From Brisbane trainee nurse to U.S. war bride.

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Locket showing Elvie Geissmann and Roy Bridges, the U.S. serviceman she would later marry.

How different was the life of a young woman in Australia during World War II? Personal diaries are a wonderful way to rediscover the day-to-day activities of our past.

In this 1941 diary, twenty-year-old Elvie Geissmann records her first year as a trainee nurse at the Brisbane General Hospital. She has had to trade the comforts of her childhood home on Tamborine Mountain for cramped nurses quarters at the hospital, where she will train for three long years. Her first months are not easy: she bucks at the discipline, gets into trouble, and spends way more than she earns. But, above all, she perseveres. 

To read more, go to my guest blog post on the State Library of Queensland website.

Finally, a suggestion. If you’ve inherited personal diaries about life in Queensland and don’t know how to preserve them, consider donating them to the collection of the State Library of Queensland.

About Debbie Terranova

Debbie Terranova is an Australian author of contemporary and historical fiction. In 2018-19, armed with a QANZAC 100 Fellowship with the State Library of Queensland, Debbie completed a 12-month research project entitled "Queensland Women and War". Prior to this she published three novels and several short stories. 'Enemies within these Shores' (2018) is based on a shocking true story which saw the detention of thousands of civilians in Australia during WWII. 'The Scarlet Key' (2016) and 'Baby Farm' (2014) are crime mysteries set in Brisbane, Australia. 'The Scarlet Key' has underlying themes of growing older outrageously and seizing control of your destiny. 'Baby Farm' reveals the shabby treatment of young unmarried mothers in the 1970s in a crime mystery that plays out forty years hence.
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