Dame Annie Jean Macnamara, DBE (1 April 1899 – 13 October 1968) was an Australian medical doctor and scientist, best known for her contributions to children’s health and welfare. She was honored as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
Her specialism in orthopedics led her to devise new ways to splint different parts of the body, and she advocated new methods for the care of disabled people, particularly children. She was invited to the White House to meet President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been paralyzed by polio himself.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Annie Jean Macnamara was born on 1 April 1899 to John and Annie Macnamara in Beechworth, Victoria. Her family moved to Melbourne when she was seven and she attended Spring Road State School. She received a scholarship to study at the Presbyterian Ladies’ College. She entered the University of Melbourne at age 17, she graduated M.B. and B.S. in 1922; other notable Australians who also graduated in her class included Kate Isabel Campbell, Lucy Meredith Bryce, Jean Littlejohn and Frank Macfarlane Burnet.
Following graduation she became a resident medical officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In 1923, Macnamara became a resident doctor at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Hospital authorities had at first been reluctant to employ her on the grounds that it had no toilet facilities for women doctors. During her time at the Children’s Hospital there was a polio outbreak, she and Burnet demonstrate that there was more than one strain of the virus, a fact that would be important in the later development of the Salk vaccine. Between 1925 and 1931 she was consultant and medical officer responsible to the Poliomyelitis Committee of Victoria, and between 1930 and 1931 was honorary adviser on polio to official authorities in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
In 1931, she received a Rockefeller Fellowship to travel to England and United States to study orthopaedics. When she returned to Australia in 1934 she married dermatologist Joseph Ivan Connor, and they had two daughters, Joan and Merran. She conducted a successful orthopaedic work, and for this contribution was create DBE in 1935. Although she was consider the foremost Australian authority on the treatment of poliomyelitis, she continue to recommen the use of convalescent serum and splinting to immobilise limbs long after these treatments were abandone in America.
In the 1930s, she encouraged the Australian government to trial the myxoma virus to combat the Australian rabbit plague. Although trials were initially unsuccessful, she lobbied that they be continue, and when the virus became epizootic in 1951, the mosquito vector spread the virus among rabbits, causing the successful reduction of wild rabbit numbers.
DEATH AND LEGACY
Macnamara died at the age of 69 from cardiovascular disease in 1968.
Seven other Australian medical scientists were commemorate in the issue of a set of four Australian stamps release in 1995. She appears on the 45 cent stamp with fellow University of Melbourne graduate, Frank Macfarlane Burnet.
In 2018, the Australian Electoral Commission renamed the federal electoral division of Melbourne Ports to Macnamara in her honour.
A suburb of Canberra was name Macnamara, Australian Capital Territory in commemoration of Jean Macnamara. Macnamara Place, in the Canberra suburb of Chisholm, is also name in her honour.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
1935, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Intro: Australian medical doctor and scientist
A.K.A: Annie Jean Macnamara
Was: Physician Medical researcher Surgeon Orthopedic surgeon Scientist
Type Healthcare Science
Gender : Female
Birth: 1 April 1899, Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Death: 13 October 1968, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia (aged 69 years)
Star sign: Aries
Stats: Height:152 cm
Education: University of Melbourne Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Melbourne
Awards: Victorian Honour Roll of Women2001 Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Peoplepill ID: Dame Jean Macnamara