Mary Jean Murdoch AM, BA (Hons)
Member Of Court Of Honour, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
21 December 1933 - 31 December 2014
Mary Murdoch is fondly remembered for her significant contributions to this College and her outstanding service to the community. She was a highly valued former member of the RACS Appeals Committee. In 1997 Mary was appointed to the Court of Honour, one its few lay members, and one of the College's highest honours. Her wise counsel and generosity of spirit and friendship are remembered with gratitude.
She also leaves an enduring legacy as a great woman in the history of Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital (RWH), as a Board member from 1981 for 14 years, and having served as its President from 1989 to 1992. She was an active and dedicated member of committees of the RWH Board, Auxiliaries, Archives and Alumni. Mary was an effective speaker, with organisational skills and leadership qualities, and became interested and influential in the RWH's standards of care of premature babies and their development.
Educated at Presbyterian Ladies' College (PLC) in Melbourne, Mary was Head Prefect in her final year 1951. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1955 with BA (Hons) in history, which remained her special interest as a teacher. In 1957 she married Stuart Murdoch, and was loving mother to Geoffrey, Neill, Louise and Fiona, and a keen reader to them. With their arrival Mary started a long-term active interest in the standards of children's television in Australia through ACTAC - the Australian Children's Television Action Committee. In due course she was everything a loving grandmother could and should be to 14 grandchildren, in fact she loved all children.
Her interest in PLC and women's education remained strong and active. Mary became a member of the School Council and served as its Chairman during the turbulent years 1980 to 1982, in the struggle for control of the school between the Continuing Presbyterian Church and the Uniting Church of Australia.
Mary became involved in the selection of medical students for Monash University. She promoted the welfare of elm trees threatened in Victoria, through Friends of the Elms. She was appointed Member of the Order of Australia in 2002. Her faith was part of the family's life and found expression in the Toorak Uniting Church community, including its fundraising. Her final community service was as President of that Church's John Macrae Centre, which provides services for those with Alzheimer's Disease - ironically, services she was soon to need.
Hers was a life of achievement and community service, productive in so many areas, a model and inspiration for us all.
Peter L. Field, FRACS with The Hon. Stuart Murdoch