Parramatta District Hospital Nursing Staff, 1948. Image: A History of Nursing in Parramatta
This photograph shows the Parramatta District Hospital staff in 1948. Seated on chairs from left to right are Nurses Walsh, Ashmeade, Faulkner, Graham, McMurtrie, McDonald, Flack, Midgeley, Gunther and Woodcock. Standing from left to right are Nurses Watkins, Keep, Kingston, Duff, Stoddart, Ford, Sylvester, Jones, Morrow, Nayger, Sullivan, Siggs, Laney, Hold, Sheehan, Forrest, Hause and Hunter.
John Alexander McDonald (also spelt MacDonald), who was born in 1923, successfully passed his final General Nursing Certificate Examinations at Parramatta District Hospital in July 1951, making him a fully qualified staff nurse. John’s official date of registration is 13 September 1951. Another male nurse George Conley, alongside Monica Duff, Catherine Sheehan, June Forsstrom, Betty Midgley, Beth Forrest, Jean Trotter and Joalla Fitzgerald also successfully passed their final General Nursing Certificate Examinations at Parramatta District Hospital at the same time. 
The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate reported a few months earlier that:
Nine trainees of the Parramatta District Hospital who sat for their final examinations yesterday last night entertained the matron, Matron F.M. White, at dinner at the Commodore restaurant. The trainees include two men. One of them John McDonald, of Valley Heights, became engaged to another trainee, Miss Kathleen (Catherine) Sheehan, of Rosehill, during the four-year course. 
John McDonald and Catherine Sheehan were married in Parramatta in 1951.
1948 was an important year in Parramatta District Hospital’s history as it marked 100 years of serving as a civilian hospital. The year also saw a rise in staffing and beds available for the community, which had been in short supply during the recent world war. By June 1948 staff had been increased to 92, and 126 beds were in use. The increase in staffing allowed working hours to be reduced and conditions to be improved. 
John and Catherine McDonald are registered in the 1968 -1980 New South Wales’ electoral rolls as living in Cranebrook, a suburb of Great Western Sydney. Throughout this entire period John has his occupation registered as being a nurse, whereas Catherine is registered as performing home duties. 
John died on the 22 July 1993 at the age of 70. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Nicholas of Myra Catholic Church, High Street Penrith, and he is buried in the Springwood General Cemetery family grave. 
Caroline Finlay, Regional Studies Facilitator, Parramatta Heritage Centre, City of Parramatta, 2020
 Social Spotlight. (1951, July 4). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132146855
 Social News and Gossip. (1951, May 31). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18218817
 Graduate Nurses’ Association. (197-?). A History of Nursing in Parramatta. Parramatta, NSW: Author. pp. 33-34.
 Ancestry.com. Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
 Funerals. (1993, July 24). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 151.