Hiroshima Day Peace Vigil – Saturday 6 August 5.30-7pm Elder Park
You are invited to join Australian Red Cross and other community members at a public event to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On 6 August we will be lighting candles to remember the victims of these bombings and to highlight the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
Join us at sunset at Elder Park, down from the Rotunda and towards the water, as we use candles, music and messages to remember and reaffirm the call for a ban on nuclear weapons.
For more information, contact Petra Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 08 8100 4695. Electronic candles and message material provided. Event concludes by 7pm.
Proudly partnered by Medical Association for Prevention of War.
Australian Nurses in Hiroshima
The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, were responsible for over 200,000 deaths by the end of that year. The “luckiest” among the victims died quickly; the rest succumbed slowly to multiple injuries, burns, radiation sickness and deprivation in a landscape where very few buildings or services remained. Still the damage continues to this day, with elevated cancer rates among the survivors.
Objectives set for the post war occupation of Japan by the Australian Armed Forces “to demonstrate the democratic way of life to the Japanese” and “to maintain and enhance British Commonwealth prestige” were compromised by substantial imbalances in the male-female composition of the contingent from the beginning and throughout. Of approximately 12,000 personnel, only 92 members were from the Women’s Services, primarily serving as staff for 130 Australian General Hospital (AGH). These women were required to serve a minimum period of 12 months with relief within 18 months after commencement. The first female personnel were volunteers who disembarked at Kure, Japan, on 25th March, 1946. (1)
Three Australian female members of the Red Cross also served as part of the initial British Commonwealth Occupation Force, (BCOF). A further Australian contingent of ten accompanied this first draft of female personnel of AGH later. Known as “hospital visitors”, their role was to provide basic personal services beyond those generally available through the normal hospital services. Membership of the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS) who staffed the hospital, was restricted to qualified Nursing Sisters and another group of nurses who had a lesser degree of nursing education and experience. (1)
On the commemoration of Hiroshima Day on August 6th, we should remind ourselves of the pledge inscribed at the Peace Park Memorial in Hiroshima:
‘Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil”.
(1) Dr James Wood (1998). The Forgotton Force: The Australian Military Contribution to the Occupation of Japan, 1945-1952. Allen and Unwin