Sister Kenny records in the Queensland State Archives

Following the recent John Oxley Library blog entry posted on 31 March 2011 on Sister Elizabeth Kenny, I have compiled a blog entry which highlights complimentary records from Queensland State Archives’ collection.

Staff of the Elizabeth Kenny Clinic, Brisbane, c1935. Queensland State Archives Digital Image ID 3944.

Sister Kenny's treatments, involving hot baths and the encouragement of active movement and exercise of limbs, were not considered effective for the treatment of poliomyelitis (also known as infantile paralysis) by many contemporary medical practitioners. QSA Item ID291328 includes a copy of a pamphlet titled Concerning the Disease Poliomyelitis which was prepared by Elizabeth Kenny ‘for the consideration of the Medical Officers of the Children’s Bureau of the Federal Security Agency, in the United States of America, and Others’.

In 1934, Sister Kenny opened clinics to treat long-term poliomyelitis cases in Townsville and Brisbane. In June 1934, a clinic was opened in Brisbane on the corner of George and Charlotte Streets. This establishment was named The Elizabeth Kenny Clinic and Training School (also known as the Sister Kenny Clinic). The Brisbane clinic attracted local, interstate and overseas patients. Later, Sister Elizabeth Kenny also worked in the United Kingdom and America treating poliomyelitis patients.

Various testimonials and letters of thanks to Sister Kenny are included in correspondence files in Queensland State Archives' collection. Two examples are included below:

Letter of appreciation from Nell Robertson, Townsville 24 July 1933. QSA Digital Image 2901

Nell Robertson, a patient of Elizabeth Kenny, states ‘Since you commenced treatment in April my leg has lengthened one and a quarter inches and I can now use the ball of my foot and move my toes.’

Testimonial from Dr V F O'Neill in Townsville, 24 July 1933. QSA Digital Image 2902

Dr VF O’Neill of Townsville states ‘I have only the heartiest congratulations to offer Sister Kenny upon her wonderful achievement in this case, which forms one of a successful group under her care in Townsville.’

Sister Kenny's treatment method was examined as part of a Royal Commission on the investigation of Infantile Paralysis in 1937. Correspondence (QSA Item ID291328) relating this Royal Commission and Sister Kenny's work in the United States is located in Queensland State Archives' collection.

Niles Elvery
Manager Public Access
Queensland State Archives
www.archives.qld.gov.au

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This is Awesome information wjust the bits i need for my Assignment :)

A close friend of mine who is now 92 was a Polio patient of Sr Kenny when she was 12. I would love to know how to track down photographs of the patients from around C1930 to see if my friend and I can together look for potential photographs potentially one of her from back then..

Hi SusanThank you for your question. Could you please fill in our online enquiry form and our reference librarians will look into this for you. Here is the link – http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask-usRegardsMyles Sinnamon – blog editor

I am looking for a polio record for Judith Ellen Dunn, born around 1947, somewhere around Homehill, Queensland. Could anyone help me? Thanks, Dr. Rhett Davy

Hi Dr DavyThese records would most probably be held with Queensland State Archives - https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/arts/heritage/archives/collection .RegardsMyles Sinnamon - blog editor

I am looking for a polio record for Robert Newton, born around 1935, somewhere around Brisbane, Queensland. Could anyone help me? ThanksBrett

Hi BrettThere may be information at Queensland State Archives. There may also be access restrictions depending the year of the records. You can contact Queensland State Archives via their website - https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/arts/heritage/archives/schoolsRegards… Sinnamon - blog editor

I was lucky enough to be treated at Toowoomba in the early 50’s. I would like to have my records for my family history. Thank you.

I was lucky enough to be treated at Toowoomba in the early 50’s. I would like to have my records for my family history. Thank you.

I was lucky enough to be treated at Toowoomba in the early 50’s. I would like to have my records for my family history. Thank you.