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Biographical entry Bell, Jane (1873 - 1959)


16 March 1873
Dumfriesshire, Scotland
6 August 1959
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Jane Bell was lady superintendent of Melbourne Hospital 1910-1934. She made many innovations, including replacement of male orderlies by sisters in the operating theatres; the appointment of tutor-sisters to instruct trainees and of a house-sister to supervise the nurses' quarters; the introduction of a six-week preliminary course; and pay for trainee-nurses.



Career position - Nursing Certificate completed at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney
1898 - 1903
Career position - Various staff appointments
1903 - 1904
Career position - Matron at Bundaberg Hospital, Queensland
1904 - 1906
Career position - Matron at Brisbane General Hospital
1906 - 1907
Career position - Midwifery training at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London
1907 - 1910
Career position - Senior Assistant Superintendent of Nurses at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
1910 - 1934
Career position - Lady Superintendent of Melbourne Hospital
1913 - 1915
Career position - Australian Army Nursing Service
1924 - 1950
Career position - Member of the Nurses' Board
1931 - 1934
Career position - President of the Royal Victorian College of Nursing
1938 - 1946
Career position - President of the Royal Victorian College of Nursing
Award - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Goodman, Rupert and Williams, Jennifer A., Jane Bell, OBE, Lady Superintendent: the Royal Melbourne Hospital, 1910-1934, Spectrum Publications, Melbourne, 1988, 281 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Gardiner, Lyndsay, 'Bell, Jane (1873-1959), hospital matron', in Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 7, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1979, p. 257. Also available at Details
  • Williams, Jennifer, 'Jane Bell (1873-1959) hospital matron', in Heather Radi (ed.), 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Women's Redress Press Inc, Sydney, 1988. Details

Edited Books

  • Radi, H. (ed.), 200 Australian Women: a Redress Anthology, Women's Redress Press Inc, Sydney, 1988, 268 pp. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Alexander, John A. (ed.), Who's Who in Australia 1944, vol. 12, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, Melbourne, 1944, 906 pp. Details

McCarthy, G.J.