Early Women Surgeons of the College


Find a surgeon

The Find a Surgeon directory is a listing of active Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons who meet the requirements of the College's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program and have opted to be on the list. This list excludes retired or inactive Fellows.


We are seeking information about the female pioneers of surgery in Australia.

"There are currently over 700 active female Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, accounting for just less than 10% of the surgical workforce. The first female Fellow of the College was Lillian Violet Cooper, of Queensland, who was admitted to Fellowship on 17 June 1927. Over the following half century, 32 women obtained Fellowships, initially awarded on the basis of experience and clinical practice and then, from 1947, by passing the Fellowship examination. This paper will examine the contribution of some of these early pioneer women, not just as surgeons, but as role models, advocates of women in professional life and champions of equality."  'No Profession for a Lady', ANZJS, 2016 (PDF 392KB)

If you have any information about any of these Fellows, please contact the College Archivist: elizabeth.milford@surgeons.org or Susan Neuhaus FRACS - susanneuhaus@apsa.com.au

A list of the women to receive Fellowship in the first 50 years of the College is below:

  • Lillian Violet Cooper - General Surgery 17-Jun-27
  • Constance Elizabeth D'Arcy - Gynaecology 22-Sep-27
  • Margaret Harkness McLorinan - Gynaecology 26-Jan-28
  • Ethel Caroline Parnell - Ophthalmology 8-Aug-28
  • Esme Vivienne Anderson - Ophthalmology 28-Feb-34
  • Jean Littlejohn - Laryngo-Otology 3-Mar-35
  • Kathleen Cousins Cuningham - General Surgery 9-Sep-39
  • Nancy Lewis - Ophthalmology Dec-45
  • Lorna Verdun Sisley - General Surgery 8-Jun-47
  • Margery Scott Young - General Surgery 16-Dec-53
  • Pearl Anna Inglis MacLeod - Orthopaedics 26-Jun-54
  • Ida Caroline Mann - Ophthalmology 25-Jun-55
  • Jean Mary Sandel - General Surgery 22-Jun-57
  • Joyce Margaretta Daws - General Surgery 28-Feb-58
  • Lena Elizabeth McEwan - General Surgery 20-Jun-58
  • Philomena McGrath - General Surgery 19-Jun-59
  • Margaret Myfanwy Davis - Paediatrics 5-Mar-64
  • Helen Rice Noblett - Paediatrics 25-Jun-64
  • Shirley Heather Sarks - Ophthalmology 24-Jun-65
  • Ruth Valda Magnus - Paediatrics 22-Oct-65
  • Elizabeth Anne Shanahan - General Surgery 23-Feb-67
  • Chua Dui-Kim - Ophthalmology 14-May-68
  • Elizabeth Lawrence McKinnon - General Surgery 14-May-68
  • Ann Louise Davies - General Surgery 18-May-70
  • Beryl Overton Howie - Gynaecology 30-Oct-70
  • Joan Ilde Frew - Ophthalmology 23-Jun-71
  • Ella Annie Noble Macknight - Gynaecology 23-Jun-71
  • Genevieve Eleanor Cummins - General Surgery 29 May 72
  • Marjorie Paula Thomas - Paediatrics 27 Oct 72
  • Joanna Maria Catherine Zlotnik - General Surgery 24 Nov 72
  • Doreen Ashmel Birch - Otolaryngology 8 June 73
  • Suzanne Lesley Neil - General Surgery 22 Nov 73