A bag of 13 buttons (nine large and four small) and two Australia badges removed from Sister Selina Lily (Lil) Mackenzie's World War I nursing uniforms. The buttons, manufactured by Stokes & Sons of Melbourne, all feature an image of Australia under a crown and the legend 'Australian Military Forces'.

Physical Description

Brass buttons, the obverse features an image of Australia under a crown, with text around the outside edge. The maker's mark is incised on the reverse. The 'Australia' badges are pierced metal letters in a curved line.


This collection provides an important insight into the role of women (in this instance nurses) who served during World War I, and is being collected as a possible story line for the planned centenary of WWI celebrations. Sister Selina Lily (Lil) Mackenzie served in Egypt, France, Italy and England between 1915 and 1920. A keen photographer, Lil took images of her time in Egypt; the photographs were carefully placed in albums, and chronicle the hospital at which she served (in a grand hotel, and Luna Park Cairo). The camera on which these images were taken is part of this collection, the inside of the leather case bearing Lil's name with the date 1915 and location Cairo, Egypt. Also donated in this group are Lil's nursing capes, one made of a very light-weight silk (necessary in the extreme heat of Egypt); buttons carefully removed from her uniforms and kept by the family; and souvenirs from Egypt. Lastly, three hand-towels, woven by Lil when a resident of RSL House (a retirement home) in her 80s are included in the group.
Photographs of Cairo, taken on the camera being donated in this group, have been offered to the museum by another family member.

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