Laura (Fowler) Hope
Laura Fowler was born in May 1868 in Adelaide.
In 1887, she became the first woman to enrol in medicine at the University of Adelaide, despite the opposition of some who disapproved of a female medical student, especially one who was only 18 years old.
In 1892, Laura was appointed resident medical officer at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital for a 12-month term. In 1893, she married Dr Charles Hope.
Shortly after their wedding the Hopes sailed for Bengal as self-supporting medical missionaries. In the early 1900s, they were in England, studying at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine before returning to India.
By 1915, the Hopes were back in England where they joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service. They were sent to Serbia where Laura directed a unit that treated wounded soldiers. Charles was the only, or one of very few, male personnel to serve with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals.
When Serbia was invaded in October 1915, the Hopes stayed with the unit to treat wounded Serbian soldiers. After some weeks, they were transported to Hungary in open cattle trucks. There, they were imprisoned for 2 months. After being released, they returned to England in 1916, recuperated and returned to work in India.
Laura and Charles were each awarded the Serbian Cross of Mercy in 1918. The couple continued to work in India but spent some time in Adelaide in 1922.
The Hopes retired to Adelaide in 1934. Laura died in September 1952. Charles had died several years before.