Queensland Early History


Our early History

(May 1972 – Dec 1999)

From L – R Shirley Tindall and Pat Blackley. AASTN National Conference Melbourne 1983 – last minute preparation for conference

From L-R: Lena Stillman. Pat Blackley, ?, Shirley Tindall AASTN 1983 National Conference Melbourne

Our early History

(May 1972 – Dec 1999)

This early history is dedicated to all our pioneer Stomal Therapy Nurses who have given us the time to reminisce and recall people, places and events of previous years gone by. Without their passion and dedication this history would have been lost forever. StomaltherapistsQueensland (Name changed to Stomal Therapy Nurses in 1981)

In October 2015, when cleaning out my office, I came across some handwritten notes in my filing cabinet. As I read through them, I was moved by the challenges that our pioneer nurses faced and I felt that our history in Queensland needed to be recorded and  our pioneer stomal therapy nurses need to be recognised and acknowledged for their vision and dedicated hard work.

In August 2016, contact was made with Jan Evans, an original member of AASTN, who had kept a detailed record of the early history of Stomal Therapy Nurses in Queensland. We now have a true and accurate record of the work and challenges faced by our colleagues. I hope you find this history of interest.

Our early history
(May 1972 – Dec 1999)
Pat Walls R.N. S.T.N. Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital, Brisbane. 2016

May 1972

Mavis Schaefer, Princess Alexandra Hospital, (PAH) attended course in Melbourne.


September 1973

Sue Noller (now Parsons), PAH appointed as first Stomaltherapist in Qld.


30 October 1973

Shirley Rounsvell Repatriation Hospital – Greenslopes (RGH) appointed as acting Stomaltherapist.


November 1973

Sue Noller attended course in Melbourne – total of twelve students participated.


 June 1974 to July 1974

Jill Mathie (now Lindley) Blue Nursing Service, attended three week course. 16 – 17 other students also participated.  Jill spent sometime observing with the Royal District Nursing Service Stomaltherapist prior to returning to Brisbane as the first community Stomaltherapist in Queensland.


April – May 1975

Sue Noller was funded by the Queensland Cancer Find to attend a six week Enterostomaltherapy course at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio USA.  Sue then visited several Stomal Therapy units in USA and UK.


30 June 1975

Helen Tegg (now Dickinson) appointed acting Stomaltherapist RGH as Shirley Rounsvell transferred to Canberra.


10 November 1975

Jan Evans, Blue Nursing Service (BNS) appointed as assistant to Jill Mathie.


April – May 1976   

First four week Stomal Therapy course held at PAH


17 October 1976

The Stomaltherapist position at RGH was declared a senior sister’s position.


25 October 1976

Jan Evans BNS attended the second course held at PAH together with three other students.  Jan was officially appointed the second Stomaltherapist for BNS.


9 December 1976

The RGH Stomaltherapist position was officially advertised.  Helen Dickinson was appointed but Shirley Rounsvell appealed against the decision, her appeal was defeated.


During these early years of Stomal Therapy in Queensland monthly meetings were initially held at the Blue Nursing Headquarters, then Panorama Lodge, Highgate Hill.  The meetings were not formal, no office bearers were officially appointed.  Generally the time was spent discussing problems with patients and supplies general sharing of ideas.

Some fund raising was conducted i.e. raffles.  Those attending the meetings paid 50c to the “treasurer”.  The money covered the cost of the afternoon tea and the rest went into so called general funds.

Prior to the National Conference in 1981 a meeting was held at the Mater Hospital, Brisbane.  Lena Stillman, then State Representative, announced that the Queensland members were to take over the Executive Committee at the AGM.  Those present then decided who would best fill the positions and accept nomination.

The 11th Annual Conference was held at the Gateway Inn, Brisbane 19 – 20 March 1981.

21 March 1981

AGM held with the following Queensland Members attending:

  • M. Bowyer (now McKenzie)
  • H. Dickinson (nee Tegg)
  • J.Evans
  • S.Herrmann
  • B.Harfiel
  • M.Lawlor
  • J.Mathie (now Lindley)
  • E.Mann
  • Sr F McMeniman RSM
  • S.Noller
  • M.Schaefer
  • N.Stark
  • L.Stillman
  • S.Tindall

Executive Committee elected:

President:           Shirley Tindall

Vice-President:  Elsie Mann

Secretary:            Helen Dickinson

Treasurer:           Bernadette Hartfiel

Editor:                  Jill Mathie (now Lindley)

Committee Members:

                  • Jan Evans
                  • Sue Noller
                  • Mavis Schaefer

For the next two years the Queensland Branch went into recess as the members were busy being the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee of the Australian Association of Stomal Therapists (now Stomal Therapy Nurses) met monthly in the Blue Nursing Service State Council rooms located in “Moorlands” a heritage listed building in the grounds of the Wesley Hospital, Auchenflower.

Changes to the committee naturally occurred.

November 1983 

Stomal Therapy Open Week Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Patricia Blackley held position of International Delegate for W.C.E.T.


December 1983

Metropolitan educational evening: Alternative Medicine


February 1984 

Office Bearers elected:

President: M. Smith

Treasurer: L. Burness

Secretary: J. Woolcock

State Rep:N.Embregts

Educational                           officers:

  • L. Stillman
  • M. Baker
  • S. Allen


March 1984

Article published in suburban newspaper re Stomal Therapy. (L.Stillman; J.Evans) .
Queensland Cancer Fund  sponsored J.Grant (Roma) and G. Cahill (Cairns) to the 3rd National Cancer Conference Melbourne.


April 1984

14th Annual Conference, Launceston, Tasmania
N. Embregts funded as state rep to attend the conference.
Pat Blackley received a grant from Qld Cancer Fund to attend 5th
Biennial Congress WCET South Africa.


May 1984

Commencement of extending invitation to stomaltherpy students to attend monthly meetings to develop a rapport between members and potential new members.


June 1984

Acknowledgement of the association’s new name – The Australian Association of Stomal Therapy Nurses. Discussion commenced on the role of the Stomal Therapy nurse when dealing with urinary / faecal incontinence.


July 1984 

Assistance from pharmaceutical company with distribution of educational material to membership.


August 1984

One-day Seminar at Townsville General Hospital by N. Embregts, P. Walls, N.Stark


November 1984

P. Blackley presented paper at the Oncological Nurses Seminar on behalf of the Queensland Stomal Therapy Nurses.


Lena Stillman and Metropolitan members participated at a one day Seminar at the Bardon Professional Centre – “What to do when…”

December 1984 

Meetings venue changed to Conference Room 3 Mater Public Hospital

February 1985 AGM

  • President: Pat Walls
  • Secretary: J. Woolcock
  • Treasurer: L. Burness

June 1985

  • Educational Officers: L. Stillman: S. Allen; A. Barbor
  • Educational activities: Maree Lawlor, Nambour

October 1985 

Queensland Cancer Fund grant to Queensland branch for sharing amongst members to attend the Sixth Biennial Congress of WCET in Perth.

November 1985

Educational evening; B. Stedman, S. Tindall. Nurse of the Year Queensland Cancer Fund – Marion Wild, Community Health Nurse/Stomal Therapy Nurse, Mackay.

February 1986 

  • President: Pat Walls
  • Vice President: Bev Gaudie
  • Secretary: A. Simon
  • Treasurer: D. Bull
  • Educational Officers: L. Stillman; S. Allen; M. Baker
  • State Rep: N. Embregts

April 1986 

Sixth Biennial Congress, Perth. 17 Queensland members attended. 11 members assisted by the Association and 6 funded otherwise.

May 1986

Participation in Nursing Awareness Week organized by the Queensland Nurses’ Union.

June 1986

Organization of library facilities for members which will be kept by Metropolitan Education Officer; Development of poster displays for use with promotion of public awareness and teaching.   V. Wright, L Stillman.


July 1986

Jean Svenson Bursary commenced:


  • To encourage the continuation of high standard of nursing care by Stomal Therapy nurses in Queensland.
  • To facilitate sharing of knowledge amongst members.

August 1986

Educational evening – presentation of tapes from Perth Congress


September 1986

Development of slides / tapes for patient use. L. Stillman, B. Stedman.


December 1986

Adaption of National Constitution to accommodate laws of Queensland. Justice Department to facilitate fund raising ventures.

It has been reported that much of 1986 has been used for planning the 17th Annual National Conference which will be held at the O.J.Casey Education Centre, Gold Coast Hospital


17th National Conference Gold Coast 1987                                                                                                                              Back (from left): Sr Fay McMeniman (RSM); Pat Walls; Dottie St Clair; Bev Gaudie: Pat Neilson: Lena Stillman; Pat Blackley: (not sure) Front: Elizabeth Herron, Rep (Convatec); Natalie Embregts; Lesley Smith, Rep (Convatec)

A Golden Opportunity

Conference Committee:

  • Dottie St. Clair
  • Anne Simon
  • Donna Bull
  • Barbara Stedman
  • Lena Stillman
  • Pat Walls
  • Val Wright
  • Shirley Daley

AASTN Conference Gold Coast 1987

From L-R:: Margaret Brown, Pat Walls, Sue Bedford; Lesley Smith, (not sure) Cynthia Smyth, (not sure), Maree Lawlor sitting.

AASTN Gold Coast 1987

Left back; Frances McEnenery (N.S.W.); Lesley Smith; Pat Walls; Elizabeth Herron; Sr Fay McMeniman (RSM) Front: Bev Gaudie; Shirley Daley; Barbara Stedman

AASTN Gold Coast 1987

From L-R: Lesley Smith: Pat Walls; Natalie Embregts; Barbara Stedman


Efforts to register as an approved Association, Art and Amusement, with the justice Department were successful, due to the Association being a semi-professional body. An educational video was  prepared in cooperation with the Boots Company Nursing Awareness was held in the Brisbane City Hall: AASTN members became involved to promote the speciality of Stomal Therapy nursing and joined with other nurses and the Queensland Nurses Union to promote the role of the nurse in the community.

Pat Walls and Sr Fay McMeniman.(RSM) Brisbane Town Hall. It was decided in July 1986, that the donation given to the association for the Jean Svenson  Bursary would be a cash prize to a Stomal Therapy nurse who writes an essay, and will be awarded annually or biannually. This award is to be given in 1988.

This award in 1988, AASTN (Qld) branch Jean Svenson Bursary was won by Pat Walls for her paper on: “How Stomal therapy skills have helped when caring for one of my patients”

In March 1987 an article was written in The Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology on “Fermentation in the Ileostomy Bag” . Lena Stillman participated in this project.

In April 1987 the 17th National Stomal Therapy conference was held on the Gold Coast with nurses attending nationally.

National Stomal Therapy week occurred in June of each year. In 1987 Stomaltherpy nurses became actively involved with newspaper items, displays at hospitals, educational events and social functions shared by AASTN members and ostomy associations.

In 1987 Pat Blackley on behalf of all Stomal Therapy nurses, presented a case to the Wages Tribunal that the Stomal Therapy Nurse, should be awarded a Clinical Nurse Consultant position.
The outcome from her presentation, a Clinical Nurse Consultant position has been created within the career structure of Queensland Nursing.

Communication took place with State and Private Hospitals re awareness of the availability of a Stomal Therapy Scholarship  – The Denyer Brothers Scholarship.
Two Stomal Therapy courses have been conducted each year (1986-1987) at the Princess
Alexandra Hospital.
Association membership at the end of 1987: Metropolitan 36 Regional 2

AASTN Conference New Zealand 1991

From L-R: Pat Walls; Lorraine Burness; Muriel Fletcher

AASTN Conference Sydney 1999

From L-R: Louise Dufficy; Jan Denyer; Brenda Sando; Lenora Steele; Jenny Collins; Sandra Marshall (Regional Manager Coloplast),Jenny Bennett Rep(Convatec); Pat Walls

WCET Congress Singapore 2000

From L- R: Brenda Sando, Pat Walls, Kim Cheah

WCET Congress Slovenia 2008

From L -R: Pat Walls; Brenda Sando; Helleen Purdy; Lesley Everingham; Enid Vaughan; (not sure)

WCET Congress Singapore 2000

From L- R: L-R Kim Cheah, Brenda Sando, Pat Walls and Keryln Carville

Items of interest

Extracts from the Journal of Stomal Therapy Australia

1981 December Lena Stillman

Doctor Davis’ interest in Stomal Therapy was stimulated by his close association with Dr Rubert Turnbull. As a visiting consulting surgeon to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, he established a Colo-Rectal Clinic in 1970. The clinic became one of the major interests of the hospital. Doctor Davis collated the necessary facts and figures to convince the hospital administration staff that a Stomaltherapist was needed to maintain quality nursing care for these patients and to educate and assist all health care personnel associated with their care. Through Doctor Davis’ perseverance, the Stomal Therapy courses funded by the State Health Department were commenced at the P.A. Hospital.

It has been recorded that Doctor Davis wrote to the Exucutive Committee, “I was delighted to receive your letter of 15th September, 1981, offering me Honorary Membership of the Australian Association of Stomal Therapists. I regard this as a great honour and am very pleased to accept it.
You may assure the Committee and your members that I will always endeavour to promote the recognition of Stomaltherapists as members of the health care team.

1981 June Lena Stillman

Stomal Therapy training has been temporarily suspended at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, due to their inability to employ a trained stomal therapist. Mavis Schaefer had to resign from her position at Princess Alexandra Hospital for health reasons. She was responsible for the founding and organisation of the stomal therapy course there.

The decision to take over the Executive in the coming year fills us with some trepidation and we hope that we can serve you wll well. We are very conscious of the hard work organisation and expertise provided by the West Australian Branch in streamlining the Association and are very grateful.

1982 February Lena Stillman

After a long interval, the Post Basic Stomal Therapy Course will recommence at the princess Alexandra Hospital on the 8th February, led by Pat Blackley. We wish her every success in this, her first venture into the “other side’ of the training programme. Here in Queensland, as in all the other states, we are fully occupied in raising funds, We hope to be able to fund six of our members, not including key members of the Executive, so that
they may attend the Annual Conference in Sydney.

1988: Letter sent to Dept. of Community Services and Health 28th September from Helen

Deakin (President of AASTN) On behalf of Stomal Therapy nurses Helen wrote:
We note your concern re: the conflict of interest amongst AASTN State Branches concerning the distribution of ostomy appliances and pharmaceuticals in Australia.

This matter has been discussed at three Executive Meetings of the AASTN and our main area of concern is the lack of input from Stomal Therapy Nurses into the decision making process for the NHS listing of both appliances and pharmaceuticals.
Because we are a professional specialist nursing group dealing directly with ostomates, we wish to become more directly involved in this decision making process in conjunction with your department.
As a separate issue, we are, like you, concerned about the high level of usage of these appliances and pharmaceuticals. We welcome the change of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Request for supplies Form and feel that this is a positive step towards encouraging ostomates to be more selective in their choice of the many items that are currently available to them.
As a first step, may we suggest that your department make available to this Executive documentation of the process that you go through to determine just what type of appliance is placed on the list, what type of appliance is deleted and how the monthly issue of both appliances and pharmaceuticals are determined.
We have mentioned in previous correspondence that you do consider advice that you receive from manufacturers, stoma associations and Stomal Therapy Nurses to your Department be directed via the AASTN Executive. This will hopefully enable us to become more involved in the decision making process and lessen some of the confusion that exists. We in turn, have directed each of our State Branches to direct their correspondence and concerns to our Executive meetings, so that we can communicate with you as one voice.”


For your information, the Stoma Appliance Scheme was introduced in 1975 to provide stoma aids and appliances, through approved Stoma Associations, free of charge to all who need them. In order for an appliance to be listed on the Scheme the Department must receive an application for listing from the manufacturer. A committee comprising senior officers of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Branch consider the application bearing in  mind comments from stomal therapists and stoma associations regarding the need for the item, maximum monthly issues and other relevant details supplies by them and the manufacturer.
Your request to have the Department direct it inquiries through the AASTN Executive when
seeking advice from stomal therapy nurses has been noted.Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Extracts from State Reports

1984 September Natalie Embregts

The Queensland Branch meets monthly in Brisbane and the minutes are distributed to members.
We are still continuing our steady fundraising, mainly by the use of raffles. Our last raffle was a bottle of whisky and was won by none other than Pat Blackley. Another venture will be a stall at the flea market, planned for October.
Our education programmes are going ahead. As a follow up to the article “ Exactly What is a Stomaltherapist?”, (which was published in one of the metropolitan suburban newspapers), the same newspaper will be interviewing an ostomate and publishing the same, sometime shortly.

Another successful training course has been completed at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, and we welcome the new members.

1986 June Natalie Embregts

We have introduced two new positions this year, those of Vice President and Correspondence Secretary. The position of Vice President has been filled by Bev Gaudie, and we are still calling for nominations for the other.
Like the other states, our major task for 1985 was fund raising, achieved in various ways, some of which were raffles, flea market stalls, a pie drive, a glamour show and a touch football match. We also received financial support from the Queensland Cancer Fund, and we thank them for this. Again, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all members who have contributed to the year’s activities.
On the educational side, the metropolitan girls combined their Christmas Party with an evening’s programme on incontinence, and I believe a good time was had by all. We are still in the process of organising some educational material to be put together, to benefit members Australia wide. “National Stomal Therapy Week” has been promoted State wide with different areas participating. This included static displays and publicity via the media. The Queensland Nurses Union are organising “ Nursing Awareness 1986 being held in Brisbane 21-22nd May,
and our Association will be well represented with the use of a static display and members being on hand to answer questions.

1987 September Bev Gaudie

The conference “A Golden Opportunity” at the Gold Coast was pleasant and informative for all who attended. I would like to thank the members of the Conference Committee for their tireless efforts over the past year in creating such a successful Conference.
At the April meeting Lena Stillman produced an abstract from an article showing Research into
Fermentation in Ileostomy bags: Control of excessive gas with diet, PH and antibiotics. Congratulations Lena on being involved with this research.

1988 March Bev Gaudie

The monthly meetings at the Mater have been well attended and have been followed with a guest speaker. Dr Wynne spoke about Anorectal Manometery following the October meeting. After the November meeting Dr John Herron gave an interesting talk on the J. Pouch and its complications.
Special mention to Olive Clarke who in 1987, with the support of the local Meat Works and other companies, conducted  two country dances. The proceeds of these went to our local branch. I would also like to wish Lesley Mitchell success and happiness with her new job as the ConvaTec Representative for North Queensland. Lesley previously was Stomal Therapist with the Blue Nursing Service Townsville.
In August, some of us attended a social evening at the Q.T. Association Headquarters. This
was an enlightening time as we were shown over their newly renovated building and were given an insight into the running of the organisation. This event has strengthened the rapport between members of the Q.T. Association and Stomal Therapists.

1988 June Bev Gaudie

From this year there will be only one Stomal Therapy Course at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. This will commence sometime late in September. There have been changes at the Stomal Therapy Department at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Pat Blackley has moved to the School of Nursing at the hospital and Donna Bull has resigned from the hospital in order to further her studies and now does Consultancy work also.

1989 September Cynthia Smyth

Stomal Therapy Awareness Week was well celebrated with displays at our larger Metropolitan Hospitals, and smaller country Hospitals, and Health Centres. Several stomal therapy nurses arranged on-air time with local radio stations. At our June meeting, Pat Walls presented her paper on Pyoderma Gangrenosum which was included at the conference in the segment “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Pat Blackley returned from Singapore in early June following her attendance at the
Singapore Cancer Society Conference and Ostomy Management – a comprehensive approach. Pat presented a  paper “Bringing Ostomy Care to the Community”. She also conducted a counselling workshop, visited the Cancer Society Stoma Club, and conducted an
in-service education session at the 45-minute University Hospital in Singapore.
Pat also presented a two hours lecture to second-yearNational nurses on the Psychosocial Problems resulting from Ostomy surgery and management techniques to the Singapore General Hospital staff. A meeting was held with nurse tutors to discuss the Role of Stomal Therapy Nurses looking at Managing Continence and Clinical Specialism. All in all a lot of hard work. We are proud to have such international representation.

1989 December Cynthia Smyth

Work has continued on the outline and suggested content for a core module for our National Stomal Therapy Course. This has been a difficult task due to distances and other commitments by members. The input via letters and telephone contacts have truly been appreciated, our thanks to Lena Stillman for correlating this information for the deadline in early November. Entries for the Jean Svenson Bursary closed in July with no applications received.
A motion was carried at the September meetings to allow the amount of funds to be doubled in the following year to encourage participation.

1990 November Cynthia Smyth:

November saw the resignation of Pat Blackley, course co-ordinator at the princess Alexandra Hospital. A farewell luncheon was held at the Hilton Hotel and as expressed by Val Wright, our Chairperson, (Queensland Branch), we are very sad to see Pat leave us to live in South Australia. Our loss will indeed by their gain. We all wish to express our very sincere thanks to Pat for her years of hard work and dedication to the Queensland Branch.
We are very proud of Pat’s achievements both in Australia and internationally.

1990 December Pat Walls

The WCET Congress in Toronto, Canada in July 1990 was a great success. Barbara Logan (Bundaberg Hospital), Muriel Fletcher (The Wesley Hospital, Brisbane) and myself (The Holy Spirit Hospital Brisbane) were three very proud Queenslanders who joined 23 other Australian Stomal Therapy nurses for a full week of education and hospitality. It was an experience of a lifetime and one that we will never forget, a chance to discuss, share with and learn from our overseas colleagues.
Our project at present is to update the membership booklet. Many thanks to the members who have responded so quickly with their current place of employment and home address The executive is at present negotiating with a supplier to sponsor the membership booklet.

1991 March Pat Walls

At the November 1990 Graduation we welcomed 8 new Stomal Therapy nurses. Our sincere  congratulations to you all and also to Ellen Parle on her first successful course as co- ordinator.
We now start 1991 with anticipation. We are planning a seminar in March at the Mater Hospital. The programme looks interesting covering a variety of topics including sessions by medical personnel and Stomal Therapy nurses, and an opportunity to learn more about the Lithotripter.
Our monthly meetings resume in February. We have been encouraged by the good
attendance at these meetings and our problem solving sessions have been particularly helpful to us all.

1991 June Pat Walls

The seminar “Stomal Therapy into the 90’s” held on March 2nd at the Mater Hospital Brisbane was a tremendous success. The auditorium was packed with standing room only. More than 100 people enjoyed this day of education and social interaction. Over $2000 was raised
for our branch, and plans are now underway for a repeat performance at the end of the year. Many thanks to Sister Fay McMeniman(RSM) resident Stomaltherapist at the Mater for providing such an excellent venue and her skills as a technician in the audio/visual and lighting area. Val Wright’s presentation of certificates of Honorary Membership of AASTN to Senator Doctor John Herron, Consultant Surgeon and Doctor Fred Leditschke, Paediatric Surgeon, Royal Children’s Hospital, was the day’s highlight. Both Doctors leaders in their respective fields were moved by this award and spoke highly of their involvement and interest in Stomal Therapy nursing over the years. Each expressed willingness to continue supporting and promoting Stomal Therapy nursing in Queensland.
There will be two Stomal Therapy courses in Queensland this year. Due to public demand, the number of courses studied has increased for 1991. coordinator Stomal Therapy course is conducted at the Princess Alexandra hospital in Brisbane, and Ellen Parle is the co-ordinator. There will be eight students in each course of 6 weeks duration.
Our monthly meetings at the Mater are well attended. This is an opportunity to meet, share
with, and learn from each other.

1991 September Pat Walls

The focus of our activities at this time has been Stomal Therapy Awareness Week. Senator Dr John Herron expressed willingness to support and assist in the promotion of stomal therapy nursing so we took this opportunity and asked him to address us on “The Future of the Federal Government Appliance Scheme” Invitations were sent to the various ostomy associations and stomal therapy nurses to attend a special gathering at the Princess Alexandra Hospital School of Nursing on June 15. Approximately 50 people enjoyed an informative discussion and afternoon tea. Our special thanks to Senator Dr John Herron for his continued support, also to ConvaTec and Coloplast for sponsoring the afternoon tea and lucky door prize and Hollister for sponsoring the musical interlude.
Ellen Parle of Princess Alexandra Hospital certainly “did us proud” as a special guest on Ron
Henshaw’s ABC radio talk-back show on June 12. Ellen spoke about the speciality of stomal therapy nursing.

1992 March Pat walls

Promises to be a busy  but worthwhile year for us in Queensland. Our biggest project is planning for the National Conference in Brisbane in 1993. Although we may lack experience in this area, we are full of enthusiasm and motivation.  Planning will begin also for two seminars again this year. These seminars are well attended and very successful educationally, and a great fund raiser for our branch.
Rosemary Hickstein will retire on the 14th February 1992.  Rosemary was the first stomal therapy nurse appointed to the Royal Children’s Hospital in 1977. Over the past 15 years, Rosemary has given loyal and dedicated service to the hospital in all areas of stomal therapy nursing including spina bifida, bowel training, incontinence, consultation and teaching. Stomal therapy students spend one day with Rosemary during their training, and benefit
greatly from her experience. On behalf of all the Stomal Therapy nurses in Queensland, we wish you well in your retirement, and thank you for teaching so many of us the speciality of paediatric Stomal Therapy.

1992 June Pat Walls

There will be two Stomal Therapy courses at the Princess Alexandra Hospital this year. The demand for places is still very high, and the hospital has introduced a fee of $300.00 per student. Candidates will be accepted from both public and private institutions. The course will continue to be of six weeks duration and will accept ten students in each intake.  Ellen Parle, course co-ordinator, has made some changes this year, one being that each student will visit other hospitals in the metropolitan area for further clinical experience. The hospitals that will participate will be the Royal Brisbane, The Mater, The Wesley and the Holy Spirit Private Hospital.
Stomal therapy nurses are slowly being invited to lecture student nurses in University and Colleges. This is a real breakthrough in Queensland. In 1990 I began to lecture at the Catholic University, then in 1991 Margaret MacKenzie commenced lecturing at the University of Southern Queensland, 1992, Lena Stillman will lecture at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and Cecelia Prout will lecture at the University of Central Queensland, Rockhampton.

1992 December Val Wright

The State Conference committee meetings are frequent and it is all coming  together very well.  Jenny Matthew has the programme well planned and just about finalised. David Dunster the conference manager has done some great deals with the Brisbane Sheraton Hotel for very reasonable accommodation prices.

1993 June Val Wright

All the Queensland Branch Executive have done a sterling job, balancing the books, dealing with the queries and getting the minutes of meetings out to the far flung Queensland members. The executive members remain unchanged apart from the retirement of Shirley Daly from the position of vice president.  We are sad to see Shirley leave and are grateful to her for all the hard works she has put in over the years, hopefully she will continue to come to the meetings whenever she can. Her place will be taken by Cathy Fritz.

1993 September Val Wright

July 24th brought the retirement of Lena Stillman from the Royal Brisbane Hospital, where she set up the first Stomal Therapy Department, originally servicing all three hospitals in the complex. No easy task, when you consider the size of the complex and the steep hills she had to race up and down. When the “Hospital Board” separated into 3 different areas, Lena continued to look after the many patients and their carers at RBH, where she coped with all their counselling and teaching needs, referrals to Community, supplies, (until very recently all the RBH clients were supplied from the hospital) and support when they needed a helping hand.  At the same time she taught nursing staff at all levels (including the STN course students during their visits to RBH), medical students, medical and paramedical staff, she was called on by all the difference ward staff for consultation on wound care, appliance, skin care, ulcer dressings and a multitude of other problems.

1994 September Jenny Matthew

Queensland members continue to meet in Brisbane monthly and, while our membership is spread throughout the state, the meetings are well supported.
Members recognised Stomal Therapy Awareness Week with displays in their hospitals. We
took the opportunity to entertain our friends from the various stoma associations with an afternoon tea held at the Queensland Colostomy Association’s new facility, and members were able to admire the new premises. Barbara Calcott was our guest speaker, she introduced the new video (A Beginning not an End) and talked about how it was made.

1995 September Val Wright

Jenny Matthew has resigned from State Rep and I have volunteered to ‘stop gap’ until
the end of the term.
Ellen Parle has resigned from her position as CNC Stomal Therapy at The Princess Alexandra Hospital. She was also coordinator of the stomal therapy course at PAH so it is a great loss.
Cathy Fritz (CNC Royal Brisbane Hospital) has also resigned to complete her degree

course and Shirley Jones recently graduated from the Stomal Therapy course at the PAH appointed to a position at the RBH. Our meetings at the Mater have been poorly attended during the last few months and we might have to resort to clowns and door prizes if numbers do not increase. We understand that everyone is under pressure to study and to join other groups and distances are against all but those of us living closest to the metropolitan area, but it would be a dreadful waste to let the AASTN’s Queensland branch become extinct.

1996 June Val Wright

The election of the 1996-1998 Queensland branch executive comprises:

  • Chairperson: Brenda Sando 
  • Vice-Chairperson: Pat Walls 
  • Secretary: Shirley Jones 
  • Treasurer: Louise Dufficy
  • State Rep: Val Wright 
  • Education Representatives (unchanged): Cynthia Smyth and Ros Probert 
1996 September Val Wright

We were rather distressed recently to hear of the postponement of this year’s Princess Alexandra Hospital Stomal Therapy nurse training course. Due to financial constraints it appears for a while that we might lose this excellent (and currently the only) Queensland-based course. Now, however, we are quite hopeful that the hospital’s discussion with Griffith University will result in the formation of a new course, run under the auspices of Griffith, at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. It may take the form of external studies or ‘on site’ lectures but either would include a practical component. Clinical competences will have to meet standards approved by the AASTN and PAH.
Some members of the AASTN Queensland executive have been invited to be present at meetings between the interested parties. Since these members include Ros Probert, who has been involved with the PAH course and who is also on the AASTN Education Subcommittee, we feel we will be well-represented. Proposals for a conjoint lecturer and the credit points allocated for subjects appear to be appropriate and we are very appreciative of the fact that the PAH included us during the early stages of planning. Things may have changed by the time this goes to print, but we are very hopeful that the changes will bring positive support for the new course, which is set to begin 1997.

1996 December Val Wright

The proposed new stomal therapy course to be run by Griffith University with the Princess Alexandra Hospital, is expected to be available next year, although finalisation of plans is still in the pipeline at the time of writing. Brenda Sando (Queensland branch Chairperson, CNC. STN at the Wesley Hospital); Cathy Fritz (CNC STN at the RBH); and Ros Probert (CNC STN and previously STN Course Coordinator at the Princess Alexandra Hospital), have all been involved in the planning stages.
We say farewell to Sister Fay McMeniman in December 1996; she will be retiring from the Mater Public Hospital where she has been the stomal therapy nurse since 1975. That makes 21 years of regularly attending the AASTN meetings, arranging accommodation for our seminars and meetings, getting the rooms ready for us and making sure the tea arrived to keep us going. Those of you who know Sister Fay from working with her, seeing her at conferences or talking to her on the phone, will know what a loss this will be to her patients and to the AASTN. We wish her every happiness in her retirement and hope that her wicked sense of humour will continue to see her through all that life holds in store.
The problem of attracting members back to the meetings just will not go away, despite us advertising the educational sessions to be held at the meetings and offering incentives like afternoon tea. In fact, we are still struggling to get enough members for a quorum.

1997 June Val Wright

The year has begun with a good turnout of members and some bright ideas on how to increase interest in the association.  Unfortunately, the stomal therapy course at Griffith University has not met our expectations – not enough registrants had applied to do the course. The commencement date was delayed to allow for late registration, the program was changed without any consultation with some members of the consortium (specifically the Queensland AASTN executive members, who were omitted from discussions about the changes) and our lecturers were given minimal notice of the changes in the required lecture content. As the present arrangements leave inadequate time to complete the course requisites during the university semesters, the clinical aspects of the course appear likely to suffer.

At this stage, we are hoping that one of the other universities might show some interest
in taking up a more appropriate course, one acceptable to the associations Education Sub-
Committee and the WCET as a ‘certified’ training course.

1998 September Val Wright

‘The course’, a regular topic at our meetings, is once again on the agenda. The Wesley Hospital hopes to have a course up and running by next year, with the content being put together right now. It will, of course, go to the AASTN and WCET education committees for ratification before it starts. We are delighted that the NSW College of Nursing distance education course has begun, and are most appreciative of the hard work the education subcommittee has put in on that project. As loyal Queenslanders, work we wish Cynthia Smyth all the best as the new chair of this group.

1998 December Val Wright

Margaret Mackenzie resigned from her stomal therapy position in Toowoomba. Margaret trained at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane in 1976 – the course run by Sue Noller. She has worked as a stomal therapy nurse for 22 years. The highlights of her career, says Margaret, have been the satisfaction of seeing patients rehabilitated back to their original lifestyles. Margaret will be missed by her colleagues and clients throughout the area.

1999 March Val Wright

We are delighted to be able to report that the first ostomy visitor training course has passed the interview stage and should be well on the way to completion by the time this goes to press. The Queensland Cancer Fund has been wonderfully supportive, as have the stoma associations. Metropolitan Queensland branch members must now make every effort to be involved, both in training and using the volunteers. It has taken such a long time to reach this point that we have to make it work well. If the pilot scheme proves successful we hope country areas will also be involved within the next couple of years (due to the tyranny of distance it has been necessary to restrict the scheme to the metropolitan area initially).

1999 December Val Wright

The Queensland course did not get underway this year, despite all the hard work by Brenda Sando and her colleagues at the Wesley Hospital. Now, though, it is all ready to go having been approved by both the AASTN education committee and the WCET, Congratulations to Brenda and all involved; we hope it is ‘on’ for early 2000.
During the last 6 months we have managed to keep our meeting attendance high enough to achieve a quorum on most occasions. The numbers have dropped by one with the retirement of Mary Latimore (a very long standing member), who has finally decided to spend some time doing her own thing, after many years dedicated to nursing.

History of Mary Latimore

Mary Latimore trained at Ipswich Hospital, completing her general training in 1961. Midwifery in Sydney at King George V Hospital followed and she remained in the city until 1973. When she returned to Ipswich she married Ray and settled down to work in the Ipswich Hospital’s accident and emergency department for almost 7 years ( she was nicknamed ‘Go- fer’ for the manner in which she delegated duties!). In 1981 Mary branched out and joined the Blue Nursing Service. During this period of community nursing, she decided she needed greater expertise, to better support some of her patients (those who required more specialised care). It was this that prompted her, in 1985, to do her Stomal Therapy training course, coordinated by Pat Blackley at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Having successfully completed the course she was welcomed back to Ipswich Blue Nursing Service as “Our Stomaltherapist”. In 1991 Mary went to the USA with the Australian/American Nurses Exchange Program. The trip included visits to Washington  DC and South Carolina, with Mary presenting ‘papers’ on her role as a domiciliary nurse to staff at Greenwood University and the Spartanburg Hospital. Highlights of Mary’s career include her trip to Jerusalem for the WCET conference, where her poster presentation was recognised by her peers.

Mary has filled many roles between 1981 and 1997 those of field nurse, supervisor and clinical nurse consultant among them. She also started the stoma support group, which she still attends every 3 months and remains active in. In 1997 Mary left the Blue Nursing Service for the Department of Community Services, as the community liaison nurse for the Ipswich Hospital.

Over all this time Mary has driven many miles to come to Brisbane and attend AASTN branch meetings as often as possible. She has presented some memorable case histories and wonderful slides at our seminar days and we are missing her lively presence already. We wish her a very happy and contented retirement.

Mary Latimore

An Obituary notice was reported in the Journal of Stomal Therapy Australia 2009. It is with sadness that I report the death of Mary Latimore on July 6th after a battle with cancer during the last year of her life. Mary’s clinical judgement was held in high regard and her advice was often sought by her peers. Her wonderful sense of humour endeared her to those fortunate enough to know her.     RIP Mary.

In memory of Mary Latimore, the Queensland branch of AASTN offers a scholarship, awarded annually to assist with educating Stomal Therapy students.

I caught up with Sister Fay McMeniman in November 2015, and over lunch, we had the opportunity to reminisce.  

Sister Fay records:

I’m almost certain that Margaret Bowyer was the first S.T.N. at Toowoomba Base Hospital
We’ve really had some great people along the way. Pat Neilsen from Blue Nurses, Stanthorpe was in charge of Blue Nurses up there & was held in very high regard by the people of the Granite Belt. She was a very hard worker and much liked by the community there. I remember her coming to the Conference in Perth – we were there when Haley’s Comet was very much evident in that part of Australia. I remember her arriving on that Midnight Horror Flight. She probably worked that day, got herself to Brisbane for the flight in time to be there for the beginning of the conference, and I’m sure she would be on the first flight back to be in time for work on her arrival home. She would have been extremely dedicated.
I’ve never forgotten Desley Malone. She was from Charleville, did the course at P.A. and spent some time with me before returning. Shortly after that she was attending the funeral somewhere in the West of someone killed in a plane crash. En route home the plane in which she was travelling crashed & all on board were killed.
Despite all the losses there have been many happy occasions so ‘tis nice to stop & remember!

Jan Evans shared this lovely photo of our pioneer Stomal Therapy nurses 

From L-R: Jan Evans, Lena Stillman, Sue Tyson, Ruth Odell, Sr B Hirshfield RSM Jan, Lena, Sue and Ruth were awarded the first Oncology Nurses Life Members 9th November 2007. The above photo along with others were the founding members of the Oncological Nurses Group

Journal 1988. Words of wisdom from Liz English (Adelaide)

If there is a problem and the leaks are getting bad, Do not get disheartened, or begin to feel quite sad,
Just you ring the plumber and she’ll be there in a blink, To catch the rotten leakage and relieve you of the stink With expertise and deftness, a bag will be slapped on, The drips will be collected and all the odour is gone.
The doctors will be smiling, the staff will think it’s great, The patient will be comfortable; the fears will all abate, The skin will be just perfect, happy all will be and it’s all because of that plumber from Stomal Therapy

In the Journal of Stomal Therapy Australia June 1986,

Heather Hill, President Report for 1985-1996 completed her report with a quote:

Robert F. Kennedy may not have been a stomal therapy nurse but his words are appropriate – “The future does not belong to those who are content with today, Timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment”

In 1992. This poem was written by a patient that I thought you would enjoy.

I’ve had enough, the time has come
To operate upon my bum, Snip the colon, whip it out,
Stretch the bowel and make a spout
Attach a bag to catch the drips

Then back inside and snip, snip, snip
To fabricate a “w” pouch
Guaranteed without a doubt!

Next rid the body of the rectum Throw it out I don’t collect ‘em’ Back to theatre – two months’ time
Connect the plumbing  –  works just fine
Suture up my dear, pink spout Detach the bag and throw it out. I don’t need it any more
My sphincter muscles do that chore!

It hasn’t always been a laugh, And only with supportive staff Have I felt strength to carry on?
When I thought all hope was gone.

In the Journal of Stomal Therapy Australia June 1988,

 Elinor Kyte has written, “History of Stomal Therapy Nursing in Australia including Ostomy Associations and Australian Associations of Stomal Therapy Nurses”. I found her paper very interesting and I would like to conclude my record of the Early History of  Stomal Therapy Nurses in Queensland with a quote from Elinor M. Kyte

“We have an Association of which we should all be justly proud and one to which we should give of our best”.


Pat Walls October 2016

Extracts of Interest: The Journal of Stomal Therapy Australia.  (1988)
Queensland State Reps Reports: The Journal of Stomal Therapy Australia
RSM: Religious Sister of Mercy.