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Matilda Jane Turnbull (1848–1924)

The death of Mrs. John Turnbull, which occurred at her home, Narambla, Toorak, on Wednesday night, will be deeply regretted by a wide circle of friends. For many years Mrs. Turnbull was an outstanding figure in Melbourne society, and perhaps no woman here has had a finer record of philanthropic service. When, owing to failing health, she retired from the office of president of the committee of the Children's Hospital in March of last year, it was said by one in a position to judge of the value and scope of her services, that "the women who come after her will have a very high standard of devotion and service to follow." Mrs. Turnbull attended her first meeting of the Children's Hospital Committee in May, 1899. She was appointed president in 1911, and held that office for 12 years. Hardly did a week pass without Mrs. Turnbull paying at least one visit to the hospital, in addition to the committee meetings, and the amount of money that she was responsible for bringing, directly or indirectly, to the hospital could never be estimated. Mrs. Turnbull gave liberally when she knew of things that were eminently desirable, if not absolutely essential, and so could not be obtained out of the hospital funds. Her chief interest was in pathological research, and more than any ordinary lay person she realised the value of original research into diseases peculiar to children. Her intelligent sympathy counted for much in this department of the hospital work.

Mrs. Turnbull was born at Geelong in 1848, her father being Mr. Alfred Woolley. She lived in Melbourne for most of her girlhood, and when she married the late Mr. John Turnbull went to Queensland, where her husband was associated with pastoral pursuits. They lived there for 15 years, then returning to Melbourne. Mrs. Turnbull has resided since 1906 in Toorak. She leaves five children – Mr. Richard Turnbull, Mr. Alfred Turnbull, who is at present in England; Mr. John Turnbull, Dr. Hume Turnbull, and Miss Jean Turnbull.

The meeting of the committee of the Children's Hospital was adjourned yesterday morning after a motion expressing deepest regret at the death of Mrs. Turnbull had been agreed to on the motion of the president (Mrs. Lauchlan Mackinnon), and seconded by the honorary treasurer (Miss Guthrie). The motion stated that the hospital had suffered an irreparable loss in the death of Mrs. Turnbull, who had proved herself a generous friend and a valued adviser.

Original publication

Citation details

'Turnbull, Matilda Jane (1848–1924)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Woolley, Matilda Jane

Geelong, Victoria, Australia


22 October, 1924 (aged ~ 76)
Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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