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Bardsley, Doris (1895 - 1968)

9 April 1895
Gorton, Lancashire, England
21 January 1968
Mosman, New South Wales, Australia
Child welfare advocate., Maternal and Nurse


Born in Gorton, Lancashire, England, Doris Bardsley came to live in the Brisbane area of Queensland prior to World War 1. Trained at the Diamantina Hospital for Chronic Diseases, she completed her midwifery certificate in Melbourne before returning to Queensland (Qld) to serve as matron at St Denis's Hospital in Toowoomba. In October of 1923, Bardsley joined the staff of the maternal and Child Welfare Service, devoting the rest of her life to the expansion of child-welfare services, as well as the improved education and training of ante-natal nurses.


Doris Bardsley was appointed sister-in-charge of Queensland Government Baby Clinics on 9th April 1925 and oversaw the expansion of baby clinics during her twelve year term.

During the 1920s, Bardsley was a delegate to the National Council of Women of QLD, supporting the expansion of child-welfare services and mothercraft education. In addition to this, she was a member of the technical sub-committee of the Mothercraft Association.

She was appointed the position of acting-superintendent of infant-welfare in 1937, becoming superintendent in 1939. In this position, Bardsley helped with the development of residential homes for mothers and babies with feeding problems, introduced a correspondence service which offered ante-natal advice, and initiated mothercraft courses in secondary school.

In 1942, Bardsley secured an agreementĀ from the registrar-general to notify baby clinic services of all births in country areas.

Serving as a councillor of the Qld branch of the Australasian Trained Nurses' Association (1926-57), she was awarded the position of state president in 1949, and later national president in 1951. In this position, Bardsley represented Australian nurses overseas.

She served on the International Council of Nurses from 1951, on the grand council and on the education committee.

An advocate for the development of post-graduate education in the field of nursing, Bardsley later went on to become a founding member (1948), vice-president and president (1952-53) of the College of Nursing, Australia. She was elected a fellow in 1962.

Between 1953 and 1961 she served as an adviser-in-nursing to Queensland's Department of Health and Home Affairs.

Bardsley was also a member of the Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee of Australia at a state and national level.

Sources used to compile this entry: Gregory, H., 'Bardsley, Doris (1895 - 1968)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online , Australian National University, Canberra, 2006,

Lee Butterworth

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