I have the QSA to Supt. St Barnabe, an original staff member of the Johannesburg Hospital and I would briefly like to share the following with you :
Johannesburg became a huge camp in 1886 with the discovery of gold. Initially the sick and injured were looked after in the gaol but this soon proved unstisfactory. The first Hospital Board met in March 1888 under the chairmanship of Sir William St John Carr and a temporary hospital was erected, which was described as a "brick lined shanty" which consisted of two wards and 14 beds. The problem of nursing staff was solved with Carr casting the deciding vote at a Committee meeting to accept the offer to employ Catholic Sisters of Hope from the Holy Family of Bordeaux. They duly arrived in Natal and after a long trip by ox wagon arrived in Johannesburg and started working in the temporary hospital.
These Sisters were Rev. Mother St Adele Roberts (matron) and four sisters who were Mother St. Barnabe, Sister Bernadine, Sister Columba and Sister M. Stella.
In the meantime a permanent hospital was under construction and would be opened in March 1890 with a total of 120 beds, new wings were opened in 1893 and 1897 providing a total of 320 beds.
Four more Sisters arrived from France in July 1889 with five more arriving in 1890. Sister Charles Bungrass would join in 1897, (her QSA is shown by Henk). In total 26 Religeous Sisters were appointed with 3 year contracts. Due to the increasing workload it was decided in 1895 to employ 30 qualified nursing sisters and to this end the Medical Superintendent Dr John Van Niekerk travelled to England to secure suitable staff. The Nursing staff at the Johannesburg Hospital then split into lay and religious groups and this intensified after the training of probationers began in 1896. Two lay nursing superintendents were appointed, the first being Miss E. Young.
When the Anglo-Boer War broke out the hospital continued to operate and prepared for the admission of military patients from both sides. However on 22nd October all the English nurses were called together and informed that their services were no longer required since "it was intended to employ only those woman whose loyalty would be unquestioned". This whole party was sent to Delagoa Bay on the last train to leave Johannesburg and from there they made their way to Durban by boat.
The Hospital Board minutes (due to the Boer occuptaion these are in Dutch), of 22nd May 1900 lists the names of 17 Religious Sisters and 7 Lay Sisters who were granted nursing certificates.
It is important to note that the Religious Sisters can be considered to have served on both sides of the conflict albeit in a neutral nursing role.
Within a week Johannesburg would be occupied by the British and the Hospital would fall under British administration
Nursing Superintendent St Barnabe would earn a no bar Queen's South Africa Medal for her service.
As far as I can tell there are only four QSA's with the rank of Superintendent, perhaps Meurig could confirm this.
I have a wealth of information, which has involved trips to the Catholic Archives, Brenthurst Library, Museum Africa and the Johannesburg Hospital Archives where I discovered the original Hospital Board Minutes books, dating back to 1887. They contain much detailed information as to the staffing and running of the hospital.
Thanks Rory for the pointer to the book, I intend to purchase a copy to add to my library. David, once my new home office is sorted I will send you details on the Relgious Sisters to add to the database.
What a beauty Jon and what a wonderful story I am very impressed with the lengths you have gone to in your research. It is truly impressive.
I fear that Sr Charles' real identity might remain a mystery. Roman Catholic nuns (like Pope's to an extent) adopt names different to those they were born with on completing their novitiate and taking their vows.
Sr Charles Bungrass would have been born as somebody else. We do have you to thank for the confirmation that she is of French origin.