Sister Ellen Savage, GM & the sinking of the Army Hospital Ship AHS Centaur (Animatic)


A short animation developed in late 2017 which sought to draw attention to the amazing life and impact of Australian Army Nurse Sister Ellen Savage, GM – an everyday hero. This animated project was the result of a Central Queensland University (CQU) Leap ‘Seed’ grant.

Although particular emphasis is placed on events surrounding the sinking of the 2/3 Army Hospital Ship AHS Centaur and the subsequent award of the George Medal (GM) during World War Two, also recognised are Ellen’s significant contributions to the evolution of contemporary Australian nursing.


Citation for the George Medal

The Governor-General has received advice that his Majesty the King has approved of the following award :

– AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES- For courage and fortitude on the occasion of the sinking of the Australian Hospital Ship “Centaur”.

— GEORGE MEDAL — Lieutenant Ellen SAVAGE, NFX76584.

“Sister Savage was a member of the nursing staff of the Hospital Ship “Centaur” when it was sunk in May 1943 as a result of an explosion whilst en route to New Guinea to embark invalids. She was the sole survivor of the twelve officers of the Australian Nursing Service on board.

Although suffering from severe injuries received as a result of the explosion, and subsequent immersion in the sea, she displayed great heroism during the period whilst she and some male members of the ship’s staff were floating on a raft, to which they clung for some thirty-four hours before being rescued by an American destroyer.

She rendered conspicuous service whilst on the raft in attending to the wounds and burns sustained by other survivors.

Sister Savage’s example of high courage and fortitude did much to maintain the morale of her companions during their ordeal.” =====================================================


Artwork, animation & soundscape: Jim Picton, digital media lecturer CQU

Narrative: Dr Irene Waters

Historical Consultant: Dr Madonna Grehan, Honorary Fellow, Nursing, School of Health Sciences, University of Melbourne.

Original Concept: Prof Margaret McAllister & Prof Donna Lee Brien CQU.

Sound effects

Some of the sound effects used in the creation of the soundscape (all of which have been remixed and repurposed) came from a range of talented individuals including: Mark DiAngelo, Mike Koenig, Daniel Simon, whilst others were freely available for non-profit/educational usage from Soundbible.com.

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