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MACNAMARA, Annie Jean

Also known as: Jean, Jean Connor

Born: 1/4/1899

Died: 13/10/1968

Special Achievements:

First woman Resident Medical Officer at Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.

In May 1923 Jean, with high recommendations, was appointed resident at the (Royal) Children's Hospital.  She remained until 1925 when, having graduated M.D., she became clinical assistant to the Children's out-patients physician and entered private practice with a special emphasis on poliomyelitis.  In 1925-31 she was consultant  medical officer responsible to the Poliomyelitis Committee of Victoria led by Doctor John Dale and in 1930-31 honorary advisor on polio to official authorities in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.  In 1928-51 she was honourary medical officer to the Yooralia Hospital School for crippled children.  During the 1937-38 polio epidemic she supervised patient care at both the Children's and Fairfield Hospitals.  In 1938 she establised a clinic at Carlton where thirty children were treated daily.  Her work extended to vicitims of lead poisoning and cerebral palsy and to healthy people with poor posture.  The first centre for spastic children in Australia was opened on her recommendations at the Children's Hospital in 1940.  Also, during the 1930's, Jean was  Instrumental in introducing Myxometosis virus to Australia to eradicate rabbits.

Additional Information:

With her husband, who died in 1955, Jean had a hobby farm in the Romsey District.  She belonged to the Compost Society and fought against indiscriminant use of pesticides.  In a bitter campaign she also thwarted the plans of Francis Ratcliffe, head of the wildlife division of the C.S.I.R.O., to protect breeders rabbits against myxomatosis.  In 1964 the animal house at the Keith Turnball Research Station, Frankston, was named in her honour.  The University of Melbourne awarded her an honourary LL.D. in 1966.


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