They call themselves "the sisterhood" and many of these women have shared 60 years of life experience together after meeting as teenage nursing trainees.
Sixty years ago this week the class of April 1959 - a group of 17-year-old women and one man - began their nursing training at Ballarat Base Hospital under the care of tutor Sister Shirley Ogden, who was present at the group's diamond anniversary celebration this week.
About six of the group have continued to catch up regularly over the years, but about a dozen gathered at Craigs Hotel from as far afield as Queensland to reminisce about their time in the nurse's home, careers, family and more.
"It was like a family living in the Nurses' Home. They became our closest and best friends throughout life. When we lived in, no one was very rich and nurses wages were so low so no one had much money at all," said Mary O'Flaherty.
"Most of us went to each others weddings and knew boyfriends who later became husbands."
Nursing training in the 1960s was very different, and it was compulsory to live in at the Nurses' Home.
The trainees were under the care of a tutor and the watchful eye of the charge sister on duty at the home's reception desk which had a strict curfew of 10pm or 11.30pm if they had a late pass - and no male friends were allowed inside.
Training was military style, with discipline and hierarchy. Nurses had to stand aside and allow anyone senior to them, including trainees only three months their senior, to enter or exit rooms before them.
The uniforms was a grey/purple striped dress and a nurse had to attach the white starched collar and cuffs. A starched white apron and belt were worn over the dress, and caps distinguished levels of seniority and which year students were in.
When they passed final exams the trainees were finally allowed to wear the hallmark white starched veil and attained the title of Sister.
Ms O'Flaherty said most of the women married when they were 21 or 22 and left nursing, but a few stayed on as midwives or continued nursing throughout their careers.
"Most of us left and got married fairly young back then. Some of us worked out at Creswick for a while, a few went on and did midwifery and a couple stayed on nursing but the majority stopped," she said. Many of the group moved on from Ballarat, relocating to Queensland, Melbourne, and the Bellarine Peninsula.
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"We had at our celebration Shirley Ogden who had been our tutor sister when we first arrived as 17-year-olds. She's almost 90 but she's sprightly and we were the first group that she ever taught as tutor sister," Ms O'Flaherty said.
"There were plenty of restrictions on us back then. We had to be in at 10pm or 11.30pm with a late pass but back 60 years ago we thought that was okay whereas nowdays I couldn't imagine students being told they had to be in at 10pm!"
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