Sunday, 26 November 2017

Diggers Bistro at Comfort Inn, Anzac Highway, Glenelg

The 1st Australian Veterans Over 70s Cricket Championships was held in Adelaide from 4 - 9 November 2017.

Many members of Victorian teams stayed at the Comfort Inn on Anzac Highway, Glenelg. The motel is within easy walking distance to the shops and Glenelg Beach.
The Diggers Bistro, at the motel, keeps with the Anzac theme with stencils depicting scenes from the First World War on the windows.
Inside are war related images such as this coloured glass depiction of men on horseback. This is one of a pair of coloured glass images hanging on the back wall of the restaurant.
One of the walls has a pair of framed prints including this one of the cliffs at Anzac Cove.
A collection of Anzac biscuit tins and Anzac memorabilia is displayed on a cabinet.
Most of our evening meals were at the motel.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Remembrance Day 2017

The Remembrance Day display at Nunawading Library this year features a section commemorating the Vietnam War, 1962-1973.
Another window remembers the sacrifices made by soldiers on the Kokoda Track seventy-five years ago.
A third window commemorates the battles in France one hundred years ago.
 LEST WE FORGET

Photos by Shauna McEwan

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

London remembers

Bronze relief created by Paul Day depicting King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visiting Londoners bombed out during the Second World War. The relief is on a wall in The Mall in London next to a statue of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. It was unveiled in February 2009.
The King and Queen had refused to leave London during The Blitz. The relif shows another aspect of the war in London.

London Remembers website 

Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain monument in London on the Victoria Embankment near the River Thames was unveiled by Prince Charles on 18 September 2005. The monument was devised by the Battle of Britain Historical Society. Paul Day was the sculptor.
The monument commemorates all those who took part in the battle - the airmen and the civilians.
'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few' - Winston Churchill.
For more detailed information about, and description of, this monument see The Battle of Britain London Monument website.

Monday, 29 May 2017

London air-raids 1917

This plaque is found along the banks of the Thames River in London.
The Sphinx on the banks of the Thames River was presented to England by Egypt in 1819 as a memorial to Lord Nelson and Sir Ralph Abercromby and the battles against Napoleon in Egypt, particularly in 1798. The sphinx was one of the landmarks slightly damaged during the bombing of London. However many buildings were destroyed in the air-raids and people killed.

Websites
1914-1918 Online - International Encyclopedia of the First World War - Bombing of London
History in the Headlines - London's World War / Zeppelin Terror
Imperial War Museum - Air raids that shook London in the First World War

Shoes of the Danube

In memory of the victims shot into the Danube in 1944-45
On the banks of the Danube River in Budapest is a memorial to the people who were shot on the banks of the river towards the end of World War II.
When we visited Budapest in July 2011 there was an exhibiton entitled The Stones of the Embankment which included this panel. The wording on the panel read:
In the darkest period of our history the banks of the Danube turned into the site of mass killings. The members of the Arrow Cross Party (the Hungarian Nazis) shot hundreds of people and dropped them in the Danube. Their memory is preserved by sixty pairs of iron shoes on the Danube River bank, a work by Gyula Pauer.
It is a moving memorial.

Website
Visit Budapest - Shoes of the Danube

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Remarkable women of Whitehorse and Manningham

Whitehorse Manningham Libraries celebrated International Women's Day, 8 March 2017, with the launch of a series of postcards celebrating the lives of eight remarkable women from the two municipalities. The postcards were illustrated by Edwina Marion and the text compiled by Lara McKinley (Community Stories Project Officer).

The women chosen were Jane Serpell (pioneer fruit grower), Annie Boorat (Wurundjeri woman), Elizabeth Burchill (nurse and author), Lexie Goyder (architect), Ivy Weber (politician), Wilhelmina Schwerkolt (German orchardist) and Janet Muir Gaff (Nurse and adventurer).
Postcard - Janet Gaff (artist, Edwina Marion)
The preliminary research that I undertook in January to locate Janet's story formed the basis for more detailed research required to write the second assignment for the Families at War unit.

Janet's name was included on the Shire of Nunawading honour board now displayed in the foyer of the Box Hill Town Hall. In 2017 Janet was commemorated again in this set of post cards.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Janet Muir Gaff and World War I - Essay

The unit Families at War for the Diploma of Family History, University of Tasmania, required a biographical essay to be written about a soldier or nurse who served during World War I. The difficult part was compressing research into 1,200 words with 10% leeway.

I chose to write about Janet Muir Gaff, a nurse with the Sea Transport Service, whose name is listed on the Shire of Nunawading Honour Board. This post contains a slightly modified version of the essay.

Posts with more detailed information on a range of topics relating to research for this essay can also be found in this blog. - Link to Janet Gaff articles. Links to some of the also sections appear in the essay.



World War I saw more than 2,286 members of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) serving overseas.[i]  Think of First World War nurses and most people justifiably think of nurses working near the battle fronts but nurses also tended Australian soldiers on ships travelling from and to Australia. Janet Muir Gaff was one of 112 AANS nurses who served in the Sea Transport Sections (STS).[ii]  STS nurses played an important role managing the health of soldiers aboard Australian troop ships as well as working in Australian military hospitals in England and Australia. The important work of nurses like Janet should also be recognised.

Janet Muir Steel was born in Glasgow on 21 July 1860.[iii]  At the age of eighteen Janet married Daniel Robb Gaff, a timber merchant.[iv] In 1883 their son was born.[v] Six years later family life changed for Janet when her husband left Scotland to live in San Francisco.[vi]

Janet trained as a nurse working at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.[vii] In 1891 Janet undertook her first long distance ship voyage when the Steel family migrated to Australia to live in Blackburn, Victoria.[viii]

Janet was not afraid of new experiences and challenges so this nurse from Glasgow continued her nursing career in country Victoria, initially at two hospitals in Warracknabeal and then at Willaura.[ix] Working in small hospitals with basic equipment and limited medical supplies no doubt proved useful when nursing with the STS.

From the beginning of the war Janet made financial donations to war related funds.[x] She also wrote letters to the newspapers expressing her concern about the welfare of soldiers during Europe’s winter.[xi]  But Janet wanted to be actively involved in the war effort so she joined the AANS on 11 August 1915.[xii]
 
For the next twelve months Janet worked at the No. 5 Australian General Hospital (AGH) in St Kilda Road.[xiii] As well as treating patients this hospital became a training centre providing AANS nurses with experience in treating war injuries. 

On 2 September 1916 Janet joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) as a nurse in the Australian Medical Corps (AMC) No. 4 STS.[xiv] AIF Standing Orders stated:
 A candidate for appointment in Australian Army Nursing Service must have at least three years training in medical and surgical nursing in a duly recognised hospital, and must be either single or a widow, and between the ages of 20 and 45 years.[xv]

Janet certainly had the required nursing experience but she was married and older than 45. Occasionally the age restriction was relaxed so Janet gave her age as 50 years, although she was 56.[xvi] Not having seen her husband for twenty-seven years Janet also declared that she was a widow.

A major factor for Janet’s selection in the STS was probably her experience of long sea voyages, including a twelve month around the world holiday in 1910-1911 plus her original trip to Australia.[xvii] During her war service Janet made the return journey between Australia and England three times.[xviii]

After May 1916 the shipping route between Australia and England was via South Africa to avoid submarines in the Mediterranean Sea.[xix] The HMAT Euripides left Melbourne for England via Fremantle and Durban on 11 September 1916.[xx] Janet was one of three staff nurses aboard with two sisters, an acting-matron and 2,200 soldiers.[xxi] The Euripides sailed in a convoy of ten ships and the crew constantly watched for sightings of enemy ships and submarines. In a letter to her sister Janet stated, “I spent my life dodging submarines”.[xxii]

Staff Nurse Gaff soon learned that nursing at sea was different from nursing on land. Sea sickness was endued by both soldiers and staff. The area where the nurses worked was cramped with poor ventilation. Loose objects could not be left on benches making simple tasks challenging in good weather and almost impossible in rough weather. As well as performing general nursing duties, nurses trained orderlies. Learning ship routines such as life-boat drill was essential and nurses also learned how to work in a military environment.[xxiii]

During the voyage nurses inoculated soldiers against typhoid. Small outbreaks of measles or mumps required infected patients to be isolated as it was essential to limit the spread of infectious diseases.[xxiv] Other diseases sometimes encountered on the ships were pneumonia and cerebrospinal fever.[xxv] On this voyage soldiers were confined to the ship at Freemantle as two soldiers with meningitis had to leave the ship at this port.[xxvi]

As there were only three Australian hospital ships, troop ships were refitted to accommodate the needs of the injured soldiers for the trip to Australia. Mobile soldiers who could look after themselves slept in hammocks but double tiered berths were required for the use of amputees and others needing special nursing care. Sections were also provided for patients with infectious diseases. Deck space was provided for the use of patients and regulations stipulated that there must be adequate ventilation below the decks.[xxvii]

When the Euripides arrived in England on 26 October, Janet was sent to nurse at Southall, the No. 2 Australian Auxiliary Hospital (AAH) which treated amputees. Two weeks later Janet boarded HMAT Wiltshire to return to Australia with injured patients.[xxviii] Hospital staff used invalid boat rolls to select patients returning home on the next ship. Sometimes temporary nursing staff assisted the STS nurses on the voyage.

Between voyages STS staff worked at Australian hospitals in England.[xxix] For Janet this included working for short periods at No. 2 AAH at Southall, No. 3 AAH at Dartford plus the St Alban’s and Southwell nurses’ hospitals. In Australia Janet worked at the No. 5 AGH until returning to England.[xxx]

1918, however, provided a different routine as Janet spent the year nursing at No 3AAH Dartford, Kent, a hospital that specialised with mental illness patients. As a nurse at the AAH at Southall, Janet encountered patients with horrific physical injuries.[xxxi] At Dartford the patients were treated for conditions relating to war trauma. Therefore as well as providing medical services a major role of the hospital was to provide activities and entertainments including concerts, film nights and athletics carnivals to aid patient recovery.[xxxii] But the war was never far away with air-raid warnings some nights.[xxxiii] The influenza epidemic also affected patients and staff in the hospital.[xxxiv]

When in England, Janet also had free time to explore parts of the country. In 1918 Janet and Matron Pocock undertook daytrips to Winchester in May, Seven Oaks and Canterbury in June and Windsor Castle in October.[xxxv]

On 12 December 1918 Janet boarded the Nestor arriving in Melbourne on 1 February 1919. She then worked at No. 5 AGH until her discharge from the Army on 13 March. Janet received the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal for her service during the war.[xxxvi]

Janet returned to Blackburn to live with her sisters however her adventures continued during her retirement. In May 1922 she travelled to Rhodesia to see the Victoria Falls before proceeding to England, Italy, Greece and Egypt.[xxxvii] In 1925 Janet travelled around the world exploring parts of Africa, Europe, South America and the United States.[xxxviii]

Janet Muir Gaff died at Box Hill on 7 September 1940 and was buried at Box Hill Cemetery.[xxxix]

The Shire of Nunawading Honour Board lists 565 names including Janet’s name.[xl]

Janet did not have to join the AANS. Disguising her age and marital status indicates it was important to her to support the Australian war effort overseas and also support her homeland. “Our boys are doing it, so it’s up to us to do it also” was a comment made when told that she was brave.[xli] Like other STS nurses Janet was able to use her considerable experience to care for injured soldiers plus have the compassion and ability to listen to patients affected by the trauma of war. It cannot be denied that STS nurses played an important role in the care and support of wounded Australians during the First World War.

Janet Gaff Muir and World War I - End notes

 Link to Essay - Janet Muir Garr and World War I

[i] Kirsty Harris, More than Bombs and Bandages: Australian Army Nurses at Work in World War I, Newport, Big Sky Publishing, 2011, p. 2.
[ii] Harris, More than Bombs and Bandages, p. 72.
[iii] Family Search, Birth Record for Janet Muir Steel, ‘Scotland Births and Baptisms 1564-1950’, Accessed 20 March 2017.
[iv] Intimations: The Watt Library of Family History Notices 1800-1918, Marriage Record for Daniel Gaff and Janet (Jessie) Steel, ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages Index: Letter G Surnames’, https://www.inverclyde.gov.uk/community-life-and-leisure/libraries/archives-local-history-and-heritage/family-history/intimations, Accessed 20 March 2017.
[v] Intimations: The Watt Library of Family History Notices 1800-1918, Birth Record for Daniel Gaff, ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages Index: Letter G Surnames’, https://www.inverclyde.gov.uk/community-life-and-leisure/libraries/archives-local-history-and-heritage/family-history/intimations, Accessed 20 March 2017.
[vi] Ancestry, Census Record for Daniel Robb Gaff, ‘1900 United States Federal Census’, Accessed 20 March 2017; Ancestry, Census Record for Daniel Robb Gaff, ‘1910 United States Federal Census’, Accessed 20 March 2017; Ancestry, Census Record for Daniel Robb Gaff, ‘1920 United States Federal Census’, Accessed 20 March 2017; Ancestry, Death for Daniel Robb Gaff, ‘California, Death Index, 1905-1939’, Accessed 20 March 2017.
[vii] Ancestry, Census Record for Janet (Jessie) Muir Gaff, ‘1891 Scotland Census,’ Accessed 20 March 2017.
[viii] Public Record Office Victoria, ‘Unassisted Passenger Lists (1852-1923)’ Record Series Number (VPRS): 947, Janet Gaff arrived in Melbourne aboard the “Orotava” on 25 December 1891.
[ix] John Brennan, One Hundred Years of Tender Loving Care 1891-1991: The History of the Warracknabeal District Hospital Inc., Warracknabeal, North West Press, 1991, p. 16.
[x] ‘Travelling Kitchen Fund’, Argus, 9 January 1915, p. 16; ‘The Argus Special Appeal’, Argus, 5 March, 1915, p. 6; ‘Condensed Milk for Belgian Babies’, Age, 15 March 1915, p. 12; ‘French Week Fund – Lord Mayor’s List’, Argus, 19 July 1916, p. 13.
[xi] ‘Rabbit-Fur Clothing’, Ararat Chronicle and Willaura and Lake Bolac Districts Recorder, 24 October 1914, p3; ‘Appeal for rabbits for Patriotic League’, Warracknabeal Herald, 27 October 1914, p. 6.
[xii] Service Record of Janet Muir Gaff, p. 2, B2455, National Archives of Australia.
[xiii] S G L Catchlove, ‘No. 5 A. G. Hospital’, No. 5 A.G.H.: A Magazine Published by the Patients and Staff of No. 5 Australian General Hospital St Kilda Road Melbourne , Vol. 1, Issue 1, August 1918, p. 10.
[xiv] Service Record of Janet Muir Gaff, p. 1, B2455, National Archives of Australia.
[xv] A G Butler, The Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War 1914-1918, Canberra, Australian War Memorial, 1943, Vol. 3, p. 545.
[xvi] Service Record of Janet Muir Gaff, p. 1.
[xvii] Ancestry, Shipping record for Janet Gaff, ‘UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960’, Accessed 22 March;  Ancestry, Shipping record for Janet Gaff, ‘UK Outward Passenger Lists, 1878-1960’, Accessed 22 March 2017; Ancestry, Shipping record for Janet Gaff, ‘Honolulu, Hawaii, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1900-1959’, Accessed 22 March; Ancestry, Shipping record for Janet Gaff, ‘New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922’, Accessed 22 March
[xviii] Service Record of Janet Muir Gaff, pp. 27, 29-30.
[xix] Butler, The Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War 1914-1918, Vol. 3, p. 665.
[xx] Service Record of Janet Muir Gaff, p. 27.
[xxi] Looking for Evidence, ‘Sea Transport Service – 4th Sea Transport Section (Victoria)’, https://sites.google.com/site/archoevidence/home/ww1australianwomen/sea-transport-section-staff, Accessed 5 April 2017; Greville Tregarthen, Sea Transport of the A.I.F., [Melbourne], Naval Transport Board, [nd], p. 141, https://issuu.com/anmmuseum/docs/sea_transport_of_the_aif,  Accessed 5 April 2017.
[xxii] Janet Gaff to Helen Steel, letter published as ‘Visit to Windsor Castle’, Box Hill Reporter, 29 November 1918, p. 5.
[xxiii] Harris, More than Bombs and Bandages, p. 74.
[xxiv] Harris, More than Bombs and Bandages, p. 73.
[xxv] Butler, The Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War 1914-1918, Vol. 3, p. 667.
[xxvi] Murphy’s War, ‘WWI Troopships: Journeys across the Indian Ocean’, http://www.murphyswar.com.au/ww1-troop-ships-across-the-indian-ocean/, Accessed 5 April 2017.
[xxvii] Butler, The Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War 1914-1918, Vol. 3, p. 688.
[xxviii] Service Record of Janet Muir Gaff, p. 27.
[xxix] Jan Bassett, Guns and Brooches: Australian Army Nursing from the Boer War to the Gulf War, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1992, pp. 70 – 73.
[xxx] Service Record of Janet Muir Gaff, pp. 27, 29.
[xxxi] Australia. Army, ‘No. 2 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Southall Middlesex’, [London: The Qualis Photo Co., 1919?] , Book of photographs of Southall, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-41192620, Accessed 8 April 2017.
[xxxii] Australia. Army, Souvenir of the No. 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital (Orchard Military Hospital) Dartford, Kent’ part of  AIF Unit War Diaries 1914-1918 War, ‘No 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital’ Dartford’, August 1918, https://www.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1014996.pdf., Book of photographs of Dartford.
[xxxiii] Australian War Memorial, AIF Unit War Diaries 1914-1918 War, ‘No 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford’, October 1918, p. 4. https://www.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1014993.pdf, Accessed 5 April 2017.
[xxxiv]Australian War Memorial, AIF Unit War Diaries 1914-1918 War, ‘No 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford’, May 1918, p. 3    https://www.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1014998.pdf, Accessed 5 April 2017.
[xxxv] Mary Ann Pocock, Matron Bessie Pocock  The Great War 1914-1918, Vol. 4, pp. 34, 36, 38, 47. [Transcript of diary] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RCDIG0001392/; Gaff, ‘Visit to Windsor Castle’, Box Hill Reporter, p. 5.
[xxxvi] Service Record of Janet Muir Gaff, p. 48.
[xxxvii] Janet Gaff, ‘The Victoria Falls, Rhodesia’,  Age 17 February 1923 p. 6
[xxxviii] [Anon.] ‘Women’s Club Dinner’, Argus, 24 May 1928, p. 18.
[xxxix] ‘Death Notice – Gaff’, Argus, 12 September 1940, p. 4.
[xl] Steven Cooke, ‘Remembering Gallipoli in the Shire of Nunawading’, North Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2015, p. 132.
[xli] Gaff, ‘Visit to Windsor Castle’, Box Hill Reporter, p. 5.

Link to:
Bibliography

Janet Muir Gaff and World War I Bibliography

 Link to Essay - Janet Muir Garr and World War I

Australia. Army, ‘No. 2 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Southall Middlesex’, [London: The Qualis Photo Co., 1919?] http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-41192620, Accessed 8 April 2017.
Australia. Army, Souvenir of the No. 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital (Orchard Military Hospital) Dartford, Kent’ part of  AIF Unit War Diaries 1914-1918 War, ‘No 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital’ Dartford’, August 1918, https://www.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1014996.pdf, Accessed 8 April 2017.
Australian War Memorial, AIF Unit War Diaries 1914-1918 War, ‘No 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford’, https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RCDIG1000137/, Accessed 5 April 2015.
Bassett, Jan, Guns and Brooches: Australian Army Nursing from the Boer War to the Gulf War, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1992.
Butler, A G, The Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War 1914-1918, Canberra, Australian War Memorial, 1943, Vol. 3.
Brennan, John, One Hundred Years of Tender Loving Care 1891-1991: The History of the  Warracknabeal District Hospital Inc., Warracknabeal, North West Press, 1991
‘California, Death Index, 1905-1939’, Ancestry, Accessed 20 March 2017.
Cooke, Steven, The Sweetland Project: Remembering Gallipoli in the Shire of Nunawading, North Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2015.
Harris, Kirsty, More than Bombs and Bandages: Australian Army Nurses at Work in World War I, Newport, Big Sky Publishing, 2011.
Intimations: The Watt Library of Family History Notices 1800-1918, ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages Index: Letter G Surnames’,https://www.inverclyde.gov.uk/community-life-and-leisure/libraries/archives-local-history-and-heritage/family-history/intimations, Accessed 20 March 2017.
Looking for Evidence, ‘Sea Transport Service – 4th Sea Transport Section (Victoria)’, https://sites.google.com/site/archoevidence/home/ww1australianwomen/sea-transport-section-staff, Accessed 5 April 2017
Murphy’s War, ‘WWI Troopships: Journeys across the Indian Ocean’, http://www.murphyswar.com.au/ww1-troop-ships-across-the-indian-ocean/, Accessed 5 April 2017.
No. 5 A.G.H.: A Magazine Published by the Patients and Staff of No. 5 Australian General Hospital St Kilda Road Melbourne.
Pocock, Mary Ann, Matron Bessie Pocock: The Great War 1914-1918, Vol. 4,  https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RCDIG0001392/
‘Scotland Births and Baptisms 1564-1950’, Family Search, Accessed 20 March 2017.
Service Records, B2455, National Archives of Australia.
Tregarthen, Greville, Sea Transport of the A.I.F., [Melbourne], Naval Transport Board, [nd], https://issuu.com/anmmuseum/docs/sea_transport_of_the_aif,  Accessed 5 April 2017.
‘Unassisted Passenger Lists (1852-1923)’ Record Series Number (VPRS): 947, Public Records Office of Victoria.
‘1891 Scotland Census,’ Ancestry, Accessed 20 March 2017.
‘1920 United States Federal Census’, Ancestry, Accessed 20 March 2017.

Also articles from the following Newspapers
Age.
Ararat Chronicle and Willaura and Lake Bolac Districts Recorder.
Argus.
 Box Hill Reporter.
Warracknabeal Herald.

See also Nursing in World War I - article in Reading and other pursuits blog

Link to
End Notes 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Janet Muir Gaff and family

Janet Muir Steel was born on 21 July 1860 at Milton, Glasgow in Scotland. Her parents were William Steel [1816-1881] and Marion Currie Kyle [1831-1914]. Janet had two sisters and five brothers, all of whom migrated to Australia in the 1890s. [1]

On 11 December 1878 Janet (aged 18) married Daniel Robb Gaff (1849-1921) at St Bartholomew's Church, Gourock. Daniel, a timber merchant, would have been 29 when he married Janet. On 25 January 1883 the couple's only son, Daniel William Steel Gaff, was born. [2] According to the 1881 Scotland census Daniel and Jessie (Janet) Gaff lived in Wellington Street, Greenock, Renfrewshire.

In 1889 Daniel Gaff decided to travel to America and spent the rest of his life there leaving his wife and child in Scotland. Information about Daniel in the United States of America can be gleaned from the annual census. The 1900 census states that he was living in San Francisco, had immigrated from Scotland in 1889, had been in the USA for ten years, was married and that his occupation was a Collector. By 1910 additional information in the record was that he was Naturalised and his occupation was Advertising. It also stated that he was single. In the 1920 census his surname was misspelt as Giff but the information provided was the same as in 1910. Daniel R Gaff died in San Francisco on 22 March 1921 aged 71. [3]  One assumes that he was unaware of the adventures that his wife was having in her new life without him.
Australian Nurses in World War I
When Janet's husband left her Janet had a six year old son to take care of. Fortunately she had a supportive family who would have helped look after him. Janet decided to be a nurse and trained and worked at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Castle Street, Glasgow. She probably started her training there in 1889 and the 1891 Scotland census shows her working there. Nursing Record November 1891 p 247 contains excerpts of a letter detailing Janet's concerns about conditions at the hospital.  On the same page there is mention of Janet's sister, Helen, who was also a nurse at the same hospital.

In 1891 the ship, Curzo travelled to Melbourne, Australia with Mrs M Steel and Miss M Steel aboard. On 23 October 1891the ship Orotavia left London and arrived in Melbourne on 25 December. Aboard were Miss H M Steel, Mr A W Steel, Mr F W Steel and Miss J M Gaff. [4] There is no mention of Janet's son in the ship passenger lists but children were not always listed. The family travelled as cabin passengers. Other family members also settled in Australia.

The Steel family settled in Blackburn, a small settlement in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Poultry farming and flower and fruit growing were the main activities for the area as listed in The Victorian Municipal Directory.  The family home was Achernar in Gordon Crescent, Blackburn. It must have been a reasonably large home as electoral roll records show many adults living in the house at various times. The 1903 electoral roll shows Janet's mother, Marion Currie Steel, living in the house with two of her daughters, Helen Mary and Marion Margaret, and her son Archibald William. Archibald's occupation is listed as a draper. The women's occupations are listed as home duties. In October 1904 Archibald married Frances Helen Sanders and they lived in the Gordon Street home for a number of years. From 1909 to 1926 Janet's brother, John Shaw Steel, a chemist, also lived in the house. James McLean Steel lived in nearby Box Hill where he was a clerk. Thomas Kyle Steel lived in New South Wales and Frederick William Steel moved to Western Australia. [5]

Janet used the Blackburn house as a base but she spent most of her time working as a nurse in western Victoria, initially at two hospitals in Warracknabeal and then at a hospital at Willaura. In August 1915 she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service and worked for twelve months at the No 5 Australian General Hospital in St Kilda Road before leaving Australia to nurse overseas in the Sea Transport Service.

Back in Australia in 1919, Janet moved back into the family home in Blackburn. Her mother had died in 1914 but Helen, Marion and John were still living at the Gordon Street House. Archibald and Frances moved into a house in Lake Road, Blackburn before eventually moving to Frankston.

In the early 1920s the family moved to 13 Oxford Street, Box Hill before, in 1925, transferring to 4 Rose Street, Box Hill which became the permanent home of the three sisters, Helen, Marion and Janet. This house was also known as Achernar.

Janet loved to travel and, apart from her many sea voyages during the war and the original voyage to Australia, made three other overseas trips.

Shipping records in Ancestry show that Janet arrived in London on 29 April 1910 aboard the Ruapehu. She arrived back in Sydney on 20 March 1911 and had returned home via Vancouver and Honolulu. She was therefore away for a year spending time in Europe and returning home via Canada.  Janet mentioned a winter spent in northern France in letters she wrote to newspapers in August 1914 concerning the welfare of Australian soldiers fighting in France.

In May 1922 Janet left Melbourne aboard the Baradine for London via South Africa and arrived in London on 27 August 1922 aboard the Barrabool. [6] Janet left the Baradine at Cape Town to travel to Victoria Falls before returning to Cape Town to board the Barrabool to London. When she returned to Australia Janet wrote an article about Victoria Falls which was published in the Age 17 February 1923 p 6.

Janet was off for another world trip in 1925. She arrived in Liverpool aboard the Hildebrand on 9 July 1926 after completing a round trip to Brazil. [7] The Argus 24 May 1928 provided a report on a talk Janet made about her adventures at the Women's Club Dinner.
Mrs. Janet Gaff spoke of her experiences during her recent travels abroad. Mrs. Gaff left for Europe by the Ceramic in 1925, during a shipping strike, and from Durban transhipped to a Dutch vessel, which took her up the south-east coast of Africa, past Mozambique, Zanzibar, and Mombasa. After visiting Cairo, Mrs. Gaff went on to Jerusalem, and from Palestine through the Ionian Islands, Afterwards Mrs. Gaff visited Mentone, Paris, Geneva, and London. She spent seven weeks in travelling through Oporto, Lisbon, and Madeira, and thence to the Amazon, down which she travelled for 1,000 miles to the Rio Negro. After returning to Europe she crossed to the United States, where she visited the principal cities before returning to Australia.
Janet was quite an adventurer.

Janet continued to live at Box Hill with her two sisters until her death on 7 September 1940. She was buried at Box Hill Cemetery.
GAFF. — On September 7. at Achernar, 4 Rose-street. Box Hill, Mrs. Janet Muir Gaff (sister, late A.I.F.), most dearly beloved mother of the late Daniel William Steel Gaff, and dearly beloved sister of Archibald W. (Frankston), Frederick W. (Perth, W.A.), Helen Mary and Marion Margaret Steel, of 4 Rose-street, Box Hill. (Age 12 September 1940)
Janet's son, Daniel, had died on 17 January 1936 at his home in Black Rock. On 6 September 1916, when his mother was serving as a nurse overseas, Daniel married Jean Millar at St Peter's Church, Box Hill. According to a notice regarding his estate after his death, he had an adopted son. The electoral rolls listed Daniel's occupation as a clerk.

Sources
[1] Family Search - birth records for Janet Steel and her family
[2] Greenock Advertiser and Greenock Telegraph for marriage (12 Dec 1878) and birth of son (26 Jan 1883)
[3] Census records and death record for Daniel are sourced from Ancestry.
[4] Unassisted Passenger indexes 1852-1923 (PROV)
Passenger indexes in Ancestry UK Outwards Passenger Lists
[5] Australian electoral roll records accessed in Ancestry
[6] Index to Outward Passengers to Interstate, UK, NZ 1852-1923 (PROV). Shipping records in Ancestry UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960
[7] Shipping records in Ancestry UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960