Nurse Alice Mary Rowntree, NZANS 22/500






Pandora Research

Alice was born at Christchurch 07 May 1883, the eldest daughter of Jabez William Rowntree (1851-1927) and his wife Hannah nee Duggleby (1853-1928). When she was admitted to Sydenham School on 29 October 1888 the family were living in Selwyn Street. On 23 March 1892 she and her sister Ethel (1886-1965) were admitted to Tarata School, Inglewood and left again on 11 April 1892. On 10 May 1892 Alice was admitted to Terrace End School in Palmerston North and Ethel followed on 23 May 1892. The family were living in Grey Street and the sisters left the school in early June 1892 destined for the Central School. The following year the family were farming at Midhurst in Taranaki and about 1905 moved again to Hunter Road, Eltham.

In 1911 Alice was living at 55 Cambridge Terrace in Christchurch and passed examinations under the auspices of St John Ambulance Association in September and November. In 1914 she received a Medallion, having successfully completed a first aid course two years in a row. By this time she was living in the Nurses' Home at Christchurch Hospital where she received further training. In December 1915 she obtained 75 percent or over in a State Examination and was registered as a Nurse with a Christchurch Hospital Certificate in February 1916.

In the Register of Nurses, as of January 1918, Alice's address is given as c/o Miss Glasson, Rotorua. Also listed was Emily Jane Glasson (1880-1967), of King Street, Rotorua. Alice may have been present when Government Guide Ernest Carroll McCormack, his wife Amelia Margaret (nee Crowder), and their five year old son, William Henry Ernest, were received into Nurse Glasson's private hospital. They had been scalded in the Frying Pan Flat eruption at Waimangu on 01 April 1917. Their son 'Harry' died on the same day. Amelia, who was severely scalded all over having received the "full brunt of the awful blast that wrecked the house", died two days later aged 34 years. Both were buried in Kimihia Cemetery at Huntly. Ernest later married Emily Jane in 1919.

When Alice enlisted with the New Zealand Army Nursing Service (NZANS) on 04 April 1918 she was living with her parents at Eltham and gave her mother as next of kin. She was given the rank of 'Staff Nurse' and embarked on the steamship 'Corinthic' a week later. Alice was "taken on strength" on 05 June 1918, posted to No.1 NZ General Hospital (Brockenhurst) on 13 June then transferred to No.2 NZ General Hospital (Walton-on-Thames) on 11 February 1919.

Alice was one of six nurses to return to New Zealand via the transport ship 'Paparoa'. It departed from Avonmouth on 14 September 1919, coaled at Newport News, and arrived at Wellington on 07 November 1919. During the voyage there was an outbreak of chickenpox and measles, but no serious cases. The only medical man on board was a doctor returning as a passenger. It was also stated that the nurses on board refused service in the hospital. The other nurses were:

22/109 Caroline CONDICK
22/376 Catherine Isabel DRUMMOND
22/414 Amy Elizabeth BENNETT
22/499 Euphemia Laidlaw McGIBBON
22/514 Elizabeth Loosmore BAKER

The day after arriving in Wellington Alice continued her service in NZANS until being placed on reserve on 06 December 1919. The 1921 and 1922 Registers of Nurses indicate that Alice continued to practise from June 1920 to March 1921. For part of that time she resided at the Nurses' Home, Wellington before returning 'home' to her parents at Clifford Road, Eltham.

On 23 June 1921 Alice married Alphonsus Culling (1876-1939), a returned soldier and son of Joseph and Margaret Ogilvie Culling of Hillgrove, Moeraki. The couple decided to settle in Timaru where Alphonsus' widowed mother lived. Alphonsus also purchased from William Ferrier, "the old-established photography business, together with instruments, furniture, fittings etc." that was advertised for sale "as a going concern" in July 1921. First they lived at 88 Rose Street then by 1925 had moved to 3 Campbell Street. During this time their two children were born - Ethel May (1922-1982) and Donald (1924-2016).

Not long after this the family moved the photography business to Upper Hutt and established their new home in Martin Street. In October 1927 Alice found herself in front of the Upper Hutt Court and was fined 1 for failing to observe a half-holiday. In March 1938 her son Donald won a Junior Award issued by the Upper Hutt Sub-Centre of the New Zealand Red Cross Society.

On 28 November 1939 Alphonsus died at their Martin Street home and was buried at Karori Cemetery, Wellington. He was a veteran of the Boer and 1st World War. Alice remained at 60 Martin Street until 1954. She died at Lower Hutt on 01 June 1955 and joined her husband at Karori.