Lucy Osburn plaque

Lucy Osburn plaque, Nurse's Walk, The Rocks, Sydney

Public Art : Lucy Osburn plaque

Artist : ©

Description :

Date Unveiled :

Location : On the wall at Nurse's Walk, The Rocks, Sydney, Australia.

Inscription :


Plaque commemorates the first lady superintendent of the Nursing Sydney Hospital .

Lucy Osburn arrived in 1868 accompanied by five trained nurses following the Sir Henry Parkes appeal to Florence Nightingale for trained nurses for the Sydney Infirmary. Lucy Osburn trained at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and also at the Kaiserwerth Hospital near Dussledorf in Germany, which had greatly influenced Florence Nightingale’s ideas. She was identified as ‘an outstanding graduate’ at the Nightingale School and set sail for Australia following her appointment as Superintendent and Chief Female Officer of the Sydney Infirmary (later called the Sydney Hospital).

Together with five other Nightingale nurses, Ms Osburn arrived in Sydney in 1868, where she encountered appalling conditions, and hostility from medical staff. She spent the next 12 years transforming the hospital and training nurses in the Nightingale tradition.

Miss Osburn left Sydney in 1884. She died on 22 December 1891.

Who was Lucy Osburn?:  One of the most noted nurses to arrive in Sydney was Lucy Osburn and she is honoured with a plaque along Nurse's Walk. Lucy was known for introducing Florence Nightingale's principles of nursing to New South Wales. Lucy Osburn was born in England on the 10th of May, 1835. She later trained at St Thomas Hospital in London and also Kaiserwerth Hospital in Germany. She became a successful graduate of the Nightingale School but not all were happy with her choice of occupation. It is said that her father turned her portrait to the wall when she entered the Nightingale Training School.

In March, 1868 Lucy arrived in Sydney to take charge of an Infirmary . Lucy and five other nursing sisters were sent by Florence Nightingale following an appeal by the then Premier of New South Wales, Henry Parkes. One of her first patients was to be the Duke of Edinburgh who was wounded after an assassination attempt at Clontarf.


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