Vale Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE.
Dame Elisabeth has been an inspiration and major supporter of the AWA
throughout its entire 80+ years. For the AWA's 60th anniversary she
honoured the AWA with the US flag that had had flown over capitol hill (and
which has been on display in the RCH since she presented it to us) and at
our 80th anniversary we honoured her for her life-long commitment to the
hospital, her tireless support to the AWA, and her supreme fostering of the
Below is the extract from the program of the 80th AWA Independence Day
Ball which honoured her.
HONOURING A VERY SPECIAL WOMAN,
DAME ELISABETH MURDOCH
'One's chief obligation is to think about other people and how one can
This quote from Dame Elisabeth Murdoch summarises the values she already
possessed when she first visited the Children's Hospital in the late 1920s.
As an adolescent witnessing the frailty of tiny babies after surgery and
their ill prospects for a future, the young Elisabeth was compelled to
help. She began volunteering at the hospital. By 1933, at 24 years old,
Elisabeth became a member of the hospital's Management Committee.
Elisabeth Murdoch became well-known for her compassionate, engaged
approach to all aspects of the hospital's administration. She worked
tirelessly to bolster the hospital through the personnel and supply
shortages that threatened the hospital's services during the Second World
War and became a major force behind the success of the Good Friday Appeal.
In 1954, after over 20 years of volunteering on the hospital's Management
Committee, she became its president and persevered in the design and
fundraising of a brand new facility through its eventual opening as the
Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) in 1963. But her support ― indeed the
Murdoch family support ― of the hospital did not stop there.
With significant backing from her son Rupert, Dame Murdoch was
instrumental in launching the Murdoch Institute for Research into Birth
Defects, now an internationally-esteemed institution and the RCH's research
partner specialising in child health and genetically inherited diseases.
Throughout Elisabeth Murdoch's long service with the Children's Hospital,
the women of the AWA were present and active by her side, sharing her
values and vision. It can be said that Dame Elisabeth Murdoch has
personified the best qualities that the AWA aspires to offer, choosing not
to take her good fortune for granted but use it for the benefit of others
less fortunate than herself. This attitude, combined with seemingly
boundless energy, has made Dame Elisabeth Murdoch one of the most
remarkable and inspirational philanthropists in Australian history.
For this, we, the women of the American Women's Auxiliary, honour her.