Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Elizabeth Austin

Twenty exceptional women were been inducted earlier this year on to the 2012 Victorian Honour Roll of Women as a part of International Women’s Day activities. Among them was Elizabeth Austin.   A Victorian pioneer and philanthropist during the late nineteenth century, driven to improve the lives of older and poorer women.
A prominent Winchelsea settler, Elizabeth was an outstanding Victorian pioneer and philanthropist during the late nineteenth-century, driven to improve the lives of older and poorer women.
Her influence at a time before social security, and welfare provisions were provided by government, continues to benefit women and the community today.
Elizabeth and her husband Thomas built Winchelsea’s imposing Barwon Park mansion in 1871. Thomas died there that same year and in her following year’s Elizabeth Austin made significant contributions to the Victorian community.
Elizabeth founded the Austin Hospital for incurables – now the Austin Hospital – at Heidelberg in 1882. She persuaded the Victorian government to donate land and she donated £6,000 for building works. The Austin Hospital is now a major health institution, world renowned for its research and specialist work.
In 1889 Elizabeth established the Austin cottages in Geelong for older servants and disadvantaged widows. The buildings were heritage-listed by the National Trust in 1978.
The Austin Hospital continues to serve the community and has recently opened the Olivia Newton John wellness centre

This story can also be in the Autumn/Winter edition of Network magazine, published by Office of Women's Policy, Dept of Human Services, Victoria.
Read more about Elizabeth at the Australian Dictionary of Biography

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