Timeline of nursing history in Australia and New Zealand

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The Timeline of nursing history in Australia and New Zealand stretches from the 19th century to the present

19th century[edit]


  • 1811 – The opening of Sydney Hospital. Convict men and women undertook the nursing.[1][2]



  • 1838 – The first trained nurses arrived in Sydney, they were five Irish Sisters of Charity[1]


  • 1840 – Settlement of New Zealand as a colony and the establishment of state hospitals.[1]
  • 1841 – People considered to be mentally ill were considered criminals. The first case of insanity in New Zealand's society was recorded in 1841 (Papps, E, 2002).
  • 1847 – Wellington Hospital was established, The first New Zealand Hospital. Giselle's Journal, http://mylittleculturediary.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/first-new-zealand-hospital-labyrinth.html (Barber, L., & Towers, R. (1976). Wellington Hospital 1847-1976. Wellington: Wellington Hospital Board.)
  • 1848 – The Yarra Bend Asylum was opened so that those mentally ill could be moved out of gaol. This Asylum was later known as Melbourne.[3]


  • 1854 – The first lunatic asylum built. Opened in Wellington, New Zealand.[1]
  • 1854 – Florence Nightingale and 38 volunteer nurses are sent to Turkey on 21 October to assist with caring for the injured of the Crimean War.
  • 1857 – Ellen Ranyard creates the first group of paid social workers in England and pioneers the first district nursing programme in London.[4]


  • 1860 – In May 1860 advertisements appeared seeking young lady nurses for training, but responses were not overwhelming; however, in July 1860 15 hand-picked probationers entered the Nightingale Training School and the pattern for modern nursing came into being.[5]
  • 1860 – Florence Nightingale publishes "Note on Nursing: What it is and what it is not"
  • 1860 the Nightingale training school for nurses in England at the St Thomas' hospital, London was established at this time.
  • 1860-1883 - Approximately 16,378 single women emigrated to New Zealand; 582 identified their occupation as a nurse, monthly nurse, sick nurse, trained nurse, nurse girl, midwife, hospital nurse or professional nurse. Orchard, S. (1997). More ‘ woman of good character’: Nurses who came to New Zealand as immigrant settlers.[6]
  • 1863 – The International Red Cross was established in Geneva, Switzerland, by five private individuals
  • 1868 – Lucy Osburn and her four Nightingale nurses arrived at Sydney Infirmary (to become Sydney Hospital). They soon start the first nursing school.[1]


  • 1870 – New Zealand had 37 hospitals as a result of the population increase of the gold rush. (Potter and Perry's fundamentals of nursing.[7]


  • 1885 – following the Hospital and Charitable Aids Act conditions improved .(MacDonald,1990)


  • 1890 – Kate Marsden, founder of the St. Francis Leprosy Guild, travels to Yakutia, Siberia in search of a herb reputed to cure leprosy.[8]
  • 1899 – Japan establishes a licensing system for modern nursing professionals with the introduction of the "Midwives Ordinance".[9]
  • 1899 – The International Council of Nurses is formed.
  • 1899 – Australasian Trained Nurses Association was founded in New South Wales[1]
  • 1899-1902 – The years of the Boer War. During the 1899-1902 South African (Boer) War, nurses from each state in Australia joined volunteer troops, serving as private citizens or with the British nursing forces. Daly, J. Jackson, D. Speedy, S. (2010). Contexts of nursing (3rd ed.). Chatswood, NSW 2067. Australia. Cecotti,L. Prejudice times meant that although hundreds of female nurses applied there was conflict with those already in the military. Few however did serve in South Africa.[1]

20th century[edit]


Nurse in the interior of Coast Hospital horsedrawn ambulance


  • 1910 – Akenehi Hei, the first qualified Maori Nurse in New Zealand dies on 28 November 1910 after contracting typhoid from family members.[15]
  • 1915 – British nurse Edith Cavell is executed in Belgium by a German firing squad on 12 October for helping hundreds of Allied soldiers escape to the Netherlands.
  • 1915 – The New Zealand Army Nursing Service set up in 1915, largely at the urging of Hester Maclean (1863–1932).
  • 1916 – The Royal College of Nursing is founded.
  • 1917 – Sandra Lewensen examined the position of nursing history within the standardized curriculum established by the National League for Nursing Education in 1917, as well as teaching strategies used over the 20th century, pointing out that history was always part of the curriculum but declined in emphasis and time dedicated to it[16]


  • 1923 – The Nursing Act of 1919 becomes effective and Ethel Gordon Fenwick is the first nurse registered in the UK.
  • 1925 - New Zealand attempted to have a nursing programme available at the University of Otago[17]


  • 1937 – Sister Elizabeth Kenny in the U.S. publishes her first book, Infantile Paralysis and Cerebral Diplegia: Method of Restoration of Function.
  • 1938 – The New Zealand Social Security Act of 1938 marked the introduction of a comprehensive health system that mandated the provision of free care for all.[1]
  • 1939 – Registering of nursing aides commenced in New Zealand[18]
  • 1939-1945 – Australian and New Zealand nurses served outside their countries in World War II.[1]





  • 1971 – The Carpenter report was released, this was a review released by New Zealand centered around the nursing education system, the report advocated training nurses in an educational environment. The government however decided that polytechs not universities were more appropriate for this, however the consequences of this were that nurses were only diploma level not degree level.[1]
  • 1973 – Christchurch and Wellington Polytechnics offer diploma-level nursing education; Massey and Victoria Universities (Wellington) start their post-registration bachelor's degrees.[1]
  • 1975 – First nursing diploma program in Australia in a College of Advanced Education (CAE) in Melbourne, followed quickly by programs in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.[25]



  • 1990 – Florence Nightingale's birthday (12 May) is declared the official Nursing Day in Japan.[9]
  • 1990 – Last student graduated from New Zealand hospital program.[27]
  • 1992 – Eddie Bernice Johnson is the first nurse elected to the U.S. Congress.
  • 1992 – "Cultural safety" was made a requirement for nursing and midwifery education programs by the Nursing Council of New Zealand. Cultural safety allows effective nursing of patients and/or family members of those of another culture by a nurse who has reflected on one's own cultural identity and understands the impact of differing cultures in nursing practice and patient care. (Papps & Ramsden, 1996)
  • 1992 – The Australian and New Zealand national governments signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement. (Daly, Speedy & Jackson, 2010)[28]
  • 1996 – The Flight Nurse Association was created by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) to recognise the need of training and education of the same standards throughout New Zealand.[29]

21st century[edit]


  • 2000 – Review of undergraduate nursing education by New Zealand Nursing Council[1]
  • 2002 – Deborah Harris, New Zealand's first Nurse Practitioner.[30]
  • 2002 – The Nursing and Midwifery Council takes over from the UKCC as the UK's regulatory body.
  • 2004 – The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (2003) Act comes into full power on 18 September, in New Zealand, these cover the requirements for nurses to have current competences relating to their scope of practice.[31]
  • 2005 – The Nursing Council of New Zealand published a comprehensive guideline on cultural safety in nursing education and practice.[1]
  • 2007 – ICN Conference is held in Yokohama, Japan.
  • 2009 – Carnegie Foundation releases the results of its study of nursing education, "Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation".[32]
  • 2010 – Institute for the Future of Nursing (IFN) releases evidence-based recommendations to lead change for improved health care.[33]
  • 2010 – A national registration for all nurses and midwives came into force in Australia in July 2010. (Daly, Speedy & Jackson, 2010)[28]
  • 2010 – Nurses' Health Study 3 begins enrolling: Female RNs, LPNs, and nursing students 20-46 are encouraged to join this long-term women's health study. Study remains open until 100,000 nurses are enrolled.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Crisp & Taylor, 2009
  2. ^ Crisp & Taylor (2009) Fundamentals of Nursing, Milestones in Nursing History: Elsevier, Australia. (3rd Ed., Ch, 1, pp 4.) Pub. Houstan, L.
  3. ^ Crisp, J., & Taylor, C. (2009). Fundamentals of nursing (3rd ed., p.4), Chatswood, Australia: Elsevier Australia
  4. ^ "infed.org - Ellen Ranyard ("LNR"), Bible women and informal education". infed.org. 4 February 2013.
  5. ^ M Houck and Masson.M. (1985). A Pictorial History Of Nursing. Bridge House, London Road, Twickenham, Middlesex: Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited
  6. ^ during the period 1860 to 1883. In N.Chick & J.Rodgers (Eds.) Looking back, moving forward: Essays in the history of New Zealand nursing and midwifery (pp. 5–16).
  7. ^ Crisp & Taylor, 2009, page 4
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 January 2006. Retrieved 15 September 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b c "Overview of Japanese Nursing System - Japanese Nursing Association". nurse.or.jp.
  10. ^ Dock, Short History, p 268
  11. ^ Sue Light. "British Military Nurses - Scarlet Finders". scarletfinders.co.uk.
  12. ^ "Māori nurses – Women's health – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". teara.govt.nz.
  13. ^ "History of Nursing in New Zealand". Health Times.
  14. ^ Wood, P.J.,(2008). Professional, practice and political issues in the history of New Zealand's remote rural 'backblocks' nursing: The case of Mokau, 1910-1940. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession,30(2), 168-178
  15. ^ Dow, D. (2009). Remembering the unsung heroines. New Zealand Doctor, 36.
  16. ^ Lewenson, S. (2004) "Integrating nursing history into the curriculum", Journal of Professional Nursing, 20#6, pp 376–77.
  17. ^ Crisp, Taylor, Douglas & Rebeiro, 2013
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Smith, Russell G. (1999). In Pursuit of Nursing Excellence. A History of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia 1949-99. Various libraries: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-551051-8.
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Pambansang Samahan ng mga Nars ng Pilipinas, Inc". pna-ph.org. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 June 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "History of Hospice Care". National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
  24. ^ Adlam, K; Dotchin, M.; Hayward, S. (2009). "Nursing first year of practice, past, present and future: documenting the journey in New Zealand". Journal of Nursing Management. 17 (5): 570–575. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2008.00932.x. PMID 19575715.
  25. ^ Crisp, J., Taylor, C., Douglas, C., & Rebeiro, G. (2013)
  26. ^ a b Dave. "Home - Nurses' Health Study". nhs3.org.
  27. ^ Crisp & Taylor, 2009, p 4
  28. ^ a b Daly, J., Speedy, S., & Jackson, D. (2010). Contexts of Nursing. (3rd ed). Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  29. ^ "New Zealand Flight Nurses Association (NZNO)". nzno.org.nz.
  30. ^ "Our people". Waikato Newsroom. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014.
  31. ^ "Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act". Ministry of Health NZ.
  32. ^ "Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation". Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Archived from the original on 9 January 2010.
  33. ^ "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health". iom.edu. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011.


  • Allan, V. (2004). A new way of living: the history of the Spinal Injuries Unit in Christchurch. The Guttmann Story (pp. 7). Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury District Health Board.
  • Bullough, Vern L. and Bullough, Bonnie. The Care of the Sick: The Emergence of Modern Nursing (1978).
  • Craven, Ruth F., & Hirnle, Constance J. (2007). Fundamentals of nursing: Human health and function (5th ed). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Craven, R F., & Hirnle, C J. (2009) Fundamentals of nursing: Human health and function (6th ed). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Crisp, J., & Taylor, C. (2009). Potter & Perry's fundamental of nursing (3rd ed.). Chatswood, Australia : Elsevier Australia.
  • Crisp, J., Taylor, C., Douglas, C., Rebeiro, G. (2013). Potter & Perry's fundamentals of nursing (4th ed.). Elsevier Australia.
  • Dingwall, Robert, Anne Marie Rafferty, Charles Webster. An Introduction to the Social History of Nursing (Routledge, 1988)
  • Donahue, M. Patricia. Nursing, The Finest Art: An Illustrated History (3rd ed. 2010), includes over 400 illustrations; 416pp
  • Harris, Kirsty. Girls in Grey: Surveying Australian Military Nurses in World War I History Compass (Jan 2013) 11#1 PP 14–23, online free, with detailed bibliography
  • Papps, E., (2002). Nursing in New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson Education New Zealand.
  • Papps, E., & Ramsden, I. (1996). International Journal for Quality Healthcare. Vol 8, No 5, pp. 491–497
  • Wood, Pamela J. and Maralyn Foureur. "Exploring the maternity archive of the St Helens Hospital, Wellington, New Zealand, 1907-22," in New Directions in the History of Nursing: International Perspectives ed by Barbara Mortimer and Susan McGann. (Routledge, 2004) pp 179–93 online

External links[edit]