The first woman to practise medicine in Queensland, Lilian Cooper, and her lifetime partner Josephine Bedford, were regular worshippers at St Mary’s Anglican Church, colloquially known as the naval chapel and once linked by stairs down the Kangaroo Point cliffs to the naval stores below.
Within the church, two large gothic stained glass windows and an altar are dedicated to Cooper and her WWI heroics.
Dismissed by English and Australian military authorities because she was female, Cooper signed up with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Service. Bedford went too. While Cooper worked to stabilise casualties just behind the Serbian front, Bedford ferried the injured to safety. Their war efforts earned them the Order of St Sava.
They returned to Brisbane in time to continue their community welfare efforts and fight the Spanish flu epidemic that returned with servicemen.
The Warriors’ Chapel was dedicated in 1950, commemorating armed service and merchant navy personnel who died in both world wars. Navy memorials can be found throughout the grounds, overlooking the Brisbane River.
Disabled access available History & Heritage International Walk Walks