Proposal to rename Dawson Ave Park after Nurse Jane Starkey

Council is seeking feedback on the proposed name change of Dawson Avenue Park in Thornleigh to acknowledge the contribution to the community that Nurse Jane Starkey made over many years helping women and children experience the bushland areas of Thornleigh.

Dawson Ave Park is located on Dawson Avenue, Thornleigh and includes a children’s playground, grass area and a dog off leash area. It is proposed to name this site Jane Starkey Park.


Nurse Jane Starkey, also known as Nurse Jane Starkey Dawes following remarriage, was well known for her welfare work with women and children in the early 1900’s. In the 1920’s Nurse Starkey ran a cottage in Bellevue St, Thornleigh that was used for inner city children to experience a day in the “country”. The picnic room was opened by Dr Mary Booth on 8th October 1921 and a Poor Children’s Outing Fund was set up to give batches of children from the congested areas of the city an outing.

Nurse Starkey was known as one of Sydney’s leading nurses and in November and December 1921 parties of soldiers orphan children were entertained in Nurse Starkey’s “play house.” They had refreshments in Thornleigh Park with Nurse Starkey dressed as a fairy godmother who distributed Christmas presents from the Christmas tree.  She was assisted by Dr Mary Booth, Miss E B Booth, Mrs Lewis and Mrs Pegrum. Other day’s out included for 73 poor children from Pyrmont held in April 1922.  She was said to have welcomed them with great kindliness and enthusiasm.

Jane Starkey became a household name across the northern district of Sydney for her great interest in the welfare of poor children. She didn’t want to leave any money behind her and spent it on ways that would do most good for the community. Her idea was that death bed riches consist in accumulating kindly acts rather than money. On top of her kinds acts for children in the community, she also donated the cottage after her retirement for women living in need or on the pension to live.

Other notable achievements include:

  • In 1898 Nurse Starkey was Matron of the Civil Ambulance and Transport Brigade and volunteered to assist American forces in the Spanish American War
  • In 1908 Nurse Jane Starkey with the assistance of Dr Watkins formed a class in Hornsby in connection with the St John’s Ambulance
  • On 28th February 1915 Jane 1915 retired from Civil Ambulance Brigade after 20 years of service and received her Civil Ambulance badge
  • In July 1916 the Sydney Sun published a paragraph on Nurse Starkey who, “occupies a unique position in the history of the St John Brigade Civil Ambulance Corps, and possesses the coveted little cross of the order of St John.  Nurse Starkey has the gratification of seeing her splendid organising grow until today it has become a national essential. The number of ladies who owe their proficiency in first aid and home nursing to her devotion are legion, and many of them are rendering valuable service to the empire.”
  • In September 1923 Jane received an award from Dame Margaret Davidson for the St John’s Ambulance Brigade.  Jane was Honorary Serving Sister of the Darlinghurst Nursing Division.
  • In March 1948 the St John’s Ambulance Brigade held a dinner at St Andrews Choir School in honour of Sister Jane Starkey officer of the Order of St John

Have your say

Council invites your comments on the proposal by close of business Friday 5 April, 2019.

Please mark your submission Jane Starkey Park and address it to:

The General Manager
Hornsby Shire Council
PO Box 37


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