First royal honour for New Zealand woman

19 April 1884

Annie Crisp (back row, second from left) at Auckland Hospital, (Archives New Zealand, YCAS 14094 2b)

The Royal Red Cross was awarded to Miss Alice Crisp, matron of Auckland Hospital, in a ceremony at Government House, Auckland.

Established the previous year by Queen Victoria to recognise ‘exceptional services in military nursing’, the decoration was conferred exclusively on women until 1976. Crisp had served with distinction in the Zulu and Anglo-Egyptian Wars, for which she had been awarded the Egyptian medal and the Khedive’s Star.

In making the presentation on behalf of the Queen, Governor Jervois declared that the people of not only Auckland but the whole country were lucky to have ‘amongst them one like Miss Crisp as superintendent of nurses of one of their hospitals’. His words were met with cheers.

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