Australian Women's Register

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Kenny, Elizabeth (1880 - 1952)

Sister

Born
20 September 1880
Warialda, New South Wales, Australia
Died
30 November 1952
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Occupation
Nurse and Health administrator

Summary

Elizabeth Kenny developed a new treatment for infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis). Guided by Dr Aeneas McDonnell of Toowoomba, she developed a thorough knowledge of human musculature. [1]

Although Kenny never completed any nursing training or registered as a nurse, she opened a hospital at Clifton, near Toowoomba, in 1913. In 1915 she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) and completed 12 round sea voyages between England and Australia with the returning wounded. During this time she earned her promotion to Sister, a title she used all her life. [2]

During the 1930s she established clinics in Brisbane with the backing of the State government, but with opposition from the medical profession. In 1940 she moved to the United States of America where her methods were widely acclaimed and gradually accepted world wide. Kenny returned to Queensland in 1951 and died in Toowoomba on 30 November 1952.

[1] 200 Australian Women p. 124
[2] ibid

Sources used to compile this entry: Patrick, Ross, 'Kenny, Elizabeth (1881-1952)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A090570b.htm; Radi, Heather (ed.), 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Women's Redress Press, Sydney, 1988, 258 pp. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-78644; Bright Sparcs : http://www.asap.unimelb.edu.au/bsparcs/.

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Archival resources

Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland

  • Papers of Elizabeth Kenny, 1938-2001 [manuscript], 1938 - 2001, UQFL16; Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland. Details
  • Papers of Rae William Dungan [manuscript], 1928 - 1956, UQFL354; Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland. Details

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Elizabeth Kenny - papers, 1936-1937, 1936 - 1937, MLMSS 5855; Kenny, Elizabeth (1880 - 1952); Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

National Archives of Australia, National Office

  • Application for Letters Patent for an invention by Elizabeth Kenny, titled - A surgical appliance for supporting the injured members of patients bodies during their transport, 1928, A627/54; Kenny, Elizabeth (1880 - 1952); National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Application for Letters Patent for an invention by Elizabeth Kenny, titled - An improved transport stretcher, 1926, A627/53; Kenny, Elizabeth (1880 - 1952); National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Elizabeth Kenny Clinic, 1937, A6006; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Infantile Paralysis and Cerebral Diplegia, 1937, A1336/1; Kenny, Elizabeth (1880 - 1952); National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • The Kenny Method of Treatment of Paralysis (Polio Myelitis or Infantile Paralysis, Spastic Paralysis and Birth Paralysis), 1935, A1336/1; Kenny, Elizabeth (1880 - 1952); National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Kenny, Elizabeth (Sister), 1947, Barcode 1376246, Control 621A, Series A3300; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Kenny, Elizabeth : Service Number - Sister, c. 1914 - c. 1920, B2455/1; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Supply of Agricultural and Scientific Information. Elizabeth Kenny Institute for Infantile Paralysis, 1945 - 1946, A1067/1; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details

Elle Morrell

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