Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Exhibitions

  • Where are the Women in Australian Science?

Biographical entry Doherty, Muriel Knox (1896 - 1988)

RRC

Born
19 July 1896
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died
29 September 1988
New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Nurse and Nurse educator

Summary

Muriel Knox Doherty began nursing in 1921 at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, New South Wales, and set up the first preliminary training school at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, 1933-1937. In her capacity as Matron in Charge she was the first nurse appointed to the rank of Squadron Leader in the Royal Australian Air Force, where she inaugurated the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service. After the Second World War she worked with displaced persons at Bergen Belsen concentration camp, as a member of United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. One of four founders of the New South Wales College of Nursing in 1949, she was also instrumental in the establishment of the Civilian Nursing Services Bureau, and co-authored the first Australian text book for nurses, Modern Practical Nursing Procedures, 1944.

Details

Muriel Knox Doherty was born 19 July 1896 in Victoria. She began her nursing career in 1921 at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, New South Wales. Completing her training in 1925, she received the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's Sir Alfred Roberts Medal for General Nursing Proficiency. In 1930 she gained a Sister Tutor Diploma, Kings College of Household and Social Sciences, University of London, UK. On her return to Australia she set up the first preliminary training school at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, 1933-1937. She served in the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War and in the Services from 1935 to 1946. She was the first nurse appointed to the rank of Squadron Leader in her capacity as Matron in Charge in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) later rising to the rank of Wing Commander. This work was recognised by the award of the Royal Red Cross Medal (1st Class) presented by King George VI in London in 1945. A member of United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) she was also involved with displaced persons in the immediate post war period in the capacity of Chief Nurse and Principal Matron at Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany. In 1946 Knox Doherty was posted to Poland and assisted with rehabilitation and nursing education.

Her interest in the growth of the nursing profession is evidenced in the strategic and developmental activities in which she took part, particularly in New South Wales. She was a member of the Australasian Trained Nurses Association; one of four founders of the New South Wales College of Nursing in 1949 and a Foundation Fellow, 1949-1988. She was also a member of the Institute of Hospital Matrons (NSW & ACT). She assisted in the inauguration of the National Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee, becoming one of its first two Vice-Presidents and was instrumental in the establishment of the Civilian Nursing Services Bureau. She co-authored the first Australian text book for nurses, Modern Practical Nursing Procedures, along with Marjorie Bernice Sirl and Olive Isabel Ring (Sydney: Dymocks Book Arcade, 1944). Knox Doherty died 29 September 1988 in New South Wales.

Events

1914
Gained St John Ambulance First Aid Home Nursing Certificate
1914 - 1917
School Nurse and untrained teacher at Abbotsleigh School in Wahroonga, New South Wales
1917 - 1919
Red Cross No. 6 Voluntary Aid Detachment (full time)
1919 - 1921
Teacher (relief) Abbotsleigh (and home duties)
5 November 1921
Commenced nurse training at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney
1925
Charge Nurse for six months and then appointed Sister at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
1930 - 1932
Private nursing work in London and Europe
1932 - 1933
Tutor sister course at Kings College, University of London
1933 - 1937
Sister Tutor at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and established the first Preliminary Training School
1935
Volunteer for the Australian Army Nursing Service
1937 - 1939
Sister Tutor at the Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney
1939
Called up as Sister Clerk to the Office of the Principal Matron with the Australian Army Nursing Service
1940
Transferred to RAAF and was First Squadron Leader / Matron-in-Charge and later Principal Matron and Wing Commander at the No. 3 RAAF Hospital in Richmond, NSW. Established the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service in New South Wales
1940 - 1943
Member of the Kelly Committee for the Reorganisation of the Nursing Profession
1945 - 1946
Demobilised and appointed to United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). Served in Germany (Belsen) and as the Chief Nurse to the Public Health Consultant in Poland
1946
Returned to Australia
1955 - 1957
Travelled extensively in Europe
1957 - 1961
Lived in Australia
1961 - 1965
Lived in UK
1966
Returned to Australia and lived in Sydney until her death in 1988

Archival resources

Australian War Memorial Research Centre

  • Letters of Muriel Knox Doherty (Matron), 1946 - 1983, PR91/169; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Scrapbooks, letters and papers of Muriel Knox Doherty (Matron, RRC, AANS and RAAF Nursing Service), 1914 - 1954, 3DRL/2518; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Papers of Muriel Knox Doherty, 1946 - 1952, MS 1518; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Books

  • Doherty, Muriel Knox, and Cornell, Judith and Russell, R. Lynette (eds), Letters from Belsen 1945: an Australian Nurse's Experiences with the Survivors of War, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW, 2000, 240 pp. Details
  • Murray, James, Lifework: Heroes of Australian Health, Focus Publishing for [Medical Benefits Fund of Australia Ltd], Edgecliff, NSW, 1997, 160 pp. Details

Edited Books

  • Doherty, Muriel Knox and Russell, R. Lynette (eds), The Life and Times of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia, New South Wales College of Nursing, Sydney, 1996, 352 pp. Details
  • Doherty, Muriel Knox and Russell, R. Lynette (eds), Off the Record - The Life and Times of Muriel Knox Doherty 1896-1988: an Autobiography, New South Wales College of Nursing, Glebe, NSW, 1996, 117 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

Digital resources

Title
Muriel Knox Doherty - United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration
Type
Image

Details

Title
Signature of Muriel Knox Doherty
Type
Image

Details

Title
Muriel Knox Doherty
Type
Image

Details

Australian Nursing History Project, Judith Cornell