Australian Women's Register

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Plumb, Sarah Ann (1884 - 1962)

23 June 1884
Lawson, New South Wales, Australia
8 November 1962
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Alternative Names
  • Cherry Plumb (nickname)


Sarah Plumb was the eldest daughter in a family of seven children, brought up in inner city Sydney, New South Wales, at the turn of the twentieth century. A conscientious student, a caring individual and a competent teacher, she trained to be a nurse at the Coast Hospital (later Prince Henry's) in Sydney, after having a conversion experience through her connection with St David's church in Surry Hills. Here she developed an active christian ministry amongst the nurses. She was accepted for training at the Chuch Missionary Society home in Melbourne, but was not able to complete service as a missionary for health reasons. She continued to nurse in New South Wales instead.

In 1922 she was appointed the first organising secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Nurses' Christian Movement (ANCM) serving until her retirement in 1947, and then as vice-president until her death in 1962. In this role, she provided advice and guidance to many women undertaking nursing training in Sydney, running Bible classes and challenging any lowering of Christian standards in the nurses she advised.

During the Second World War, she was placed in charge of the Church of England National Emergency Fund (CENEF) hut in the grounds of St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney. In this role, she offered nurses in the services friendship, food and accommodation.

Sarah Plumb was a skilled administrator, teacher and leader who combined these skills with a Christian commitment, and made a difference to the lives of a significant number of trainee nurses.

Sources used to compile this entry: Dickey, Brian (ed.), The Australian Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, Evangelical History Association, Sydney, 1994.

Nikki Henningham

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