LIFE AT THE AIM HOSPITAL, HALLS CREEK,
WESTERN AUSTRALIA, 1918−21 AND 1946−48
Numerous books and articles have documented the work of the Australian Inland Mission (AIM). Some focus on the work of its founder, Reverend John Flynn, while others tell of the nurses, padres and others who helped to deliver a ‘mantle of safety’ to the inland.
The best known books of the past twelve years have come from Max Griffiths and Ivan Rudolph. Both writers were motivated by a desire to see the AIM nurses receive greater acknowledgement. Their books embrace all of inland Australia in the twentieth century.
Joan Rogasch has also been productive. Her previous book, Lil’s story, is about Sister Mary Elizabeth (Lil) Rogasch, the first AIM nurse in the far north of Western Australia. Sent there to run the tiny Halls Creek hospital in 1918, she was joined by her sister Beatrice (Dot), who was also a nurse, towards the end her posting. That period was covered by Memoirs of a nurse, written by Lil in the 1920s or ’30s, edited by Joan decades later, and, like Lil’s story, published in 2010.
Lil and Dot Rogasch also feature in The garden of myth where their time in Halls Creek is compared with that of Sisters Dulcie Peel (now Andrew) and Marjorie McKean who arrived in 1946 and stayed until 1948. Services and infrastructure had improved greatly in the intervening twenty-five years but, in living and working in an isolated settlement that had no resident doctor, the nurses of the 1940s had to be almost as self-sufficient as their predecessors.