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MacKinnon, Eleanor Vokes Irby (1871 - 1936)

OBE, King George V Silver Jubilee Medal

8 February 1871
Tenterfield, Victoria, Australia
31 January 1936
Red Cross leader


Eleanor MacKinnon, a foundation honorary secretary to the New South Wales Division of the Australian branch of the British Red Cross Society in August 1914, remained a member of the state executive and finance committees and a delegate to the central council until her death in 1936. After her marriage to physician Roger MacKinnon in 1896, and the birth of their two sons at Warialda, they moved to North Sydney in 1903. Eleanor MacKinnon was involved in a range of activities, which included learning to paint and membership of a number of benevolent and political societies. Her major contribution was to the Red Cross Society and she founded the world's first Junior Red Cross division, with its motto, 'the child for the child' and remained its honorary director until 1935. In addition she created the Red Cross Record in 1914, editing it for twenty-one years, the Junior Red Cross Record in 1918 and compiled the Red Cross Knitting and Cookery books. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Civil), in 1918, for her contribution to the Red Cross Society. Subsequently she visited the headquarters of the League of Red Cross Societies in Paris in 1925, and from 1925-1926 worked to reconstruct the Red Cross in Australia for a peace time role. She was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935 in recognition of her contribution to hospitals and health care in Australia.

Sources used to compile this entry: Abbott, Jacqueline Abbott, 'MacKinnon, Eleanor Vokes Irby (1871 - 1836)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 2006,

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