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Beth Allen

Beth Allen worked tirelessly to support and care for her local community during the horrendous bushfires of 2003.

Honour Roll

As the sole bush nurse at the Gelantipy District Bush Nursing Centre in Victoria's remote high country, Beth Allen worked tirelessly to support and care for her local community during the horrendous bushfires of 2003.

Born in Melbourne in 1958, Beth attended Mt Waverley High School before completing her general nursing training at the Queen Victoria Women's Hospital. She later trained as a midwife at the Mercy Maternity Hospital in Melbourne. After working in various nursing roles at home in Victoria and overseas, including seven months as a volunteer nurse and midwife in India, Beth moved to the remote township of Gelantipy in 1997 when she became the town's only bush nurse. The Gelantipy District Bush Nursing Centre (BNC) covers a huge catchment area of northeast Victoria, from Willis on the Snowy River to Murrindal in the south.

It is the people who live in this region who appreciated Beth's outstanding work and commitment to them during the bushfires and who nominated her for inclusion in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. Beth forged her way through to even the remotest corners of her community, checking that those people who were affected by the fires were safe and uninjured. She also cared for and tended to the wellbeing of the many people involved in fighting the fires. With calm, compassion and professionalism, Beth was a great source of support and inspiration throughout the emergency.

The Gelantipy Bush Nursing Centre is the only public facility of any kind in the area, so it became the base for everything both during and after the fires. Beth was at the centre of it all. For people who were without power, telephones or water, the Centre was a home away from home. Beth distributed fresh drinking water, medical supplies, donated goods and food to all who needed it. She continues to help coordinate services and be the disseminator of vital information and to give support to people who are still suffering from the trauma of being under threat from the fires. During and after the fires, Beth was a tower of strength and support to the Gelantipy district.

"We are so lucky to have a such a dedicated nurse and wonderful caring person in our community, we are so grateful to her for the incredible way she helped so many people," says Traci Wilson-Brown, a landowner in the district.