A registered nurse, the first Australian to be awarded a Royal Red Cross (RRC 1st class) plus the bar for bravery during World War I, is to have a bronze statue erected in her honour next to her unmarked grave in Woronora Cemetery.
Alice Cashin, who trained at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR) during the war, serving in Egypt and later aboard the hospital ship HMHS Gloucester Castle when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1917.
As Matron of the ship, Alice put her patients and nursing sisters first, making sure all 400 wounded were safe on lifeboats before climbing aboard the final one herself. Once picked up by a rescue vessel, Alice continued her work caring for the injured with the limited tools she had, administering pain relief and dressing wounds with olive oil.
From May 1917 to July 1919, Alice Cashin was in charge of the 400-bed military hospital at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield in England, where she was much loved by her patients. On leaving to return home to Australia, she was showered with daisies gathered by ‘her boys’.
On her return, Alice, who was a member of the Marrickville ANZAC Memorial Club, was crowned the Queen of Marrickville. She worked as a sales assistant and died in November 1939 from nephritis.