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Biographical entry Andrews, Shirley (1915 - 2001)


6 November 1915
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
14 September 2001


Shirley Andrews was Senior Biochemist at the Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital in Victoria from 1954 to 1977. She was responsible for developing ways to safely use lithium to treat manic depressive illnesses and discovered that bromureide drugs, a widely used tranquiliser, caused mental illness symptoms. This lead to a major reduction in the use of bromureide drugs.

Andrews was also involved in the early struggle for equal rights for Aborigines and was a founding member and secretary of the Council for Aboriginal Rights (Victoria) - Australia's first such organisation. She also had a great passion for dance and music, performing in many ballets and dances and was a founding member of the Victorian Bush Music Club (later known as the Victorian Folk Music Club).



Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at the University of Melbourne
1939 - 1946
Career position - Caroline Kaye Scholar in Veterinary Biochemistry at the Veterinary Research Institute, University of Melbourne
1947 - 1953
Career position - Biochemist at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
1954 - 1977
Career position - Senior Biochemist at Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital, Melbourne
Award - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) received for service to Australian folklore

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Oral History Collection

  • Interview with Shirley Andrews, former biochemist and folk dance teacher [sound recording] / Interviewer, Wendy Lowenstein., 1993 - 1994, ORAL TRC 3111/1; Series: Communists and the Left in the arts and community oral history project; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


Annette Alafaci