Papoose Board and manikins (mannequins)

Jean Macnamara (b.1899, d.1968)
Circa 1935
Two wooden articulated manikins (mannequins) with ball-and-socket joints. One includes a fabric and elastic brace, the other has a leg cast, and rests in a papoose board to illustrate deformity prevention.

Designed and used by Dame Annie Jean Macnamara to demonstrate the principles of splinting paralysed limbs to avoid deformities in poliomyelitis patients.

Annie Jean Macnamara (1899–1968) was a dynamic, determined and outspoken clinician,who successfully combined research, a busy clinical practice and a strong commitment to her patients. This was widely recognised, and she was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1935 for her outstanding contribution to the care of polio sufferers. Graduating in 1922 with an MBBS and
the Beaney scholarship in surgery, she began her internship at Melbourne Hospital.
It was after gaining a residency at the Children’s Hospital, one of the first women to
do so, that she first encountered the devastating consequences of polio. She dedicated the majority of her career to the treatment and rehabilitation of those suffering children.

One of her greatest achievements was the discovery, with Macfarlane Burnet,that there was more than one strain of the polio virus. This was crucial for the eventual development of an effective vaccine for polio. A fellowship in orthopaedics in the United States honed her skills in physical treatment, and she adapted splints and devices to immobilise, protect and subsequently allow rehabilitation of paralysed limbs. She is also credited with ordering Australia’s first artificial respirator during her time overseas. She is remembered on the Australian 45-cent stamp with Frank Macfarlane Burnet.
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Object detail

cotton and other fabric, elastic, gypsum and wood
4.7 x 32.5 x 11.8 cm (manikins)
6.3 x 37.7 x 13.8 cm (papoose board)
2.1 x 13.6 x 8.8 cm (printer's block)
Accession Number
Credit line
Previously University of Melbourne Collection
maker's mark ▫ stamped on back of manikin 2: 'MADE IN (Germany)'
inscriptions ▫ typed display label: '...Also, two models of wood, one with a corset possibly to demonstrate the correction of a spine or hip deformity, the other on a "Papoose Board', designed to hold the body in an ideal resting position during recovery from a neuromuscular condition such as poliomyelitis
Medical History Museum Category


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