Annie Maynard Westcott 1875 – 8th May 1951 Married name Smith
Ballarat and WWI nurse
Annie Maynard Westcott was born in 1875 at Leigh Creek, with the birth being registered at Warrenheip, to parents Frederick Westcott and Rachel Abrams/Abrahams. A well known family whose market gardens and orchards supplied Ballarat’s population of 60,000 with fresh fruit, vegetables, and ‘a range of excellent jams’, leading to the property’s nickname “The Jam Factory”.
In 1899, at the age of 24, Annie commenced her nursing training at Ballarat Base Hospital, and after graduating worked in Ballarat and Maryborough before becoming matron at Maldon and Inglewood. Working conditions were often challenging, but the long shifts and dilapidated nurses’ quarters prepared her for the greater challenges that awaited her near the battlefields of Gallipoli and France.
Staff Nurse Annie Westcott was 40 years old when she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service on 16 October 1915, departing Australia on 12 November 1915 at Melbourne on the transport ship Orsova.
She arrived in Egypt just in time for an influx of soldiers evacuated from Gallipoli. She served with the 1st Australian General Hospital. To join the AANS, women had to be unmarried and aged 21-40, so Nurse Westcott’s service was cut short. She returned to Australia on 27 December 1917 aboard the Commonwealth and her appointment with the AANS was terminated on 4 February 1917.
She married Frederick Smith in 1917 and moved to Gippsland, where they unsuccessfully tried to make a life on a soldier settlement block at Trafalgar, Gippsland, Victoria, but it was relinquished in 1926 due to non-payment of fees. She later returned to Ballarat. Annie Smith died and was buried at Ballarat Old Cemetery on 10 May 1951, although her name was not recorded on the headstone.
In 2016, the Ballarat General Cemeteries Trust and the Ballarat Base Hospital Trained Nurses League joined forces to hold a commemorative service in Annie’s honour and all the forgotten nurses of WWI.
Burial Location: Ballarat Old Cemetery F1 Section 9 Row 1 Grave 26