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Jessie Maria Gunn (1862–1925)

Jessie Maria Gunn, who died in her 63rd year, at a private hospital in Sydney on the 5th ult., was married to the late Mr. J. A. Gunn at Brighton, Victoria, in 1886. At that time he was manager of Yalgogrin Station, and later of Borambola Station, subsequently taking up a property of his own at Wagga.

At the time of his marriage anthrax was causing dreadful mortality in many flocks in Riverina, and Mr. Gunn started investigations in the hope of producing a vaccine that would render sheep immune to the disease. In this work he was eminently successful, and later entered into partnership with the late Mr. McGarvie Smith, their vaccine, known as the McGarvie Smith and Gunn vaccine, quickly securing the very highest reputation throughout New South Wales as a preventive of the dread disease.

In all his early efforts, and in the subsequent years of success, Mrs. Gunn always assisted her husband in his laboratory work, and was familiar with the most minute details of the process. Shortly after his death she presented the formula for making the vaccine to the Government of New South Wales. It has been tested out at the Government Veterinary Research Station at Glenfield, and has been found to be completely successful, and although anthrax to-day is not the scourge that it used to be, the possession of this formula by the Government would be of the greatest value in case of a serious outbreak of the disease.

At the Veterinary Research Station is a Memorial Tablet to the late Mr. Gunn, and in the Gunn Wing of the building is a piece of apparatus of no little historic interest, viz., the original and somewhat primitive incubator used by the investigator and his wife in the first steps taken to produce cultures of the anthrax microbe. Even in her later years—her husband died in 1910—Mrs. Gunn always took a keen interest in scientific investigations, especially in those relating to the progress of agricultural pursuits.

Original publication

Citation details

'Gunn, Jessie Maria (1862–1925)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]




5 June, 1925 (aged ~ 63)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia