Dr. Claire Isbister OBE, Pediatrician 1915 - 2008
Clair Isbister's grandfather, Joseph Beet, came to Australia from Devon in 1882 as a schoolteacher. Clair, the eldest of three children, was named Jean Sinclair Paton. The family moved to a banana farm, then to Sydney for the children's education.
Clair attended St George Girls High, where she was dux, and won scholarships to Sydney University. She met another medical studentJames Isbister with whom she graduated in 1938.They both went to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital but as resident doctors were not allowed to marry she transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Camperdown. They were married in 1940.As a mother of four, Isbister worked at Royal Alexandra and for Tresillian family care.
In 1948 Isbister became consultant Paediatrician at Royal North Shore, and then at the Blue Mountains Hospital. She stayed at Royal North Shore until retiring in 1980. Her study on infections determined that newborns were contracting infections from the hospital rather than their mothers. It led to significant changes in practice at maternity hospitals.She gave weekly talks on ABC Radio, speaking on many medical topics, but mostly on childbirth, child care and breastfeeding.She also became an authority on allergies and asthma in children.Isbister's studies of lactating mothers resulted in changes in management and instruction in breastfeeding to novice mothers.
Clair Isbister was made OBE in 1969 for services to mothers and babies, and CBE in 1976 for services to medicine.
Professor Robyn Ward
Robyn Ward is Professor of Medicine at Prince of Wales Hospital Sydney. She is a medical oncologist, who has been active in cancer research in Australia since 1991. Over that time, she has established and maintained an independent and highly successful biomedical and translational research group based at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. In doing so, she has achieved a significant record of scholarship, research and academic leadership in translational and clinical cancer research. Her work has been continuously funded by peer reviewed grants, and has also attracted considerable commercial funding. She has authored 110 papers published in international peer reviewed research journals
Professor Ward has been responsible for the leadership of many clinical research activities within the complex environment of the public health system, including the establishment of a Familial Cancer service at St Vincent’s Hospital. In 2004, she established the Centre for Rational Cancer Therapeutics, a consortium of cancer care specialists and researchers across the South East Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service
She has also championed the development of a web based comprehensive clinical oncology information system (CI-SCaT), and she is now the Program Director of the CI-SCaT program, the centrepiece of the NSW Cancer Institute information mandate. Robyn has accepted the role of Professor of Medicine at Prince of Wales Hospital, a major teaching hospital of the University of NSW.
Dr. Gwenyth (Gwen) Fleming MBBS, F.R.A.C.P. (1916 – 2011)
One of our prominent St. Georgians, Gwen Fleming passed away 2011 at the age of 95 a trailblazer for female physicians.Gwen Fleming’s remarkable life began in Taree on June 9, 1916 as the third eldest of John and Caroline Lusby’s six children. Her father, a schoolmaster in the Classics, insisted his three daughters be educated to the full reach of their potential.
Gwen achieved her Leaving Certificate at St. George Girls High School, Kogarah, in 1932 and her Baccalaureate in 1933
A fine Latin scholar, Gwen was one of the first women Doctors to pass through the University of Sydney, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1939.
Fleming was the first female Major in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps and her specialty was thoracic medicine. In 1945 Gwen was one of the first women admitted as a member of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and in 1973, she was made a Fellow.
Gwen wed Justin Fleming in Sydney in 1946, and raised six children in Wollstonecraft. In 1974 Gwen’s husband died and she became the breadwinner, joining a cancer practice in Macquarie Street and taking a post teaching medicine at St Vincent's Hospital, a demanding regime she continued until she was 77 years old.
Mara Moustafine is a writer and researcher whose career has encompassed diverse roles with an international focus. She has worked as a diplomat and intelligence analyst for the Australian government, a foreign affairs journalist, a business executive in Asia and as national director of a global human rights organisation.
Born in Harbin, China into a family with Jewish, Russian and Tatar roots, Mara grew up in Sydney, Australia where she emigrated with her family in 1959. Bilingual in Russian and English, she majored in government and literature, graduating with a BA (Hons) from Sydney University and later a MA in International Relations from the Australian National University.
Her first book, Secrets and Spies: The Harbin Files was published by Random House Australia in 2002. It tells the story of her family’s life over 50 turbulent years in China and her quest to uncover the fate of relatives who returned to the Soviet Union in the 1930s and were caught in Stalin’s purges. Secrets and Spies was awarded a NSW Premier’s Literary Award in 2003 and shortlisted in 2004 for the Kiriyama Prize and Australia’s National Biography Award.
Michelle Jan Ford MBE
Michelle Ford was an Australian long distance freestyle and butterfly swimmer of the 1970s and 1980s, who won a gold medal in the 800 m freestyle at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. She set two world records in her career, and was the first Australian woman to win individual Olympic medals in two distinct specialized strokes.Ford, the third of four children grew up in Sans Souci and after learning to swim at the age of 6, she swam the 100yd freestyle in 61.5s, at the age of 12, the fastest time ever set by a swimmer at such an age.
Michelle was an inaugural member of the IOC Athletes Commission and recent Director of the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Sports Foundation and Swimming Australia. She is currently a Director of the Organising Committee for the 2009 world Masters Games in Sydney.
She has worked for the Olympic campaigns bids and been Director of Sport at the University and Ecole Polytechnique of Lausanne Switzerland until 1998 when she took up a position with the Organising Committee for the Sydney 2000 Games. Michelle has been instrumental with her work with the Pacific Island nations, promoting social wellbeing and building a more solid foundation for their sporting and educative organisations. She has served as a member of the Active After-school Communities sub-committee for the Australian Government to encourage children around Australia towards a more active lifestyle.