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New biography charts career of remarkable Queensland nurse and hospital leader

Pixie and twin sister Ellen celebrated their 85th birthday on the day of the official launch of the book in Brisbane.

Service has been the golden thread of Pixie’s life, connecting her many roles which include matron and CEO of St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, nursing leader and a brilliant fundraiser and campaigner for a host of causes.  

Pixie AnnatPixie, pictured with book author Colleen Clur, has a great sense of humour and loves to tell a yarn, and the book is filled with her stories, from events going back to her childhood on a Sunshine Coast farm, through to her training shortly after World War II at the Royal Brisbane Hospital and then to her involvement in a decades-long campaign to improve training and working conditions for nurses.
During a working life where women, and particularly nurses, were often undervalued, she stared down many an adversary who underestimated her resolve. Yet she had a knack for persuasion, employing her intelligence and civility to change many minds.
Pixie received a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1977 and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1992 for her services to nursing.
After her official retirement as CEO of St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in 1992, Pixie continued to make a huge impact on many people, immersing herself in charitable projects as diverse as supporting homeless women, providing scholarships for nurses (many of whom are now leading academics in university nursing schools), and as a volunteer at both the Royal Brisbane Hospital and St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital.
Pixie also has a deep interest in history and military service, and is proud of her family’s sacrifice – her grandfather died in the Boer War defending a British garrison, and her father and uncles served at Gallipoli and on the Western front. She herself served in the Citizens Military Forces for almost a decade in the 1950s and 1960s, progressing to the rank of major. She visited Gallipoli alone with a Turkish guide and travelled to South Africa for the unveiling of a memorial in honour of her grandfather, 101 years after his death.
Find details how to order a copy of Pixie Annat - Champion of Nurses, here:
Pixie Annat biography


About the author

Colleen Ryan Clur is a Brisbane writer and communications consultant. She worked for decades as a journalist and editor in South Africa, and her book on acclaimed South African anti-apartheid activist, Beyers Naude (contemporary of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu) made the non-fiction bestseller list in South Africa in 1990. Colleen updated her biography, Beyers Naude: Pilgrimage of Faith, in 2005 (the foreword to this edition was written by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu). 

Further information about Pixie

Pixie's volunteering history since her retirement in 1992 includes:

  • Volunteer, St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital (2007 to present)
  • Commissioner, Anglican Community Service Commission (2005 to present)
  • Chairman, Spiritus Ethics Committee (2005 to present)
  • Member, Older People Speak Out (2001 to present)
  • St Andrew's Anglican Church Lutwyche (Synod Representative 1999-2002, Minute Secretary 1998 to present)
  • Hon. Secretary, Royal Brisbane Hospital Nurses' Association Inc (1998 to present) 
  • Lady Musgrave Trust (President 2002 to 2014, Director 1996 to present)
  • Member/Chairman, Qld Fertility Group Ethics Committee (1992 to present)
  • Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses (Honorary Secretary 2000 to present, Member 1975 to present)
  • Order of the British Empire Queensland Association (Executive Committee/President 2002 to present, Member 1977 to present)
  • Zonta Club of Brisbane (Member 1986-2007, President 1992-1994)
  • Member/Chairman, St Luke's Nursing Service (1992-2005)
  • Chairman, St Luke's Ethics Committee (1995-2005)
  • Director, TriCare Ltd (1994-2001)
  • Volunteer/Member, Centaur Younger Set (1940s-1950s).