WW1 Nurse Margaret Doonar AANS was born in Ipswich 18 May 1892 to parents James and Margaret Hackett who lived on the Cnr of Clay and Brisbane St in Ipswich.
When Margaret was 18 years old she decided to study medicine, she trained in Midwifery and was very competent, but her life was about to change dramatically.
On the 28 May 1917 Margaret enlisted into the Australian Army Nurses Service. On the 3rd Sept 1917 she found herself in Sydney boarding the troop ship “Ayreshire” bound for Egypt.
Margaret served with the 2nd, 31st and 45th General Hospital. Technically the were British Hospitals but there were many Aust Dr’s and nurses who served in those hospitals. She was there because there were many Australians wounded, mostly from the Australian light horse Regt’s.
On the 5th Feb 1919, Margaret boarded the troop ship “Cemamic” full of returning soldiers and wounded men. She was expected to nurse the wounded, but the Spanish Flu took hold of most on the ship and many were stricken with the influenza and had consequently died and were buried at sea. Upon arriving in Australia, the ship was quarantined twice for 20 days.
On the 18th April 1919 Margaret was discharged from the Army. Margaret is commemorated on the Bains Park memorial where is says “Our Boys” she is the only female listed on it as Nurse M Doonar. Her name is misspelt.
In 1931 she married Michael John Hackett, she was 39 years old. From that moment on, she really was never seen again. She is not listed on any Nursing Association that i could find or the Australian War Memorial.
She died in 1977 aged 85 yrs and is buried at the Mt Gravatt cemetery in the Anzac section. Although she is surrounded by people who are signified by their war service, Margaret does not. All she has is a cross symbolising she was a Catholic. There is no recognition of her service on the grave of this or that she was in WW1.
Thank you for your service Margaret Doonar-Hackett.
“Lest We Forget”