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Captain Dorothea Burnett



Dorothea, or Dottie as she was known to her Army mates, was born in Buderim, Queensland on the 19 October 1914. Her parents were Lionel and Doretta Burnett.


At aged five, Dorothea commenced her schooling at Buderim Mountain School and the completed her secondary education in Brisbane.


In 1933 Dorothea commenced nursing and trained at Brisbane General Hospital, and by 1937 had achieved Certificate Status, and in 1939 anxious to improve her Nursing Status took courses in Operating Theatre Routines which eventually bore fruit, but in her free time always returned to Buderim.


When WW11 was declared she felt the need to offer her services, and on 29 September 1940, Dorothea enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces, and was attached to the 2/5 Australian General Hospital, and because of her previous Studies and Training went on to become Sister in Charge of the Operating Theatres.


On the 19 October 1940, which happened to be her birthday, Dorothea boarded the SS Aquitania, and on the 20 October 1940, in company with the main body of the 2/5 AGH who were on board the Queen Mary sailed out of Sydney Harbour bound for overseas duties.


The 2/5 Australian General Hospital was a 1200 bed Hospital, all under canvas, and by the end of January 1941, had set up the hospital near the town of Rehovot. This was not to last, and their next move was to the village of Ekali, and by early April the hospital was established and receiving incoming wounded.

On the 20 April the order was given to evacuate the hospital, however 167 male personnel volunteered to stay behind to nurse those too ill to be moved, subsequently these men became Prisoners Of War.


And on the 27 April 1941, the advancing German Army took control of the hospital, treating the wounded being flown in from Crete and Eritrea.


In the war years the 2/5 AGH saw service in Greece Crete, Eritrea, Singapore and Morotai Island, and Dorothea served with honour and distinction with  the Unit throughout these ordeals, and was finally discharged from the services on 5 March 1947.


This story was compiled with text taken from the following books:-

Buderim Born by Hessie Lindsell

Pioneer Cottage by Joan Hogarth 

Proudly We Served  -- Editions 1 & 2 --  The history and stories of the 2/5 Australian General Hospital


With their permission to copy and reproduce this material on the 2/5 AGH website.

Ray Butterfield. --- Webmaster and Curator of Records --- November 2010

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