Ettie Annie Rout

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Ettie Annie Rout
Ettie Annie Rout - Project Gutenberg eText 16135.jpg
Ettie Annie Rout from the frontispiece of Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity
Born 24 February 1877
Launceston, Tasmania
Died 17 September 1936(1936-09-17) (aged 59)
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Other names Ettie Hornibrook
Known for preventing sexually transmitted disease amongst soldiers

Ettie Annie Rout (24 February 1877 – 17 September 1936) was a Tasmanian-born New Zealander whose work among servicemen in Paris and the Somme during World War I made her a war hero among the French, yet through the same events she became persona non grata in New Zealand. She married Fred Hornibrook on 3 May 1920, after which she was Ettie Hornibrook. They had no children and later separated, and she died, and is buried in the Cook Islands.

Life[edit]

Born in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, she was raised in Wellington, New Zealand from 1884. After leaving school, she became a shorthand typist for commissions of inquiry and the then Supreme Court (now the High Court, and not to be confused with the present Supreme Court). Biographers believe this job gave her a wide range of experiences on social issues. She was later a reporter, businessperson, and writer, but most importantly, she was a campaigner on sexually transmitted infections.

Ettie Rout's experiences founding a volunteer nursing group during World War I, the New Zealand Volunteer Sisterhood, made her aware of the prevalence of STI among servicemen. By 1917, the New Zealand Army had made free distribution of her safe sex kit compulsory. It was for work in Paris, inspecting brothels and recommending them to arriving servicemen, and in the Somme, that she was decorated by the French. In 1917 she and several other New Zealand nurses were Mentioned in Despatches by General Sir Archibald Murray[1]

Ironically, in New Zealand, her exploits were considered such that her name, on pain of a £100 fine, could not be published. However though, her activities could be published.[citation needed]

Similar ironies were found overseas; her 1922 book, Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity, was banned in New Zealand, but published in both Australia and Britain. In the latter, it was a best-seller. However, in the House of Lords, a bishop called her 'the wickedest woman in Britain.[2][3]

Death and legacy[edit]

Rout died as the result of a quinine overdose in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands following her sole postwar return to New Zealand in 1936. She is interred at an Avarua church cemetery. In 1992, Jane Tolerton wrote her biography, and more recently, she has been more critically perceived as a "White Australasia" apologist in Phillippa Levine's account of contagious disease legislation within the late nineteenth century British Empire.[4][5]

In 1983 an episode of the New Zealand television series Pioneer Women dramatised her story.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kai Tiaki : the journal of the nurses of New Zealand, Volume X, Issue 4, October 1917, Page 199". PapersPast. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Rout, Ettie Annie
  3. ^ No such quote can be found in http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/search/
  4. ^ Phillippa Levine (2003), Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire:, New York, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-94447-3
  5. ^ Jane Tolerton (1992), Ettie: A Life of Ettie Rout, Auckland, Penguin, ISBN 0-14-017216-5
  6. ^ "Pioneer Women - Ettie Rout". Pioneer Women. TVNZ via NZ On Screen. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 

External links[edit]