Florence Elizabeth Walker
3-Florence Elizabeth Walker was born on 27 Apr 1885 in Westbury, Tasmania and died on 3 Jun 1955 in Westbury, Tasmania at age 70.
Florence was the ninth child of Thomas and Rebecca. She did not marry. She was the "Florence Nightingale" of Westbury, so called on the radio when her death was announced. Although not a trained nurse she gained nursing experience, assisting in nursing her father and sister through long illnesses.
After her mother's death, she helped her cousins Rosa and Margaret Harvey in the private hospital at Westbury, as she lived conveniently close next door. She also cared for sick relatives and others in the Westbury district and no doubt was a great help to the local doctor and sick people before the days of domiciliary nursing sisters.
Following is an excerpt from an Examiner of June 1955, printed on her death:
Westbury's Florence Nightingale. Miss Florence Elizabeth Walker who for at least 50 years was the Florence Nightingale of Westbury and Exton districts died suddenly at her home on the third of June. For the past 10 years she had been in partial retirement, but was constantly alert for the many calls she received. She was an outstanding philanthropic worker for the district, a member of the Methodist Church and patron and foundation member of the Westbury Young Ladies Guild, she held a long service certificate awarded by the Red Cross Society.
Florence continued to be interested in new nursing trends and in the careers of her several nursing sister nieces. The last letter she wrote was to her nursing sister niece to congratulate her on birth of her daughter Ruth. She spent a year in New Zealand with her relatives, the Reverend Ernest Walker and family, in 1911. One of the highlights of her later years was a Methodist Church cruise to Fiji.
Early recollection of some of her nieces is of her driving her father's car, no doubt one of the first women in the district to obtain a driver's licence. An early memory is of driving to Deloraine with her to collect Gladys (Percy's daughter) who had been an inmate of cousins Rosa and Margaret Harvey's hospital there in 1926.
Florence was caring for her sister Rosalie and getting ready to go to a concert when she died very suddenly. One of the Walker cousins from New Zealand was to have visited her next day. She had happily celebrated her 70th birthday with family and friends a few weeks before her death.
A poem written by Mr. Albert Gillam:
The Passing of Miss F. Walker,
She's gone beyond the vale of tears Of sorrow and of pain A cloud is hovering o'er our town But we shall meet again.
No flare of trumpets marked her deeds Of sacrifice and love Her life was like the gentle dew That falls from Heaven above.
The sick the suffering and the sad Were all her constant care It brought back health and happiness To know that she was there.
She lived to help her fellow man And not for earthly gain And no one ever called for help And ever called in vain.
Like Him who trod the vale of years And conquered sin and pain And brought the dead ones back to life She followed in his train.
Farewell beloved one Farewell Rest thou among the good No other epitaph we'll write "She" hath done what she could.