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Writing the war: Alice Kitchen

  • Date recorded: 6 Jul 2015

  • Duration: 03:31

'I wonder on what scenes of horror and death at Gallipoli this same moon looks down upon, and how many broken lives and hearts all over this sad old world.'

– Alice Kitchen

About this video

Watch our series of short films accompanying our Writing the war: personal stories from WWI exhibition, highlighting the individual experiences of Australians who participated in the war. The films also feature in our permanent exhibition, The changing face of Victoria, as part of the State Library's World War I centenary commemoration. The Writing the war touring exhibition will travel to Victorian public libraries from August 2015 to June 2017.

This film is based on the WWI diaries of nursing sister Alice Kitchen, who enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Services in August 1914 at the age of 40 and sailed to Egypt with the first detachment of soldiers from the Australian Imperial Force. Sister Kitchen spent the following five years tending the sick and wounded, serving in Egypt, France and England.

Alice was working at the No 1 Australian General Hospital in Cairo when the first group of casualties from Gallipoli arrived. She later worked on a hospital ship stationed in Anzac Cove, and after serving for the duration of the war was repatriated to Australia in August 1919.

Hear extracts from Sister Kitchen's diaries in this poignant short film, documenting her work and her response to the toll inflicted on soldiers during WWI. The film is accompanied by images of Alice with the Australian troops, from the exotic climes of Egypt to the crowded hospital wards.

Watch the other videos in this series