Emily Gertrude O’Neill was born in Binalong in 1875 to Thomas Joseph O’Neill and his wife Martha Elizabeth. She completed her nurse’s training at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.
Nurse O’Neill moved to Western Australia; her name appears on the first registry of midwives in that state in 1913.
Upon her enlistment in December 1916 Emily nominated her stepsister – Ursula Dalton – as her next of kin. Ursula was the wife of Gerald Thomas Dalton, the eldest son of Thomas Garrett “Gatty” Dalton, who was Mayor of Orange in 1903, 1904 and 1905.
Emily served in Egypt and Greece, returning to Western Australia in May 1919. She lived in Fremantle Women’s Prison, where she worked as a matron until the early 1930s.
Census records indicate that she moved back to NSW and was living in Edgecliff in 1936. Nurse O’Neill died in 1937 at Sacred Heart Hospital, Darlinghurst, aged 65.
During her war service she wrote a most evocative letter to “Aunt Mary” (a work colleague) describing her experiences in Salonica.
Western Mail, 10 January 1919, p. 36.
Nurse O’Neill’s letter