VMWS: From 1896 to present
Times have changed since Dr Constance Stone, the first woman to practice medicine in Australia, founded the Victorian Medical Women’s Society in 1896. The vision of Dr Stone and the formidable ladies who joined her was to change the course of history, setting a benchmark for women’s health in Victoria and around the globe.
They were yet to have the right to vote but these women challenged conventions, empowered themselves and created the Victoria Hospital, a hospital that was run by women for women. At that time it was the first such hospital in Australia and one of only 3 hospitals in the world that had been founded by, managed by, and staffed by women.
The women doctors treated the poorest of women, gave out medicine free and were not paid for their services, which were in high demand. Two thousand patients presented in the first 3 months. To expand their services the women established the Queen’s Shilling Fund, asking every Victorian woman to donate a shilling to fund a new hospital. The Queen Victoria Hospital was born and by 1951 it was the biggest in the British Commonwealth.
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