Mary Evans OBE

Mary Evans demonstrated a commitment to community nursing and its standards in Australia for decades.

Honour Roll

Mary Evans was born on 23 June 1915 in Adelaide, South Australia. Mary left school at 14, at a time when her parents separated, and commenced general nursing training at the age of 19 at Royal Adelaide Hospital. On completion of her nursing training, Mary commenced work at Queen Victoria Hospital, Melbourne in December 1938 where she subsequently completed her midwifery training.

After travelling and working in South Australia, Mary was appointed to the midwifery staff of the then Melbourne District Nursing Service (MDNS) in 1943. In the early 1950s Mary became the Secretary for the Nurses Christian Fellowship for Victoria and Tasmania. Around this time Mary gained qualifications in maternal and child health, and in 1959 received a scholarship from MDNS to complete a public health community health course in England over a nine month period.

Whilst overseas Mary looked at nursing training in America and Canada and returned to Australia after twenty months to take up the position of Deputy Director of Nursing with the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS). Mary played a central role in establishing the Education Department of RDNS and in creating the RDNS Liaison Service, providing discharge planning services at all major public hospitals in Melbourne. In the early 1960s Mary was responsible for establishing the first RDNS suburban centre at Camberwell - a development which has progressed to almost twenty centres today.

In 1963, Mary became Director of Nursing with RDNS, a position she held until her retirement from nursing in 1978. For the next three years Mary undertook advisory work with the Australian Council of Community Nursing Services, travelling interstate and working with community-based nursing agencies encouraging them to develop standards, improve their quality of work, and introduce education for staff.

In 1981, Mary Evans received an OBE for services to district nursing, in recognition of her leading role in community nursing in Australia over twenty years. Between 1986 and 1990, Mary was a Director of the Baxter Retirement Village near Frankston, the largest retirement village in Australia. Mary was also Vice-President of the Airdrie retirement place for nurses in Canterbury.