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Alexander, Lilian Helen (1861–1934)

One of the first women graduates of the Melbourne University, Dr. Lilian Helen Alexander, died at her home in Murphy street, South Yarra, on Thursday. Her body was cremated at the Fawkner Crematorium yesterday. She graduated bachelor of arts in 1880, and then planned to study for a medical degree. In face of general apathy toward the idea of women doctors, she, with a friend, Helen M. Sexton, decided to send a letter to the University Council asking to be admitted to the medical school. The two young women canvassed every member of the council, and received great help from the late Dr. Leeper, then warden of Trinity College. They inserted an advertisement in The Argus asking that any woman desiring to enter for the medical course at the University should communicate with them. They received replies from five women. After some discussion the council, with two dissentients, granted their request about a week before lectures began. Miss Alexander became a master of arts, a bachelor of medicine, and a bachelor of surgery, qualifying as a medical practitioner in 1893. She was a resident medical officer for some time at the Women's Hospital, Carlton. In September, 1896, she attended a meeting convened by Dr. Constance Stone for the formation of the Queen Victoria Hospital, and became an original staff member of the hospital. She concentrated on surgical work until her resignation in 1917, when she visited Europe. On her return she became honorary consultant to the hospital and a member of the advisory board. In 1931 she was elected president of the Victoria Medical Women's Society, of which she had been the first secretary in 1896. She was always interested in social work, art, literature, and the stage.

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'Alexander, Lilian Helen (1861–1934)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/alexander-lilian-helen-12770/text25750, accessed 20 June 2018.

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