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This memorial tree is a Callistemon (red bottlebrush). It is planted in the Inverell Returned Servicemen's Memorial (R.S.M.) Club Garden of Remembrance. A small plaque bearing the dedication to Sister Kathleen Margaret Neuss is positioned at the base of the tree.
Neuss was born in Ballarat, Victoria on 16 October 1911. She attended Inverell High School and worked at the Inverell Hospital. A resident of Cremorne in Sydney, she enlisted in the Australian Army on 17 December 1940. On 20 January 1941, The Inverell Times reported she was to be given a farewell in the Oakwood Hall that evening.
On 28 September the following year, the Times published the below announcement:
Sister K. M. Neuss is officially declared missing in a recent casualty list. The last time her parents heard from her she was in Malaya; the letter was dated February 15, just before the conquest by the Japanese.
A member of the 10th Australian General Hospital and prisoner of war, she died on 16 February 1942 when shot by the Japanese. Neuss was one of 22 Australian nurses aboard the ship Vyner Brook when it was sunk by the Japanese. The nurses were driven into the sea and shot, and only Sister Bullwinkel survived.
Please note, her posting is listed as the 12th Australian General Hospital on the plaque.
Lt. Kathleen Margaret
Shot by the Japanese