The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Sister (later Matron) Eliza Hoadley

Emily Eliza Hoadley saw Service in the Boer War, Middle East and India

Eliza Emily Hoadley was born in the small village of Shaw near Carcoar in central western New South Wales 26 June 1863, the daughter of James and Mary Hoadley. She was always known as Emily. She trained at Sydney Hospital completing her three years training certificate on 16 December 1894. She was 28 years of age when she started her training. Following her training she became matron of Molong Cottage Hospital in central western New South Wales from December 1895. In 1899 when the New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve was established she joined it as one of the inaugural 24 nurses. In early 1900 the offer of nurses to serve in the Boer War was accepted and Emily Hoadley was one of the 14 selected to go; all of New South Wales contingent were drawn from the NSW Army Nursing Service Reserve. She embarked with the second contingent and sailed on the SS Moravian on 17 January 1900.

The standard dress uniform was grey with silver buttons and included a cap of felt with a silk train falling to a point midway between it and the waist; a blouse and straight full length skirt topped by a waist length Cape with a red collar. Black boots completed the uniform. The Corps badge was a 2 inch khaki circle woven in silk showing a Red Cross inside a circle of the words Australian Army Nursing Service topped by a Crown and the whole enclosed with a silver laurel leaf. Working uniform was usually a long grey dress.

With the other nurses she deployed to Sterkstroom with the New South Wales Army Medical Services. She then served at East London. She left here on June 28, part of the way she travelled by a train by which Lady Roberts was proceeding to Pretoria. On arrival at Elandsfontein she was presented to Lady Roberts.

She took many photographs during her service in South Africa which still survive as an important record.

She wrote of her experiences:

"Four Canadian sisters came up with us from Bloemfontein. Their uniform is khaki-coloured, sailor hats with red plume in front. They are thought highly of. Our hospital has not come up yet, we left it at Kroonstad, Captain Hennessy is commandeering a large house for us, and we are to have the Masonic Hall, where there are 90 patients, and the Wesleyan Church, 50 patients. The sickness at Bloemfontein has been terrible, and also at Springfontein. We saw three of the New South Wales sisters at Bloemfontein, Prince Alfred Hospital nurses. They looked very well and here been up there some time. Sister Gardiner is there ill, but we did not see her, nor Sister Woodward either. Sister Martin has gone back to Wynberg, ill with dysentry. The men look very well indeed up this way, but very dirty; their soap ran out. We gave all we had to them. The supply of food is very low, and bread is scarce. We will be on bully beef and biscuits for a while. The reserve sisters (PCANSR) are joined to us. The air is cold and bracing. I feel far more fit here than at East London, where the air was not damp but wet. It is so cold to write, for fires are as rare as anything else, No wood under £6 per load, and you should see it- just like cut up cherry and quince trees. The usual run of the trees is like gooseberry bushes with thorns as long us your finger."

She served in Cape Colony and Orange Free State. Amongst other postings she served at No15 General Hospital Elandsfontein and No 17 Stationary Hospital, Middleburg being posted there 11th of August 1900.

An Australian soldier serving with the New South Wales Army Medical Services detached to Gen Hutton's brigade wrote the following:

"In Middelburg for the first time since Bloemfontein we met up with the New South Wales Army Nursing Reserves, sisters Bessie Pocock and Emily Hoadley. Their untiring efforts to relieve the numerous sufferers in their charge, the intelligent way with which they manage their wards, and their exemplary conduct gained them the admiration of our officers. Judging from these two samples, New South Wales can be proud of her Army Nursing Service Reserve."

Dr T Fiaschi of the NSW Army Medical Corps stated publically on return that he thought highly of the nursing staff and that Sister Bessie Pocock and Sister Emily Hoadley behaved excellently. They were two nurses from the Sydney Hospital, and they were fortunate in getting farther to the front than any other nurses. They would have gone on the field and have willingly exposed themselves to fire but they were not allowed.

For her Boer War service she received the Queen South African medal. She was discharged on 17 July 1901.

Emily unsuccessfully offered her services for the Russo-Japanese war in early 1905. On the creation of the Australian Army Nursing Service her service was transferred to the new Australian Army Nursing Service Reserve. She was matron of the Nurses' Training Home, North Sydney until 1912 when she was appointed Matron of Manning River District Hospital, Taree.

In World War One she appears to have put her age back so she could enlist as a Nursing Sister in the 1st AIF, as she states her age as 45 years - Seven years younger than she was actually. She enlisted in the AIF 26 April 1915 and travelled to the Middle East, where she was posted to 3 AGH at Lemnos supporting the ANZACs at Gallipoli and later at Abbassia in Egypt. Following this campaign she was posted on loan to the Indian Army Medical Service from 12 July 1916. In India she worked in Simla, the Stationary Hospital at Sialkot, and the Heslop War Hospital , Tremelgherry, Secunderabad where she was promoted Matron. She finished duty with the Indian Medical Service 23 February 1918 her age was perhaps beginning to tell against her at this time. She returned to Australia circuitously, first taking a Hospital Ship the Devanka to Capetown on the nursing staff then return to Australia on board the troopship HMT Osterley from Capetown. She was discharged from the AIF 30 April 1918.

She went on to be Matron at the Garrison Hospital, Victoria Barracks, Sydney, as well as later Matron at Mudgee District Hospital. She was also a Justice of the Peace.

She died on 31 October 1952 at Wahroonga Sanitarium on Sydney's north shore.

She is commemorated on the war Memorial at Molong New South Wales and on the honour board in the Molong RSL.

D Deasey

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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields