Dr Helen Mayo OBE

People of Adelaide


Posted on 01 Sep 2019

Adelaide living suffrage anniversary helen mayo

Dr Helen Mayo (1878-1967) was a prominent medical practitioner. The second woman to gain a medical degree from the University of Adelaide, in 1902 she was employed as house surgeon at the Adelaide Hospital, then sought experience in tropical medicine and midwifery in London, Dublin and Delhi.

Returning to Adelaide in 1906, Mayo entered private practice, became a clinical bacteriologist at the Adelaide Hospital and later established its vaccine department. She was the first woman to be awarded a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Adelaide, and in 1914 became the first woman university councillor in Australia.

An advocate for educating women for motherhood, Mayo’s efforts led to the Mothers’ and Babies’ Health Association being formed in 1927, which eventually served the whole state.

In 2017 the City of Adelaide named Helen Mayo Park, located in Bonython Park/Tulya Wardli (Park 27), to honour this progressive medical pioneer.

Celebrating 125 years of women's suffrage in South Australia.

Image: State Library of South Australia, B 25677/14, circa 1900