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Wilhelmina Mary Lowson (1895–1987)

by Joyce Slater

Mary Lowson, one of a group of four Australian nurses who served with the Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War, died on March 16 at the age of 92.

Mary sailed from Sydney in 1936 to give medical aid to the newly-elected Spanish republican government and worked as a courier taking medical supplies and messages across Spain to the front line.

She returned to Australia during the war for a national tour to tell the Australian people about the heroic struggle of the Spanish people against the fascists. The tour raised thousands of pounds for the republican cause.

Bill Irwin, a close friend of Mary and founder of the Spanish Relief Committee in Perth, said of Mary: "She had a very strong character, but at the same time was never aggressive.

"She was part of the International Brigade and believed she was fighting against the rising tide of fascism, which culminated in Hitler and World War Two. The women who went to Spain were not offered money, honors or pensions. Theirs was a very idealistic gesture to the Spanish people. Only recently did Mary receive a medal from the Spanish government."

Another heroic woman who served as a nurse in Spain is May Pennefather who is active in the WA Pensioners Action Group in Defence of the Living Standards of Pensioners and the Poor.

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Citation details

Joyce Slater, 'Lowson, Wilhelmina Mary (1895–1987)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


11 April, 1895
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


16 March, 1987 (aged 91)
Shenton Park, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

mesenteric artery occlusion

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