Nursing love for 60+ years
SHIRLEY Shilvock, nee Percival, has spent her life giving to people; dedicated to a nursing career which included almost 30 years in Maryborough Blue Nurses.
Her career also included initial training in Gympie, maternity training in Melbourne and being a Matron at Springsure Hospital.
The young nurse started in Springsure more than 60 years ago.
"I was a young chick when I went there and returned as an old girl," Shirley said.
"After completing my midwifery training in Melbourne I had applied for positions in Melbourne and intended to stay.
"I liked Melbourne very much.
"I received a telegram from my brother Cliff who was a chemist in Springsure saying 'Come immediately, position awaiting you."
That telegram changed Shirley's mind.
The former nurse remembers the old hospital and the patients' charts that were attached to the bottom rail.
"Their stories where all sad but one in particular brought tears to my eyes.
"In January 1926 a man aged 59 William Barrow walked from Brisbane to Cairns and back to Springsure looking for work.
"He had prickles from prickly pears embedded in his skin - he was hospitalised and prickles removed. He died a week later from septicaemia."
After marrying and starting a family, Shirley found herself out of work.
"Once you were married you weren't employed any more - so they lost a lot of good nurses because they never employed them once they were married.
"I had four girls and then one of the ladies I knew worked with the Blue Nurses.
"Her daughter used to do speech and drama as my girls did; and she said we have trouble getting staff, would you be prepared to come and work with the Blue Nurses."
That started a legacy of nearly 30 years with the group
"I really enjoyed it - I loved it - I didn't want to leave but I thought if I don't leave I won't have time to do anything else.
"I worked until I was 68."
Shirley said the staff were just amazing.
"They were a wonderful group I worked with and we still go out to morning teas once a month.
"They were just amazing and they encouraged me."
During her working years Shirley started to collect dolls and now houses a huge collection in her Doll and Toy Museum.
"There's lot of interesting things in here and when I look at it I get quite amazed myself at times that I have done this."
Shirley said the lesson from life is determination is a wonderful thing - if it is used in the right avenues.
"If I hadn't of been determined I would have never got where I am today; not a chance.
"I have been fortunate in life that I haven't had a lot of illness and I can continue on as I am - God willing it will continue."