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Medical Health Aged Care

UPDATED: Bullwinkel Scholarships honour memory of massacred war nurses

Australian College of Nursing 2 mins read

This is an updated version of our previous media alert, incorporating additional information. Please refer to this version for the most current details. 

The inaugural Australian College of Nursing Foundations’ Bullwinkel Scholars Program will award 22 scholarships to nurse leaders on Friday at a presentation at Duntroon House at the Royal Military College in Canberra.


The ‘Bullwinkel Scholarships’ honour the legacy of Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel and her 21 brave nursing colleagues. They are valued at up to $10,000 each and will contribute to nursing leadership education and professional development in perpetuity.


The ceremony will coincide with the 82nd anniversary of the Bangka Island massacre, which occurred on 16 February 1942. Twenty-one Australian Army nurses were ordered to march into the water; they were machine-gunned from behind. Lt Col Vivian Bullwinkel was the sole survivor. This would come to be known as the worst atrocity in wartime for women of Australia.


The 22 scholarships carry the names of the 21 fallen nurses, plus one for the sole survivor, Lt Col Vivian Bullwinkel whose statue now stands in tribute at the Australian War Memorial.


Twenty-two current practising nurses have been selected from a competitive field to be the inaugural recipients of these scholarships. Each nurse recipient displays characteristics of the nurses massacred on that fatal day. These 22 nurses will be known in the history books of modern nursing as ‘Bullwinkel Scholars’. Three of the 22 recipients are military nurses currently serving.


The Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Ged Kearney MP; Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell AO DSC; and John Bullwinkel, nephew of Lt Col Vivian Bullwinkel, will officiate at the ceremony.


Media are welcome to attend, please RSVP to: Christine Klomp,


ACN Foundation Bullwinkel Scholars Presentation


Time:                  5.30pm AEDT

Date:                  Friday 16 February 2024

Venue:               Duntroon House

                             Royal Military College

                             Parnell Road

                             CAMPBELL ACT


Images to follow event.


For more information:

Jessica Kauffman 0400 433 182



Notes to Editors:

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Foundation is dedicated to ensuring Australian nurses have access to educational, research, advocacy and leadership opportunities that will keep them highly skilled and at the cutting edge of healthcare delivery.


The ACN Foundation is able to support Australian nurses and the profession in achieving the highest level of nursing excellence thanks to the generous support of corporations, individuals, and private Trusts and Foundations.


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