992 bears sponsored to 656 primary schools by 550 sponsors... Thank You Caloundra RSL Sub Branch & Caloundra Women's Auxiliary For Donating John Murray - Wounded Bear to Caloundra Christian College - CALOUNDRA Burringbar RSL Sub Branch - Our most recent donor - Thank you Thank You The Fankhauser Family For Donating Bernadette O'Meara - Nurse Bear to Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School - AMAROO Thank You ASC Pty Ltd For Donating Andy Miller - Navy Bear to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish School - PENNINGTON Thank You Sarah Jackson For Donating Earnest Harvey - Gallipoli Bear to Ashby Primary School - GEELONG WEST Thank You Saab Australia For Donating Ernest Harvey - Gallipoli Bear to Mawson Lakes Primary School - MAWSON LAKES Thank You From the Kane Family memory of Colin Stewart For Donating Bernadette O'Meara - Nurse Bear to Soldiers Point Public School - SOLDIERS POINT Thank You Capel RSL For Donating Bernadette O'Meara - Nurse Bear to Capel Primary School - CAPEL Thank You Nicole Bradley - Invictus Team Member For Donating Bernadette O'Meara - Nurse Bear to Mitchelton State School - MITCHELTON Thank You Narelle Gallagher For Donating Bernadette O'Meara - Nurse Bear to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School - MERBEIN Thank You The Walmsley Family For Donating John Murray - Wounded Bear to Roleystone Community College - ROLEYSTONE

Sister O’Meara

Great War Nurse Bear

Listen to Sister O’Meara’s Story

When news of the war spread across Australia in August 1914 a lot of we younger nurses at the Children’s Hospital wanted to do our bit. Like the boys, we thought it might be a bit of an adventure and a chance to see the world. No one thought the war would last more than a few months anyway.

Because I had three years hospital training the Australian Army Nursing Service was pleased to sign me on, and before I knew it I was a nurse in the 2nd Australian General Hospital. We sailed from Sydney fully expecting to go to England but we stopped at Egypt. My hospital was right beside the Great Pyramids and with thousands of boys in training camps to look after we nurses were busied with sprains, sickness and a few serious injuries. But when the boys landed at Gallipoli in April 1915 we saw some really terrible wounds. It was horrible and we thought nothing could be worse, but in 1916 we shipped off to France and our boys joined the fight on the Western Front. It is more horrible than anyone could imagine.

My hospital is way back from the fighting but on some days you can hear the big guns like thunder in the distance. The real heroes of this war are the doctors and stretcher bearers at the front. Before the wounded soldiers get to me they have lots of stops. The Aid Posts and Dressing Stations are right near the fighting and the stretcher bearers and doctors there patch the lads up as best they can and send them further back to the Casualty Clearing Stations. These are hospitals in big huts or tents where doctors and nurses look after everything from broken bones to major operations. After a big push – that’s what the soldiers call battles like Pozieres and Fromelles – there can be thousands of wounded lads lined-up in a Clearing Station.

At my hospital we mainly tend their wounds and make sure they heal properly after surgery. Some lads are sent home to Australia, others go to England to recover more, and others get sent back to the front. This war makes me so sad and cross sometimes.