Our Lady's Nurses
For the poor
1913 - 2013

Loading the cars for a day’s work ‘on the district’, circa 1950.


In 1953, the Society of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor was recognised as a religious order. In 1956, a ministry was established in New Farm, Brisbane. Six years later, a third ministry was established in Merewether, Newcastle.

By the mid-1950s, the sisters had a small fleet of cars to enable them to distribute food, clothes and other necessities to their patients. In the early days, the sisters would take public transport and walk to the homes of their patients.

At one stage, its community boasted almost 40 religious sisters and novices, all trained or training as registered nurses working throughout Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong.

Today, the mission of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor remains as important as ever. Assisted by the generosity of their benefactors and volunteers, the Sisters continue to assist the sick poor in Sydney, Newcastle and Macquarie Fields.

The Sisters’ mission for the poor and disadvantaged in the local government areas of Sydney, Randwick and Leichhardt is conducted by an organisation called the Brown Nurses.

Based at Glebe, a small team of registered nurses minister in the tradition of the Sisters and provide nursing care, personal and domestic support and advocacy for health and welfare services. In establishing their presence there, the Sisters were eager to ensure that their ministry would continue into the future.

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