HerStory Archive

ARDILL, Katie Louisa

Born: 3/8/1886

Died: 3/1/1955

Special Achievements:

Katie Ardill Brice was an Australian doctor. She was the first woman to be appointed as a divisional surgeon in New South Wales, and a year later was among the first female doctors when she joined the British Expeditionary Forces in Egypt in 1915.  Her application to serve with the Australian Expeditionary Forces was rejected because she was a woman. At that time, Australian government policy prohibited women from service, compelling them to join overseas units instead. Katie therefore travelled to Britain via Egypt to become one of the first women doctors in the British Expeditionary Forces field services. Ardill served as a doctor for four years during World War I, respectively in Britain, France and Egypt. She was the first woman doctor to serve in a military hospital in France and the first woman to see military service in Egypt.  Katie Ardill Brice was also the first woman in New South Wales to serve as chairperson of St Johns Ambulance Association.  A graduate in medicine from the University of Sydney in 1913, she lectured for the association in 1913 and joined the St John Ambulance Brigade in 1920. She was later on the association's executive committee from 1938, was deputy chair in 1947-48 before serving as chair in 1950-55.

Additional Information:

Shortly after her return to Australia, Katie Ardill Brice established a gynaecological practice in Macquarie Street, Sydney. She later began to offer a free clinic from her Macquarie Street rooms for wives and children of servicemen. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1941, was admitted to the Order of St John of Jerusalem as a serving sister in 1938, and then created dame of grace of the order in 1952. In Britain in 1952, she studied methods of treatment for the atomic blast.


Resources

  • Image - Katie Ardill-Brice as a child

    Image courtesy of Gwyneth Collard