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Biographical entry Mackenzie, Helen Pearl (1913 - 2009)


6 October 1913
Fusanchin, Korea
18 September 2009
Kew, Victoria, Australia
Physician and Missionary


Helen Pearl MacKenzie, a child of Presbyterian missionaries, completed her medical degree at the University of Melbourne in 1938. She was at the Queen Victoria Hospital 1940-1944, where she went 'realising the need for a woman doctor to learn something of women's problems'. She later worked as Superintendent of the Australian Presbyterian Mission Hospital in Pusan Korea from 1952-1975, where her sister, Catherine Mackenzie, was matron. Both sisters were appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1962 in recognition of their devoted services to medicine and nursing. In 1944 both sisters began learning Chinese and Helen got permission from wartime authorities to leave the Queen Victoria Hospital to gain experience in a general practice. They arrived in China in early 1946, working under the aegis of the Red Cross, also working in a language school and continuing their medical work up to June 1950, seven months after the Communists took control. They returned to Korea in 1952, where Helen established the Il Sin Women's Hospital, training doctors in obstetrics and nurses in midwifery. This hospital now delivers over 10,000 babies a year.

In October 2002, she was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Mackenzie, Helen, Mackenzie, Man of Mission: a Biography of James Noble Mackenzie (South Melbourne: Hyland House, 1995). Details

Newspaper Articles


Resource Sections

Helen Morgan & Rosemary Francis