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Title : BADGE
Accession ID : NB2002.29

Document type: Nursing Museum Object
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Item Name BADGE
Description NT Nurses' Registration badge
Marks by Maker Amor badges and medals Sydney
Materials Blue and red enamel on metal
Importance Regional
Significance note Historical importance. NT Nurse’s Registration Badge Two NT Nurse Registration Badges are stored under this catalogue number. They are blue and red enamel on metal and are identical except for the darker blue of one. See the uncatalogued file donated by Jacqueline O’Brien about the design and approval of a badge for Darwin Hospital newly graduating trainee nurses [known then as probationers]1 from the North Australia Medical Service in 1932. This file [1931 and 1932] was copied from Department of the Interior holdings of the Australian Archives [J L Cleland, Senior Archivist ACT]. R H Weddell, Administrator of the NT had a preference for the designation to be “North Australia Medical Service but approved the completed design for the “Medical Service Nursing Badge” is outlined 9/3/1932 with as its basis … a shield on which appear the conventional rod and serpent representing the practice of European Medicine and a diagrammatic representation of the Eruncha Marilla2, the magic sign of medicine men in the Aranda3 tribe of Central Australia. The conception is the combination in one service of the practice of medicine in a community consisting of both Europeans and Aboriginals. Strictly speaking the Eruncha Marilla should be white on a black background; for the purposes of the badge it is suggested that background should be dark blue and remainder, including the crown, silver. The local Chief Medical Officer Cecil Cook supported the proposal 10/7/1931 for “a crest or monogram” which would encourage esprit de corps. Despite some lack of enthusiasm in Canberra as expressed by P E Deane, Secretary for Department for Home Affairs 28/8/1931 for provision of a badge for graduating Darwin nurses, two badges did eventuate. This nurse registration badge remained in use until state and territory nurse registering authorities were replaced with a single national registration in 2010. Another badge with ‘Northern Territory Medical Service’ on blue enamel around the top of the circumference with ‘Darwin Hospital’ on red enamel at the bottom also eventuated. This second badge for graduating nurses from Darwin Hospital4 remained in use until the final graduation of nurses from Royal Darwin Hospital in 1988 with the transfer of pre-service nurse education in 1987 to the local tertiary education institution, now Charles Darwin University. The badge as shown left from the catalogue photograph is circular with a crown at the top and has ‘Northern Territory Nurses Registration’ around the circumference, surrounding a shield. The shield is divided diagonally from top left by a silver strip and has the European medical symbols in the top right and the Aboriginal symbols in the bottom left. Including the crown, it is 2.7cm high. Both badges under this catalogue number are in good condition with no sign of rust nor of enamel chipping. They are wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and in appropriate museum packaging. The donor is shown as Edith Lily Robinson. It should be noted that their hospital badges are very precious to most nurses and it is the last item which they will donate. The Museum has some seventy or more hospital badges from many south hospitals and their provenance is significant because of the donor and donor’s connection in Territory nursing practice. 1. A nurse regulatory authority had belatedly commenced for the Northern Territory in 1928 with an approved four year training program and the first graduates emerged in 1932/3 [Mason Janie 2014 From hospital to university –a Northern Territory nursing story, Historical Society NT - pages 14 & 19] 2. Eruncha in Aboriginal belief [Central Australia?] are devils which can make a man into a medicine man; Marilla of unknown origin or meaning; this symbol has also been identified as Churinga/Tjuringa which are sacred tablets or stones carrying spirit beings or souls [from Central Australian Aboriginal Tribes] - Australian Mythology Dictionary on-line 21/12/15. 3. Usually spelt Arrente today; previously also Arunta 4. This badge for graduating nurses from Darwin Hospital has been donated to the Museum by Beryl McEwan, who graduated in 1981 but is as yet uncatalogued.
Location Status Displayed
Current Location Nurses Day
Source or Donor ROBINSON Edith Lily
Visual Condition Good
Physical Condition Good
Condition of Item on Receipt Good
Dimensions 2.7cm diameter plus crown

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