Anatomy Lecture Notes

Margaret Henderson
A collection of hand written notes compiled in a black hard cover binder. They are written by Margaret Henderson(1915-2017) during Anatomy lectures conducted by Professor Frederic Wood Jones (1879-1954) at the University of Melbourne.

Living in post-war London in 1947, Margaret Henderson OBE( MBBS 193) applied for the position of honorary physician to outpatients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH). She applied mainly ‘to strike a blow for women in medicine’;1 then she; put it out of her mind, as ‘there had never been a woman appointed to the Honorary staff’. Margaret had spent two years as resident medical officer at the RMH after graduating in 1938. As the tide of war swept up Australia, she gained an MD; undertook research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute; worked with Euan Littlejohn in general practice, and in medical outpatients at the RMH; and served with the military forces. As war ended, the Red Cross recruited Margaret for post-war civilian work, as a senior medical officer in outlying Malay villages, dealing with nutritional and tropical diseases. She then developed her interest in respiratory and thoracic medicine in London and Switzerland, gaining membership and then fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.One of the few women medical graduates at the time, she was ‘quite stunned’ to receive a cable from Euan Littlejohn: she had been appointed to the honorary staff at RMH. This was one of many blows Margaret struck for women in an era in which great tenacity and talent were required to achieve parity with men. Margaret was acutely aware of how her actions influenced prospects for other women, and her strength of character and perceptive mind made her highly regarded in medicine—held in great esteem and widely sought as a teacher. Many fondly recall her teaching rounds with medical students and her wonderful clinical acumen. Besides her work at the RMH, she was honorary physician to the Queen Victoria Hospital and medical officer to Janet Clarke Hall for many years. She also provided
outstanding service to the management committee of the Royal District Nursing Service for 18 years. She was awarded an OBE for services to medicine in 1976, a rare distinction in that era. In 2012, the University of Melbourne awarded her the Honorary Doctor of Medical Science honoris causa recognising her pioneering leadership in establishing the rightful place of women in medicine.
Professor Christine Kilpatrick
MBBS 1976
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Object detail

paper, fabric
29.3 x 23.5 x 3 cm
Accession Number
Credit line
Gift of Dr Margaret Henderson, 2016
Object Type
Medical History Museum Category


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