Precinct named in honour of war-time nurse


Nursing officers Lieutenants Kylie Johnston, left, and Celie Bright-Perry stand in front of the stone monument that marks the entrance to the 17th Brigade Bullwinkel Lines. Photo: Gunner Sagi Biderman

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Gallipoli Barracks’ 17th Brigade Precinct in Brisbane has been renamed the Bullwinkel Lines in honour of World War II nurse Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel.

At the unveiling of a monument to coincide with the renaming on September 13, 2nd General Health Battalion nursing officer Lieutenant Kylie Johnston said 17th Brigade members were proud to further recognise the contribution of Lieutenant Colonel Bullwinkel.

“This ceremony is a testament to the courage that Vivian Bullwinkel showed, not only during her service, but also in her tireless advocacy for nursing and those who served,” Lieutenant Johnston said.

Lieutenant Colonel Bullwinkel is the Australian Defence Force’s most decorated nursing officer, having survived the Bangka Island Massacre where 22 Australian nurses were executed by Japanese forces.

She was a prisoner of war for three years, caring for wounded and ill prisoners. After her service, Lieutenant Colonel Bullwinkel led a distinguished career, including serving on the Council of the Australian War Memorial and as Australian College of Nurses president.

Commander of 17th Brigade, Brigadier Andrew Freeman, said Lieutenant Colonel Bullwinkel represented the Army values of courage and leadership.

“Vivian stands for what a true soldier should be and what we should all strive to achieve,” Brigadier Freeman said.

"The personnel here at 17th Brigade are continuing Vivian’s work in health, which was her passion in life."

The precinct named in honour of Lieutenant Colonel Bullwinkel continues to provide combat health support to the Army and provides a unified identity for those 17th Brigade elements in Gallipoli Barracks.

Nursing officer Lieutenant Celie Bright-Perry said those working in 17th Brigade would see the monument daily.

“Lieutenant Colonel Bullwinkel is an inspiration and this will be a reminder to us every day,” Lieutenant Bright-Perry said.

The renaming of the precinct and unveiling of a large stone monument provided a moment of reflection for Lieutenant Colonel Bullwinkel’s nephew.

“This ceremony and monument recognises Vivian’s life’s work and reflects her strong connections to the Army. The personnel here at 17th Brigade are continuing Vivian’s work in health, which was her passion in life,” Mr Bullwinkel said.


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