New stamp issue honours WWI heroine Matron Grace Wilson

12 April 2016

Matron Grace Wilson has been honoured in a new series of stamps issued by Australia Post to mark the centenary of World War I. In 1916 Matron Grace Wilson, alumna of Brisbane Girls Grammar School, was awarded the Royal Red Cross, First Class, for “distinguished service in the field” after leading a group of nurses who tended to the thousands of wounded and dying soldiers evacuated from Gallipoli in 1915.

Working in appalling conditions on the Greek island of Lemnos, Grace Wilson and her Australian Army nurses saved the lives of all but 142 of the 7,400 sick and seriously injured Diggers despite the lack of tents, medical equipment, food or basic equipment. The nurses even famously tore up their petticoats to serve as bandages.

Grace Wilson had a long and distinguished career in nursing spanning thirty years, including overseas service in both World War I and World War II. She was appointed CBE in 1919, received the Florence Nightingale Medal in 1929, and served as the Australian Army Matron-in-Chief.

The new $1 stamp, released today, features Matron Grace Wilson in front of a group of Australian Army nurses and the Red Cross Medal.

Grace Wilson’s remarkable story has been told in the 2013 book Australian Heroines of World War One by Queensland historian Susanna de Vries.


Gallipoli nurse finally figures on a stamp. (2016, April 10). Courier Mail, p. 26.

McCarthy, J. (1990). Wilson, Grace Margaret (1879-1957). Australian Dictionary of Biography [online]. Retrieved from: