The Milton Ulladulla Historical Society (MUHS) recently lost one of its highly-valued Life Members with the passing of Joanne Ewin on 24 January 2018, a well-known and respected member of the Milton-Ulladulla community and a past secretary of MUHS.
Gwenda Porter arrived in Milton by bus in 1940 and was said to have told the bus driver that she would be back on it the next day after seeing how small the town and hospital were. Instead, she stayed on as Matron at Milton Ulladulla Hospital for the next 32 years, retiring in 1972 and then continuing to live in the district until her death.
Milton’s 19th century prosperity was partly built on the expanding dairy industry, established by pioneers like William Wilford on the rich volcanic monzonite soil that surrounds the town.
Sickness was the true scourge of the pioneers, with diphtheria, convulsions, scarlet fever and measles often causing the deaths of young children. Many women also died from complications of childbirth as there were no doctors. When Sarah Claydon arrived in Milton-Ulladulla in 1851, she began to care for those in her community who needed her most.
As a young Australian soldier lay dying, mortally wounded by shrapnel during the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign, Sister Kitty Porter stayed after her regular nursing shift on the hospital ship to care for and comfort him. Those “terrible days” early on in Australia’s participation in World War 1 marked the beginning of Kitty Porter’s four years of selfless war service in Egypt and France.