Nurses Uniform of Sister Camillus Jackson

Contributed by: Institute of Sisters of Mercy Australia and Papua New Guinea

Sr Camillus Jacson Nurses Uniform with Jacket Sr Camillus Jackson Nurses Uniform Front View Sr Camillus Jackson Nurses Jacket Sr Camillus Jackson Nurses Uniform Back View Sr Camillus Jackson Nurses Uniform Shoulder Detail Sr Camillus Jackson removable collar and belt.
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Object information

Significance statement

This carer uniform is unique as it was designed and made by the wearer Sister Camillus Jackson [1922-2007].

The uniform is important in interpreting the life and times of Sister Camillus, her contribution to her faith and caring for the elderly during a time of great change in  the church.  The uniform which superceeded the nun's habit, also assists the interpretation of women's religious role in the wider community.

She was born Helen Annette Jackson in Leederville and spent all her a life in Western Australia. She entered the Sisters of Mercy, West Perth in 1940. Her early career was teaching piano and singing but in 1969 at the age of 47 she began her journey towards the nursing profession with courses with St John's Ambulance. In 1974 she graduated as a registered nurse having received prizes in her studies. She was appointed as Care Manager at Mercyville Aged Care facility which she helped plan and set up. In 1984 Sister Camillus was transferred to Villa Maria, a larger facility where she wore the uniform with pride.

This uniform is evidence of Sister Camillius' committment to her nursing and care of the elderly in the Sisters of Mercy aged care facilities. She made it for her combined role as a Sister of Mercy and registered nurse. The uniform was donated to the archives upon her death.

This uniform is an example of an everyday dress style made from a shop bought pattern by someone who until that time had worn the offical habit of the congregation.


Author: Annie Q. Medley - Cultural Collections Curator, 17th April 2014.


This nursing outfit, made by Sr Camillus, comprises white knee length princess line dress with detachable collar, long sleeves with cuff and belt. The dress has shoulder tabs with St John's Ambulance insignia. "V" shaped patch pockets are incorporated into the centre front side seams. These have a mock flap with button and uncut machine made buttonhole, The dress has a centre back zip and hook and eye closure to the inside of the neck edge are five male pop fasteners. The sleeves are set in with cuffs at the wrist. The cuffs have a button and buttonhole closure. The belt is a band, square at one end and"V"shaped at the other. It has two machine made buttonholes, one uncut. One button is handstitched over the uncut buttonhole, the other stitched to use. A safety pin is in position to use as a secondary fastening.The detached collar is a shirt collar pattern with points, worn back to front. It has five female pop fasteners equidistant hand stitched to the neck edge.

The waist length jacket is made of fine black wool twill, with a red nylon lining. The neckine is plain with a metal hook and eye closure.

The set in sleeves are wrist length with no cuff. St John's Ambulance insignia is present on the shoulder tabs.

History and Provenance

  1. Place of origin:

    Perth, Western Australia, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    Sister Camillius Jackson RSM

  3. Worn by:

    Sister Camillius Jackson RSM

  4. Occasion(s):

    Working as Care Manager at Aged Care Facilities

  5. Place:

    Mercyville Craige Western Australia

    Villa Maria Lesmurdie Western Australia

  6. Designed by:

    Sister Camillius Jackson RSM

  7. Made by:

    Sister Camillius Jackson RSM

  8. Made for:

    Sister Camillius Jackson RSM

Trimmings / Decoration

St John's Ambulance Insignia

All plastic buttons have a metal shank

Cast SJA metal badges

Fabric badges on chest and shoulder tabs

metal bar, painted red

Fibre / Weave

The dress and belt is a plain weave poly cotton. The detachable collar is a linen look, white acrylic fibre. Shoulder tabs are grey cotton. The jacket is a fine black wool twill, with a red nylon lining.

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


This outfit was made by Sister Camillus. The dress was stitched by machine with zig zag seam finishes, the zip was machine stitched, machine worked buttonholes. The dress, cuffs and neck was hemmed by hand, and the buttons attached by hand.

The jacket was stitched by machine, with machine stitched buttonholes and hand stitched buttons.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other


The dress and jacket were cut on the straight, and the detachable collar cut on the bias.

  1. Bias
  2. Straight


The dress has a centre back metal zip closure, finished with a metal hook and hand worked eye at the neck.

The detached collar has five hand stitched metal pop fasteners equally spaced. The female side is attached to the collar and the male to the neck of the dress.

 Plastic buttons are all hand stitched into position on the cuffs of the dress and the shoulder tabs on dress and jacket.

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

No interfacing.


belt dress jacket
Neck 443 mm 445 mm
Chest 950 mm 1015 mm
Waist 840 mm 1050 mm
Hip 1020 mm
Cuff 220 mm 255 mm
Hem circumference 1380 mm
Front neck to hem 1010 mm 422 mm
Front waist to hem 640 mm
Back neck to hem 1055 mm 480 mm
Back waist to hem 650 mm
Sleeve length 595 mm 570 mm
Neck to sleeve head 120 mm 120 mm
Cross back 380 mm 390 mm
Underarm to underarm 470 mm 480 mm
Convert to inches

Belt 960mm x 45mm

Collar Neck Edge 310mm

Dress Themes

After a life in religion as firstly a music teacher, then a nurse, Sister Camillus became a carer at a retirement home, called Villa Maria. She designed this outfit to establish herself as both a nun and a nurse.



  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor


  1. Blood stains
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