Home Aviation Services War Artist Gallery Commissions Interesting Stuff About/Contact

One Woman's War and Peace - A Nurse's Journey in the Royal Australian Air Force

From 1999 until 2015, Sharon Bown (nee Cooper) served in the Royal Australian Air Force as a Nursing Officer, a Commander, the Aide-de-Camp to the Australian Minister for Defence.


When Sharon wrote her autobiography, we entered it in the RAAF's Heritage Awards where it won first prize in the Literature Section (2016) under the title 'Collateral Damage'. After that, she was offered a contract with Exisle Publishing and it is due to be released in November 2016.

We went through some versions of titles and covers in consultation with the publishers. They didn't like the title Collateral Damage because of the similarity with various movies and we didn't like their first cover design. After some to-ing and fro-ing, they decided on 'One Woman's War and Peace - A Nurse's Journey in the Royal Australian Air Force'  and I came up with this design which was themed on a design that they created but which had a photo that both Sharon and I did not think really encapsulated the spirit of the book.

So Sharon and I endeavoured to maintain the publisher's aim and devised this version. From a creative point of view, I wanted to highlight the Red Cross; the word 'Air Force'; the Australian Flag; and the eagle badge of the RAAF.  These are all key icons of the RAAF and needed to be on the cover.

Let me know what you think of this compared to another version I created at the base of this page.

We thought about using this image of Sharon giving the keynote speech at the annual Service Nurses' and Midwives' Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, but because it was landscape format, it made it difficult to use it for a book cover.
This image of Sharon was another of mine. I wanted to highlight the RAAF Badge on the wall in the background as well as her service decorations which gave a great splash of colour to a predominantly grey and blue themed image... but it was not really in keeping with the book's mood. This was a better image for the bio section.
Yet another candid image that I liked and shows Sharon in a contemplative mood. Unfortunately, her rank is that of a Squadron Leader which she was at the time. (She was also not married to me so her name was Cooper! So this photo with the wrong name badge and the wrong rank was out of the running).
This was the book design I came up with. It shows duality: work dress worn on operations compared with dress uniform worn in a peacetime context; plain and unadorned compared with colourful and with embellishments such as badges, buttons and medals; sunlit and dark shadows.

Unfortunately, the publishers didn't like it. What do you think? Yes or no?




HomeAviation ServicesWar ArtistGalleryCommissionsInteresting StuffAbout/Contact

Independent Productions and Aviation Services is the website of Conway Bown, Australian Army Official War Artist and Aviation Consultant. Services include portrait painting and other portraiture, aviation services such as CRM - Crew Resource Management - and Helicopter Underwater Escape Training - HUET - which may include Emergency Breathing Systems - EBS - training using Helicopter Aircrew Breathing Devices - HABD - or Helicopter Emergency Egress Device - HEEDs.

During 2006, Conway Bown deployed to the Middle East as the Australian Army's Official War Artist, what the US Armed Forces call Combat Artist. This website features the artwork created during this project as part of the Australian Army's Official Art Scheme.

For more information on War Art, Combat Artists, Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET), Emergency Breathing Systems (EBS) or Crew Resource Management (CRM), please visit the relevant webpages:

HUET - RHO Aviation

Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Retd) was appointed to the Council of the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in 2016. Her autobiography: 'One Woman's War and Peace - A Nurse's Journey in the Royal Australian Air Force' was published by Exisle Publishing in 2016.

Keywords: Sharon Bown, Wing Commander, AWM, One Woman's War and Peace, Australian War Memorial Council.

CRM - RHO Aviation

EBS - RHO Aviation

Official War Artist - IPAS.