Unveiling and Dedication of 'Walking with Greta'

Honouring Sister Greta Towner: A Monument to Women's Service in the Australian Military

In a poignant tribute to Sister Greta Towner's exceptional service during World War I, the RSL Blackall Sub Branch and Blackall community proudly unveils a bronze statue immortalising her contributions as an Army nurse. Once recognised merely on the Blackall State School's honour roll, Sister Towner's legacy now stands as a powerful reminder of the vital role women play in serving our nation.

Born in 1891, Sister Greta Towner devoted herself to the military cause from 1915 onwards, navigating the challenging terrain of World War I. Described in a newspaper clipping as an Anzac nurse hailing from a "distinguished family of soldiers," Sister Towner's honourable record has earned her a place among the war heroes.

The statue, unveiled on November 10, 2023, in Blackall's Memorial Park, is strategically placed alongside her older brother, Major Edgar Towner, an Australian recipient of the prestigious Victoria Cross. Sister Towner's service, marked by her dedication on the Greek island of Lemnos, near Gallipoli, aboard hospital ships, and in France, is now immortalised in this touching display of familial valour.

Terri-Ann Eden-Jones, President of RSL Blackall sub-branch, emphasises the significance of this tribute, highlighting that it's the first time brother and sister war heroes are honoured side by side. The project not only pays homage to Sister Towner's remarkable service but also serves as a beacon promoting the invaluable contributions of women in the military.

Researched by a Blackall State School Head of Department, Mrs Avril Fazel, along with students, and the local historical society, Sister Towner's story captured the hearts of the RSL Blackall sub-branch, who embraced the initiative wholeheartedly. Securing a grant from the Queensland Gambling Benefit Fund, the sub-branch supported the commissioning of the sculpture, ensuring that Sister Towner's legacy is preserved for generations to come.

Lieutenant Colonel Cameron McKay, Commanding Officer of the 31st/42nd Battalion, The Royal Queensland Regiment, reflects on the changing landscape of the Australian Defence Force since Sister Towner's era. While acknowledging the strides made in gender equality within the military, he hopes that this memorial will serve as an inspiration for the next generation, showcasing the remarkable careers women continue to forge in the armed forces. Sister Greta Towner's statue stands not just as a representation of the past but as a symbol of empowerment, resilience, and the enduring spirit of those who serve.

Army Nurse Statue Unveiled in Blackall | RSL Queensland

The Governor of Queensland's Speech

The Governor played a significant official role in both the ceremonial and community events across the Unveiling of 'Walking with Greta' weekend, speaking at both, the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony and the Sister Greta Norman Towner Memorial Gala dinner. these speeches are available below via the Government House Queensland searchable database.

Please click the button to view.

The Governor of Queensland

Barcoo Independent

Blackall's local newspaper, the Barcoo Independent, was proud to feature comprehensive coverage of the recent unveiling of the "Walking with Greta' statue. The accompanying PDF version of the weekly newspaper, accessible through the following link, vividly captures the solemnity of the occasion, preserving the essence of this moment for generations to come.

Barcoo Independent

Gallery of Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony