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Biographical entry Turner, Alfred Jefferis (1861 - 1947)

3 October 1861
Canton, Guangdong, China
29 December 1947
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Paediatrician and Entomologist


Alfred Jefferis Turner established the first infant welfare clinic in Queensland in 1909. He also introduced diphtheria anti-toxin in 1895, diagnosed cases of hook-worm induced anaemia and lead poisoning, and played a vital role in making the notification of tuberculosis compulsory in 1904. Under his directorship of Queensland's infant welfare program, infant mortality dropped significantly. In his spare time he was a keen entomologist who specialised in Lepidoptera and named 450 new genera and four new families. He bequeathed over 50,000 specimens of moths to the CSIR Division of Economic Entomology.



Education - Member, Royal College of Surgeons, London
Education - MB, University College London
1885 - 1886
Career position - Assistant Physician to Outpatients, University College Hospital, London
Education - MD, University College London
Life event - Arrived in Australia
1889 - 1890
Career position - First Resident Medical Surgeon, Hospital for Sick Children, Brisbane
Career position - Chief Medical Officer, Hobart Hospital, Tasmania
1891 - 1893
Career position - Resident Medical Surgeon, Hospital for Sick Children, Brisbane
1893 -
Career position - In private practice
1893 - 1920
Career position - Honorary Visiting Physician, Hospital for Sick Children, Brisbane
Education - Diploma in Public Health, University of Cambridge
Career position - President, Queensland Branch, British Medical Association
1906 - 1936
Career position - Visiting Medical Officer, Diamantina Hospital for Incurable Diseases, Queensland
1916 - 1918
Career position - Served with Royal Army Medical Corps
1920 - 1941
Career position - Honorary Consultant, Brisbane Children's Hospital
1926 - 1937
Career position - First Director of Infant Welfare (part-time), Queensland
1927 -
Career position - Director (part-time), Central Tuberculosis Clinic, Queensland
Career position - President, Entomological Society of Queensland
Life event - Retired

Published resources


  • Musgrave, A., Bibliography of Australian Entomology, 1775-1930, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales., Sydney, 1932, 380 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Thearle, John, 'Turner, Alfred Jefferis (1861-1947), Paediatrician and Entomologist', in John Ritchie (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 12, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1990, pp. 288-289. Also available at Details

Conference Papers

  • Thearle, Michael J., 'Dr. Alfred Jefferis Turner - a Man Before His Time', in Harold Attwood and R. W. Home (eds), Patients, Practitioners and Techniques: Second National Conference on Medicine and Health in Australia, Melbourne, 1984, Medical History Unit and Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne, a, Melbourne, 1984. Details

Journal Articles

  • Mac Keith, F. and Sumner, R., 'Millais Culpin's Brisbane letters 1981 - 1892', Brisbane History Group Sources, vol. 4, 1989, pp. 75-138. Details
  • Mackerras, I., 'A. J. Turner Memorial Address', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, vol. 60, 1948, pp. 69-79. Details
  • Mackerras, I. M., 'Alfred Jefferis Turner and Amateur Entomology in Australia', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, vol. lx, no. 7, 1948, pp. 69-88. Details


  • Thearle, Michael John, 'Dr Alfred Jefferis Turner 1861 - 1947: his contribution to medicine in Queensland', M.D, Department of Child Health, University of Queensland, 1987, 402 pp. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Common, I. F. B., 'Landmarks in the taxonomy of Lepidoptera', in Highley, E. and Taylor, R. W. (eds), Australian systematic entomology: a bicentenary perspective, CSIRO, Collingwood, Vic., 1983, pp. 20-33. Details

Rosanne Walker and Helen Cohn