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Baudinet, Dora Isabel (1883–1945)

by A. Rand

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

Dora Isabel Baudinet (1883-1945), nurse, was born on 19 April 1883 at Coongulmerang, near Bairnsdale, Victoria, third child of Tasmanian-born parents, Edmund Chaulk Baudinet, grazier, and his wife Helen Jane, née McKay. Edmund had died eight days earlier after being paralysed in an accident. Assisted by her brothers-in-law, Helen returned to Hobart where her children attended the Friends' High School. Dora left school in 1898 and was employed as an assistant-teacher before entering Hobart General Hospital as a student-nurse. Having obtained her certificate in 1910, she nursed privately, worked as a hospital sister and transferred to St Margaret's, Launceston, where she became acting-matron.

On 15 June 1915 Baudinet was appointed to the Australian Army Nursing Service and posted to the 1st Australian General Hospital. She embarked in the Wandella two days later and served as a staff nurse in Egypt, France and England. Dora returned to Melbourne in the Benalla and her appointment terminated in Tasmania on 12 November 1917. She nursed at Roseneath and at the Repatriation Hospital, Hobart, and on 24 January 1923 took a post with the Education Department as school nurse for the Hobart area. A serious-minded and compassionate woman, she devoted herself to the welfare of children. She never married.

While visiting New Zealand in 1937, Baudinet was impressed by the convalescent holiday homes that she saw there. Next year, with others concerned for child welfare, she formed the Sunshine Association of Tasmania. It aimed to build a holiday house by the sea where isolated or underprivileged children might enjoy improved nutrition, medical and dental treatment, and healthy fun in homely surroundings. The association found a suitable site at Howrah, and quickly gained government encouragement and promises of financial aid. Dora worked as fund-raising secretary and donated 10.5 acres (4.2 ha) of the beachfront estate. Plans for the home were prepared by 1943, but building was delayed by wartime restrictions and shortages.

An active member of the Returned Army Sisters' Association (president 1945) and secretary of the Army Sisters' Memorial Home at Lindisfarne, Baudinet belonged to the Davey Street Congregational Church and supported its youth movement. She was also a foundation member of the Nurses' Club, a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania and vice-president of The Friends' School Old Scholars' Association.

Retiring from the Education Department in 1944, Baudinet died of cancer on 19 December 1945 in Royal Hobart Hospital and was cremated. The bulk of her estate, sworn for probate in Victoria and Tasmania at £7473, was bequeathed to the renamed Tasmanian Sunshine Association; its Dora Baudinet home was opened on 11 August 1951. With the backing of the State government and the Tasmanian Teachers Federation, and through the fund-raising efforts of school pupils and service clubs, holidays were provided for thousands of children. Although rising costs forced the sale of the home in 1985, the association continues to sponsor underprivileged children.

Select Bibliography

  • A. Downie, Our First Hundred Years (Hob, 1975)
  • M. Baudinette, The Baudinette Story (Warrnambool, Vic, 1990)
  • Nurses Club and Nurses Bureau (Hobart), Minutes, 1922-45 (held by Australian Nursing Federation, Hobart)
  • Application for employment as teacher, ED 2/26/2356, (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • Appointment as school nurse in Hobart, ED 13/211, p 336, (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • correspondence, Secretary of Director of Education, ED 10/37/0196 (Archives Office of Tasmania).

Citation details

A. Rand, 'Baudinet, Dora Isabel (1883–1945)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/baudinet-dora-isabel-9455/text16629, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 24 November 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

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