MEDIA ALERT - Bullwinkel Scholarships honour memory of massacred war nurses

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, Glenn Keys AO Founder and Executive Chairman Aspen Medical 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
Duntroon House
Royal Military College
Parnell Road

Images to follow event.