Trove Detective: Matron Grace Margaret Wilson (1879-1957)

A Woman to Remember

Matron Grace Margaret Wilson

A search on Trove results in this photo of MISS G.M. WILSON, MATRON-IN-CHIEF, AUSTRALIAN ARMY NURSING SERVICE, 1925-1940 together with an obituary and her Death and Funeral Notices which provides some details of her life and the significant influence she had on nursing and the armed services.



MRS. BRUCE CAMPBELL, matron-in-chief of the Australian Army Nursing Service in both world wars, died in Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital on Saturday morning, aged 76.

Mrs. Campbell—better known as Matron Grace Wilson—will have a military funeral with full honors on Wednesday.

Bishop McKie, senior Church of England chaplain for Southern Command, will conduct the service at Christ Church, South Yarra, after which the funeral will leave for Spring Vale Crematorium. Time of the funeral will be announced this morning.

Matron Wilson was mentioned in dispatches five times during her service career. In 1919 she was awarded the C.B.E.  She was awarded also the Royal Red Cross Medal and the Florence Nightingale medal. Matron Wilson was born in Brisbane. In 1914 she enlisted from Queensland and served overseas as matron of No. 3 Australian General Hospital in Egypt, Lemnos, France and England. In 1940 and 1941 she was on active service with the Army in the Middle East.

Matron Wilson was matron of Brisbane General Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Somerset Private Hospital, and the Alfred.

She was the first woman life member of the R.S.L. In 1937 she led the A.I.F. Nurses’ contingent to London for the Coronation. Matron Wilson married Mr. Bruce Campbell in England in 1954. She was one of the first trustees of the Shrine of Remembrance, and was actively concerned with nursing affairs until her death.


The Death & Funeral Notices appeared in The Argus,  Melbourne on January 15 & 16, 1957.

CAMPBELL.— On January 12,   at Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, Grace Margaret (C.B.E.). dearly loved wife of Bruce Campbell.

CAMPBELL. – On January 12, at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, Grace Margaret, our beloved matron-in-chief. (Inserted by Annie M. Sage and Jessie Bowe.)

CAMPBELL. – The Funeral of the late Mrs. GRACE MARGARET CAMPBELL, C.B.E. (nee Matron Wilson) is appointed to leave Christ Church, South Yarra. TOMORROW (Wednesday) after a service commencing at 10 a.m., for the Spring Vale Crematorium. (Floral tributes to church.)


Matron Wilson or Grace M. Campbell was cremated at Springvale Botanical Cemetery and hopefully she has a suitable commemorative plaque at Boronia, Wall C, Niche 151. If anyone is able to take a photo and send it to Explorers Tree it would be appreciated. Now we have an inkling into her life but it will take much more detective work to relate her story, maybe even in her own words if we’re lucky.

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