Alice Wane’s legacy lives on

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Alice Wane’s legacy lives on

February 19, 2018

Alice Wane’s legacy looms large. It’s half a century since she cared for residents at OCAV’s Rushall Park, but she left her mark. Alice’s contribution to the North Fitzroy community has come to light after her grand-daughter, Karen Clarke, went through her old papers left in boxes after her death. Information about Alice Wane will be used as aspects of the OCAV’s past is put together for next year’s 150th celebrations.

Alice was a nursing Sister at Rushall Park for 14 years from 1955 to 1968 when the hospital was on that site, often staying over in a nurses’ room, according to Karen. The aged care facility, Liscombe House, is now located at the Leith Park village at St Helena. Alice was very dedicated to the residents and Karen remembers as an eight-year-old wandering around with her as she also took medication to residents, gave injections, changed dressings and listened to any complaints.

“It was very exciting for me spending a weekend with my grandmother and just following her around the village,” Karen said. “In the family we all knew that her work at the Old Colonists’ was a huge part of her life. She was very kind and would have been lovely to people who were sick.”

Karen’s file full of papers contains an old piece of paper with a poem penned beautifully by a Mrs Roberts to Sister Wane. It reveals how she was perceived by the residents. It read:

The matron or the Sister
they visit us each day,
With a cheery word or greeting,
for all along the way
And if for any reason
you are not feeling well,
With the Doc they’ll arrange a meeting
And very soon your fit and swell.

As well as looking after residents for 14 years Alice helped make the village what it is today. There are several receipts made out to Alice for donations she made to various building appeals. Accompanying one receipt is a note acknowledging she wished the donation to be anonymous.

Alice, who began her three-year training at Geelong Hospital in 1919, also left an impression on people outside Rushall Park. Grand-daughter Karen, now 66, also trained to be a nurse and has only recently retired from her work in aged care.

“My grandmother was very proud of me when I told her I was going to train to be a nurse. She bought me my first fob watch that I used as a young nurse,” Karen said.

After retiring from Rushall Park Alice lived in Moonee Ponds and died when she was 84.

“One of my strongest memories from more than 55 years ago is the beautiful gardens all around the Rushall Park cottages. Every time I came here I remember the flowers were always in bloom all over the place. That hasn’t changed,” Karen said.

For someone who wants to be a history academic volunteer Liam Nixon is getting some invaluable grass roots learning at OCAV’s Leith Park village.

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