Pte Margaret Filliponi (Hanrahan) OAM

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Margaret was born on the 24 November 1922 at the Corowa Private Hospital in country NSW.                OAM Story

 

She attended North Burraja School until the age of fourteen, then left school to help out on her parents property at Lowesdale, country NSW.

 

Margaret joined the AAMWS, Unit 3 Aust. AWS Rec.Depot at Royal Park - Victoria on the 14 march 1944 - and went from there to Darley Rookie Camp at Ballarat. This was a tough time, with twenty girls sharing a hut, quite cramped, and Margaret formed a bond of friendship with Nell Lee. On the 29 April 1944, Margaret was attached to the Australian Army Womens Medical Service, and on the 28 June 1944, Margaret was posted to Heidelberg Military Hospital for training as a Dental Nurse, and on 13 September 1944, Margaret was transferred to the 2/5 Australian General Hospital, and selected for overseas duty, but meanwhile spent six months working in various Army Hospitals.

 

On Easter Sunday 1945, whilst working at Concord Military Hospital, the 2/5 AGH Unit was lined up on parade and told they were to be transported by Army Vehicles to board the Hospital Ship Manunda, and they sailed out of Sydney Harbour later that day, destination Morotai Island. This was a Dutch owned Island about seventy miles long and twenty miles wide,and still occupied by Japanese troops. Because of this, the Nurses were not allowed out of their lines without an armed guard or in a conducted party. As Morotai was a Malaria prone area, averyone had to sleep under mosquito nets. Margaret's best friend on the island was Vonne, (Yvonne Mehl) and they kept in touch right up until Vonne passed away on the 15 June 1989.

 

Margaret was based on Morotai Island with the 2/5 AGH from 4 April 1945 until the 15 September 1945.

 

Margaret's trip home was in an old Bomber plane, just a shell, no seats or toilet, just their kitbags to sit on. After landing in Darwin, and because of the bomb damage, they flew overnight to Melbourne. After arriving back in Melbourne, Margaret was assigned as a dental nurse at Dental HQ, 339 Swanston Street, and then to the dental unit at Albert park.. Her last posting was to Bandiana before heading back to Royal Park, and was finally discharged on 26 February 1947.

 

Margaret worked as a dental nurse in Corowa before marrying, and continues to live in Corowa until this day. She has been involved in many community groups and organisations over the years, and is still very active and involved.

 

These photos and information was given by Margaret Hanrahan and her daughter Margaret Costello, with permission to reproduce same on our website.

© 2/5 Australian General Hospital