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    Portrait of Nurse Bett, c. 1876 - c. 1933, by Flynn, John
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Bett, Mary Ann Latto (c. 1881 - ?)

Born
c. 1881
Dundee, Scotland
Occupation
Nurse and Sunday school teacher
Alternative Names
  • Bett, Latto (preferred name)
  • Litte Sister (Nickname)
  • Little Angel of the North (Nickname)

Summary

Although a nursing service commenced in Oodnadatta in 1907, a hospital wasn't opened there until 1911. It came under the gamet of Australian Inland Mission activities and was the organisation's first bush hospital. The first nursing sisters to serve there were also both Deaconesses trained at the Presbyterian training institute in Melbourne

Only five foot tall and seven stone (45 kg) ringing wet, 'Little Sister' Mary Ann 'Latto' Bett arrived in Oodnadatta in March of 1910. Her arrival was keenly awaited by the local doctor, who had a number of sick men in outback communities to attend to. Known as 'The little angel of the north', she worked there for four years, as a nurse, preacher, teacher, Sunday School mistress. Perhaps her greatest attribute was her ability to relate with ease to the rough and ready people she encountered in the outback.

She left Oodnadatta to serve as an Army nurse in the Great War. She was discharged from the service in 1918 upon marriage.

Sources used to compile this entry: Ritchie, Catherine I., Not to be ministered unto: The story of Presbyterian deaconesses trained in Melbourne, Diaconate Association of Victoria, Collingwood, 1998; Rudolph, Ivan, Flynn's Outback Angels: Casting the Mantle - 1901 to World War II, vol. 1, Central Queensland University Press, Rockhampton, 2001; Service record: Bett Mary Ann Latto, c. 1914 - c. 1920, BETT M A L; National Archives of Australia, National Office.

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Archival resources

National Archives of Australia, National Office

  • Service record: Bett Mary Ann Latto, c. 1914 - c. 1920, BETT M A L; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details

National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room

  • Biographical cuttings on Sister M. A. Latto Bett, Nursing Sister, Oodnadatta. 1912-1913. Army nurse in World War I, 1912 - 1913, BIOG; National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room. Details

Digital resources

Title
Portrait of Nurse Bett
Type
Image
Date
c. 1876 - c. 1933
Creator
Flynn, John
Control
Part of the Australian Inland Mission Collection

Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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