Nurses Along the Murray

19 - 26 Apr 2021
  • Medical & Professional Tours

About the tour

This tour is supported by the Australian College of Nursing.

The Murray River rises in the Snowy Mountains in the Australian Alps and runs down the border between Victoria and New South Wales to South Australia. One of the largest rivers of the world, it is the life-giving umbilical cord of the area. Paddle steamers transformed the area after settlement, making it a busy thoroughfare and bringing women and families to the lands along the Murray. Nurses and midwives were much needed and their skills and experiences intertwined with Indigenous and settler women for many years.

Explore the fascinating world of women, nursing and paddle steamers in the beautiful Riverina area of Victoria. Follow the mighty Murray River as it courses past Wodonga, Rutherglen, Echuca and Swan Hill and learn about the rich history of nursing via huge red gum forests and lakes, mountains and plains.

Cruise on a paddle steamer, learn about Riverina’s vivid history, march with the RSL on Anzac Day, see the historic Catalina Flying Boat and amazing art silos, and sample artisan food and wine. This tour has broad appeal and partners are very welcome.


You can book on this tour secure in the knowledge that if you have to cancel due to borders being closed because of Covid you will receive a 100% refund. This refund applies up until the day of departure.

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Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Professor Linda Shields

Professor Linda Shields

Professor Linda Shields is a Honorary Professor in the School of Medicine at The University of Queensland, Australia.She previously worked at Charles Sturt University. Her research interests are in the care of children in health services, particularly in rural and remote areas.

Professor Shields was the first nurse in Australia to be awarded a higher doctorate. She was awarded a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Queensland for her work on family-centred care in paediatrics. In 2015 she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in Washington in recognition of her research in how to improve care for children and their families - an honour that's not usually bestowed on those outside the United States.

Linda is passionate about the way we care for children and their families, and about what it is like for children to live with a chronic illness when they live in rural and remote areas, a long way from treatment centres that are usually in the big cities. Her research reveals what is good about our health systems, and where improvements can be made.

Linda has also researched the role of nurses in Nazi Germany, which shows that despite nursing's rating as the "most trusted profession", in that era, nursing's ethics were turned around and nurses actively, and voluntarily, killed their patients, believing that they were doing the right thing. Other history research includes investigations into the life of Australian Dame Maud McCarthy, who was Matron-in-Chief, British Expeditionary Forces, France and Flanders in World War One.

Linda is also involved in inventions that can have a huge impact on health care, such as developing a new way of disposing of hospital waste so it doesn't have to go in landfill - as it does at present.

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  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Albury Wodonga (Mon 19 April)
    Meet at Quest Wodonga and hear a talk: “A History of Nursing Along the Murray” by Linda Shields. Welcome dinner in the evening.
  • Day 2: Albury Wodonga / Rutherglen (Tues 20 April)
    Visit Wodonga Hospital and learn of nursing on the border. Visit the award winning Albury Wodonga Cancer Centre and learn how design and landscape assists healing (TBC). Continue via the Granny Mary Caton Bridge at Howlong to beautiful Rutherglen, one of the great centres of Australian wine making. Wine tasting, dinner and overnight at Tuileries Winery in Rutherglen.
  • Day 3: Rutherglen (Wed 21 April)
    Drive to Chiltern to visit the Lake View Homestead, home of the writer Ethel Florence Richardson (known by her pen name Henry Handel Richardson, famous Australian writer and author of 'The Getting of Wisdom'). The house contains a 19th century birthing chair. Continue to the Dow Pharmacy which operated from 1859 to 1956 and is now a museum. Return to Rutherglen and visit Wicked Virgin Vineyard and Olive Grove for lunch and olive and wine tastings. Learn of their wine making and olive harvests. Return to the hotel.
  • Day 4: Rutherglen / Echuca (Thurs 22 April)
    Drive to Corowa and learn about the O’Reilly sisters and see the old St Margaret (Private) Hospital on Betterment Parade. Visit Federation Museum in Corowa – the birthplace of Federation. Continue via Yarrawonga and see the Yarrawonga-Mulwala Pioneer Museum. Drive along the river to Barmah, traditional land of the Yorta Yorta people and one of the largest redgum forests in the world, which includes Indigenous canoe trees. There is a birthing tree a short distance from the road. Arrive in Echuca. Visit Echuca Hospital and see the segue from past to present (partners at leisure).
  • Day 5: Echuca (Fri 23 April)
    Walking tour of the old town of Echuca with a specialist guide from the historical society. Hear stories about rural women, birthing, Shinbone Alley, fire and flood, nurses, early private maternity hospitals and Pearl Wallace, the first female riverboat captain. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner before a Port After Dark tour.
  • Day 6: Echuca (Sat 24 April)
    Take part in a driving tour of Campaspe Art Trail past painted silos, murals and installations and end up at the traditional regional market at Kyabram. Take a two-hour lunch cruise along the Murray on the Pride of the Murray paddle steamer. Rest of the day is at leisure.
  • Day 7: Echuca / Swan Hill (Sun 25 April)
    Drive via the pretty towns of Gunbower and Cohuna to Koondrook Barham. Option to march with the Koondrook Barham RSL following the Bendigo pipe band.* Attend the Anzac Day Ceremony at Koondrok, where Linda Shields will address the RSL on the subject of: “Nurses in conflict”. Lunch in Koondrook. Explore the attractive town and walk along the river to see the redgum carvings, including one of famed Nurse Rosen. Visit the cemetery where the gates were named after Nurse Rosen and see her tombstone. Continue to Swan Hill.
  • Day 8: Swan Hill (Mon 26 April)
    Drive to visit the Flying Boat Museum on Lake Boga, home of the historic Catalina Flying Boat and site of the secret RAAF Repair Depot. Learn about nursing at the base during the war. Return to Swan Hill. Farewell dinner and drinks on the river.
  • Day 9: Swan Hill / Albury Wodonga (Tues 27 April)
    Return to Wodonga after breakfast.

* Those not wishing to take part in the march can follow by bus.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour is $3,460 per person sharing

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Coronavirus Update

Updated information on our response to COVID-19.

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