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Sarah Cunynghame (1851–1919)

Mrs. Sarah Cunynghame, widow of the late G. F. Cunynghame, died at her residence, "Mimosa," Harrow-road, Auburn, on Saturday. Born at Redfern, the late Mrs. Cunynghame, (then Nurse Gibson) entered the Sydney Hospital under the late Miss Osborn, who had been selected by Miss Florence Nightingale, at the request of Sir Henry Parkes, to institute the training of Australian nurses. Nurse Gibson was closely identified with St. Paul's Sunday-school, Redfern, where she was associated with Mr. J. S. T. McGowan, for which worthy and kindly citizen and his wife she retained a lifelong friendship and regard. In 1874 an epidemic of erysipelas broke out in Sydney, and it was decided to establish an emergency hospital in the old military barracks, Macquarie-street, Parramatta. Miss Osborn deputed Nurse Gibson to take charge, and after the erysipelas outbreak had been controlled the institution was continued as a general hospital for infectious diseases. In the same year the deceased lady married Mr. G. F. Cunynghame, then dispenser at Sydney Hospital, and the two worked in the Government service until their retirement some few years ago. During the early "eighties" Mrs. Cunynghame, in addition to being superintendent of the Macquarie Street hospital, was acting in the same capacity for Newington. Later in her public career Mrs. Cunynghame was matron superintendent of the Shaftesbury Reformatory for Girls, matron of the Boys' Carpentarian Reformatory, Brush Farm, and inspector of State children. She retired into private life at Westmead, subsequently removing to Auburn when her sons entered business. Her husband predeceased her twelve months ago. The deceased lady had several notable conflicts while in the public service, and showed herself to be possessed of unquenchable courage in her conduct of them. Privately, she was marked by her devotion to and self-sacrifice for her family. Her sons are Messrs. Aubrey, Robert and Claude Cunynghame, of Auburn, and Sidney Cunynghame, of Lidcombe.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Cunynghame, Sarah (1851–1919)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Gibson, Sarah

Redfern, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


25 January, 1919 (aged ~ 68)
Auburn, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.