The Victorian State Committee recently made a submission to the City of Melbourne’s “Celebrating Women in Melbourne’s history project, which acknowledges the disparity of statues in the city, with only 2 per cent being of women. The project called for submissions of names of remarkable women who have significantly contributed to shaping Melbourne.

The VSC acknowledges that many remarkable women deserve to be recognised, and after much consideration came up with a short list of five, and all have been submitted as nominations.

The five women are

  • Jean Littlejohn 1899-1990, Fellowship 3 March 1935, ENT
  • Lorna Sisley 1916-2004, Fellowship – 8 June 1947, General Surgery
  • Dame Joyce Dawes 1925 – 2007, Fellow date 28/02/1958 Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Helen Noblett 1933 – 2020, Fellow date 6 May 1964, Paediatric Surgery
  • Vera Scantlebury Brown 1889 – 1946

All women were Fellows of RACS, except Vera Scantlebury-Brown, who had an early surgical career contributing to the first world war, paying her way to England. Arriving in 1917, she worked in a 570-bed hospital almost entirely run by women and was known as the ‘Suffragette Hospital’. Following the war, she returned to Melbourne and significantly contributed to infant welfare, ante-natal and preschool care for the rest of her career.

We commend the City of Melbourne for this initiative, and we are sure they will have been inundated with many worthy nominees, and we will keep you updated on the progress.