Colonel Janice McCarthy

I admire Prisoner of War army nurses who coped with such difficulties and then came back and got on with their lives.

Local Champion

Colonel Janice McCarthy has been an exemplary professional and community leader and has filled a wide variety of hospital roles since starting her nursing career in 1958. This included being the sole theatre nurse in the 110-bed first Australian field hospital at Vung Tau, Vietnam.

During this time she not only managed the hospital's clinical team under horrific circumstances, but also counselled and mentored staff new to war and was a great comfort to wounded soldiers. After Vietnam, Janice became Captain, Sister in Charge of 4 Camp Townsville and was later appointed Major Matron at the Singapore Woodlands hospital.

Before her retirement in 1992, Janice was appointed Colonel, Matron in Chief/Director of Nursing Services of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps and paid regular tributes to the female military nurses who came before her.

In 1999, recognising the need to ensure ex-military nurses received all their entitlements, Janice became president of the RSL's nurses' branch. Janice was also one of the first female presidents of the Seymour Legacy group, an organisation caring for widows and dependants of deceased servicemen.

Today she provides social contact and practical help for 24 often frail and isolated widows in her own community. Janice has been president of the Seymour District Memorial Hospital Board; national president of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps Association; director of RSL Care; and veteran member of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan Commemorations Group.

Currently, Janice's leadership and advisory roles include RSL representative for the AIF Malayan Nursing Scholarship; member of the Vietnam Veterans Association and committee member of Seymour's Light Horse Memorial Park and Victorian Cancer Council Relay for Life. In recognition of her service and enduring commitment, Janice is one of two veterans' representatives on the Premier's Spirit of ANZAC 2010 Study Tour to the Thai-Burma Railway and the Western Front.