More than a century since her untimely passing, Sister Kitty Porter's extraordinary story is coming to life in a new documentary.
Angels of the Battlefield is set to make its local premiere at the Milton Theatre this July, in Sr Porter's home town.
The film - which features Sr Porter and also Sr Nellie Morrice - has been produced by TAFE NSW Film and TV students. It features historian Tom Keneally and narration by ABC's Jane Caro.
It is the first documentary to tell the personal stories of both nurses, who made significant contributions to their field during World War I.
The Sisters each received the Royal Red Cross (Second Class) for their service.
Yet they, along with some 3,000 colleagues in the Australian Army Nursing Corps, faced immense challenges during their careers.
Documentary producer Susan Partidon-Gordon said Angels of the Battlefield was a first-of-its-kind documentary, putting the spotlight on the often-overlooked young women of the war effort.
In the film, family secrets are uncovered, historical errors are corrected, stories of heroism and tragedy are revealed and precious memorabilia is re-discovered through interviews with relatives, archivists and historians.
The discoveries are illustrated by diaries, unseen archives, artefacts and dramatic re-enactments, which bring the Sisters wartime experiences to life.
"What emerged from the stories of Kitty and Nellie is that the ANZAC nurses had to fight two battles," Ms Partidon-Gordon said.
"One was the physical and emotional hardships they faced in dealing with overwhelming numbers of badly wounded men often in poorly equipped field hospitals.
"The other was with the officer class who felt that the battlefield was no place for a woman.
"They preferred untrained male orderlies with no concept of hygiene or organisational skills to properly run a field hospital.
"We made this film because we don't consider that the nurses weren't given their due during the war or after it - the right to march, healthcare and pensions only coming decades after their service."
Sister Katherine 'Kitty' Porter, of Milton, first served in Egypt, before going on to serve on the hospital trains of France.
During her service, Sr Porter was mentioned by name in two dispatches from a General Haig - the second for evacuating a field hospital under fire.
After Armistice, she continued to nurse soldiers afflicted with the Spanish Flu. Ultimately she too succumbed to the disease just six weeks after returning home to Australia.
Sr Porter never personally received her Royal Red Cross, but she was the only woman at the time to receive a full military funeral.
For the TAFE students who made the film, and their teacher Nick Bleszynski, screening the film in Milton has been a long time coming.
The project was initially going to be a short film, but it became much bigger as the production team uncovered more of the Sisters' personal stories.
Mr Bleszynski said producing the documentary took the team on a journey of discovery, and hoped it would be appreciated by the Milton community.
"Producing a film of this length and quality was no easy task on a very small budget and the release has been hampered by COVID", he said.
"However, finally bringing Kitty's story to her home town will be immensely satisfying.
"Her story unfolded in a most unexpected way and touched all of us. The community should be very proud."
Angels of the Battlefield will debut at Milton Theatre on Saturday, July 16.
Tickets are free and available online via Milton Theatre.
Alternatively, seats can be purchased from the box office on opening day, for a gold coin donation (pending seat availability).
Angels of the Battlefield was made with assistance from the Department of Veteran's Affairs and the NSW Government.
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