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Moving new series Anzac Girls premieres this weekend on ABCTV

NewsKevin Perry
  Anzac Girls premieres this Sunday on ABC TV  image - supplied

Anzac Girls premieres this Sunday on ABC TV
image - supplied

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Honouring the centenary of the commencement of WW1, ANZAC Girls is a moving new six-part series based on the unique, and rarely told true stories of Australian and New Zealand nurses serving at Gallipoli and the Western Front.

In WW1 over 3,500 young Australian and New Zealand women served as nurses with the two fledgling nations' army services. Nearly 300 were decorated for courage beyond the call of duty. Facing the brutality of war, they were remarkable women, doing extraordinary work, serving amidst bombing raids, poison gas and terrible disease - saving lives and transforming the spirits of the soliders.  But through it all they experienced exceptional friendship, love, success and heartbreak.

Drawing on the book The Other Anzacs as well as from diaries, letters, photographs and historical achievements ANZAC Girls is based on real events and real people - Alice (Georgia Flood), Elsie (Laura Brent), Olive (Anna McGahan), Hilda (Antonia Prebble) and Grace (Caroline Craig).  Like their brothers, fathers, lovers and husbands, these ANZAC Girls are our heroes. But they were also just ordinary girls - our sisters, our daughters, ourselves - looking for adventure, love, fun and friendship. This is their story...

In the first episode, nurses Alice Ross-King, Elsie Cook, Olive Haynes, Hilda Steele and Matron Grace Wilson sign up to do their bit.  With hopes of new adventures, challenges and thoughts of finding love and themselves, they are shipped to the other side of the world to serve their country.

The ANZAC girls arrive in Egypt and soon realise that war is not quite the 'splendid adventure' they initially thought as they deal with convoy after convoy of dead, dying and wounded men from the botched Gallipoli landing.  But while our nurses' world may be dominated by the war, by the army and hospitals, there is room for love, laughter and self-reflection.