The Australian Army Nursing Service was a reserve unit of the Australian Army founded in 1902 to trained and provide nurses in case of conflict or national emergency.

It became a regular component of the army in 1914 before returning to reserve status at the end of the conflict only to have its status change once more to active in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II. In 1948 its title was changed to "Royal Australian Army Nursing Service" and was integrated into the regular army service on a permanent basis the following year.


from its inception to 1916, members of the AANS wore uniforms that largely followed civilian nursing dress of the time with aprons, capes and veils. During that year, various changes were brought with the cape now sporting shoulder straps and a more military looking outdoor dress being adopted.

Ranks up to that point were indicated solely with chocolate coloured bands on the cuffs and various elements of the uniform. Between 1916-1920 and again after 1939, metalic or embroidered british army rank insignias were worn on the epaulettes. The insignias did not, strictly speaking, indicate military ranks but were rather the equivalent level of courtesy afforded the nurse when compared to an army officer.