Marion trained at Charing Cross Hospital in London in 1960 and completed her State Certified Midwife training at the London Hospital (now called the Royal London) in 1965. She topped her pharmaceutical exams and was awarded a silver medal for her achievements.
Marion describes her early days of nursing in London as like “Call the Midwife”. She and her colleagues would ride bicycles to visit patients to help deliver babies.
Marion began work at Cohuna District Hospital, Victoria, Australia, in 1966. Cohuna is a dairy farming community in rural Victoria with a population of 2200.
Marion met and married a local dairy farmer, Edward (Dick) and had seven children. Over the next two decades, Marion combined nursing and dairy farming with parenting, raising six daughters and a son who were born between 1968 and 1979. She returned to paid nursing on and off when her children were young, returning permanently when her youngest child started school, initially working as a District Nurse, then later rejoining the wards at Cohuna Hospital.
Her career highlights in Bush Nursing from 1965 – 2022:
- District nursing and night shifts meant she had the opportunity to be on hand during school hours when her children were small.
- Supporting innovation at Cohuna District Hospital including introducing dialysis and teaching. She was the Student Supervisor for university students for a number of years.
- Active involvement in Cohuna District Hospital’s first Accreditation, a gruelling task for a small hospital.
- Completing her nursing degree (Bachelor of Applied Science – Nursing) in 1993, aged 52.
- Providing midwifery services her entire nursing career, helping ensure a very small rural hospital could maintain obstetric services long after other rural hospitals had closed services and referred parents to bigger centres.
- Marion was at times Charge Nurse at the hospital but always made sure she was no higher than third in charge as she always wanted to work with the patients in a clinical rather than management role.
Other relevant details:
- Marion kept her UK Nursing Registration throughout her nursing career, “just in case”.
- She retired from Cohuna District Hospital just before her 70th birthday in 2012.
- When COVID-19 hit in Australia, Marion took up the call for the need for nursing and worked from 2021 – 2022, undertaking COVID swab testing for Bendigo Health. During lockdown, she stood in the cold, wind and rain administering tests and swabs.
- Marion also worked in her 80th year in 2022 for a short period at a nursing home in Bendigo when aged care was in crisis. There was the odd comment made by family that some of the residents would likely be younger than her!