary.

“This is a time for us to remember the medical personnel and support staff who put their lives on the line to treat thousands of Australians and our allied troops,” he said.

“The legacy of war has not just been the lessons about peace, but about saving lives and preventing death through disease.

“A century on, many of the medical lessons learnt in just four years during the First World War are still being used and developed further in Queensland hospitals.

“And our tradition of providing medical support continues, with around

200 Queensland Health employees also serving as Australian Defence Force reservists.”

Across Queensland, the documentary will be available to be shown at official ANZAC centenary ceremonies, and provided to all Hospital and Health Services.

‘Bandages and Battlefields’ will be broadcast on Network Ten’s Channel One on Anzac Day at 2pm. It will also be available on the Department of Health’s website at

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