Millthorpe born Pearl Stella Goodman, trained at Orange District Hospital and gained nursing experience in Dubbo, Kurri Kurri and Cairns before becoming matron of Enoggera Military Camp. She left Sydney in December 1916 on the Themistocles, and after a short spell in England was posted to Rouen in France. After just eight months’ service in France she became ill and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. After a couple of months’ hospitalisation in England, she was sent back to Australia in December 1917. On her return, she spent time in Prince Alfred Hospital, knitting socks for soldiers until she became too weak to continue. She died at Malabar Convalescent Home in Pennant Hills in March 1919.
Sadly for her family in Australia, that was not the end of the matter. When Nurse Goodman joined up, she nominated her eldest sister, Frances Helena Tait, of Federal Farm, Forest Reefs, as her next of kin (both their parents were dead). When the Defence Department wished to pass on her British War and Victory medals to her next of kin, a problem arose: the department had a clearly defined line of succession for the distribution of medals to relations of deceased service men and women, which boiled down in Miss Goodman’s case to the eldest surviving brother. Mrs Tait informed the department that the family in Australia had not heard from the eldest brother, Albert Goodman, for some years, and that he was believed to be living in America. The department tracked him down to Indianapolis and asked him if he would like to receive the medals. Goodman said he would and the medals were posted to him. Thus the medals left Australia, although Albert Goodman said in acknowledgement that he was very pleased to have them and would prize them highly.
Pearl was buried at Rookwood Cemetery with military honours; her cousin, Rev. Robert Goodman officiated at the graveside. Her name appears on Memorial Gates in both Millthorpe and Cairns.
* Edwards, Elisabeth 2011, In sickness and in health: how medicine helped shape Orange’s history, Orange City Council, Orange, NSW
* Central Western Daily 1964, ‘A Pioneer and his family’, January 18, p. 9.