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Trade Union entry Trained Nurses Guild (1922 - 1949)

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    Chart 13: Trade Unions - Health

Trade Union (Federal)
Reference No


Since the beginning of the twentieth century there had existed a number of organisations that performed the task of protecting the interests of nurses and the nursing profession. More specifically, there had also been varous attempts made to look after the industrial aims of nurses. However, none championed the cause with such trade union-like focus until the Trained Nurses' Guild was formed in 1921-22. The Trained Nurses' Guild immidiately sought registration in the Arbitration Court and an Award for nurses. This was unsuccessful and the Guild disbanded in 1922. The Guild remained, however, a registered trade union until 1949.

In 1949 the Australian Nursing Federation [ANF], Federal Branch also ventured into the industrial arena and revived the Trained Nurses Guild, soon to become the Australian United Nurses' Association [AUNA] with both Federal and State branches.

The AUNA and the Royal Victorian College of Nurses Employees' Association amalgamated in 1953 to form the Australian Nursing Federation/Employees Section [ANF/ES]. Around 1971 the ANF/ES began to go by the name of the Australian Nursing Federation [ANF], still representing the industrial aims of nurses.

In October 1975 the Royal Victorian College of Nurses amalgamated with the Royal Australian Nursing Federation, which had previously been the RANF Employees' Section or the body which represented the industrial aims of nurses. They now formed the new Royal Australian Nursing Federation. The Royal prefix was dropped in the 1980s.


 1922 - 1949 Trained Nurses Guild
       1949 - 1953 Australian United Nurses Association
             1953 - 1971 Australian Nursing Federation Employees Section
                   1971 Australian Nursing Federation (ii)
                         1971 - 1988 Royal Australian Nursing Federation (ii)
                               1988 - Australian Nursing Federation (iii)

Published resources


  • Colson, I., More than just the Money: 100 Years of the Victorian Nurses' Union, Prowling Tiger Press, Melbourne, 2001. Details
  • Finnie, Fleur and Mitchell, Christine, Don't stand on the grass: Memoirs of early nursing in Melbourne, Vista Publications, Melbourne, 1996, 143 pp. Details
  • Strachan, G., Labour of Love: The History of the Nurses' Association in Queensland 1860-1950, Allen and Unwin, St. Leonards, New South Wales, 1996, 291 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Law, Glenda, 'I have never liked trade unionism: the Development of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation, Queensland Branch 1904-45', in Windschuttle, Elizabeth (ed.), Women, Class and History : Feminist Perspectives on Australia, 1788-1978, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Sydney, 1980, pp. 192-215. Details

Online Resources

Digital resources

Chart 13: Trade Unions - Health


Bruce A. Smith