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Frances Gillam Holden Frances Gillam Holden i(A24413 works by)
Also writes as: Australienne ; Lyra Australia
Born: Established: 9 Feb 1843 Brisbane Water National Park, Gosford, Central Coast, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 21 Aug 1924 Burwood, Ashfield - Burwood area, Sydney Inner West, Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Female
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Frances Gillam Holden was the daughter of police magistrate Alfred Holden and his wife Jane Osborne. The family lived at Newport for several years and moved in 1849 to Penshurst on the Paterson River. Frances Holden was home schooled and was an enthusiastic reader from an early age.

Working as a governess for many years, she entered the nursing profession at the age of 31 and worked privately and at Hobart General Hospital before becoming Superintendent of the Children's Hospital, Sydney, from 1880 to 1887. During this time she published works on medicine and nursing training as well as verse and prose. Her Woman's Ignorance and the World's Need: a plea for physiology was published in 1883. Her advocacy of medical and social reform, and her interest in the women's movement, however, brought her into conflict with the male medical establishment. In 1887 she was dismissed after a dispute with prominent Sydney doctors, but she continued to lecture and write on nursing and hygiene.

Some of her articles were published in the feminist journal The Dawn. The journal was published by the Dawn Club, an organisation formed to support women's rights, which she founded in 1888 with Louisa Lawson. Holden also contributed verse and articles to newspapers and journals, sometimes using the pseudonyms 'Australienne' and 'Lyra Australia'. During the 1880s she was a prominent contributor to the Sydney Mail, where her articles appeared under the name 'Australienne'.

During World War I, although suffering from typhoid, Holden worked for the Red Cross Society, kindergartens and the war effort.

For further information on Holden see Alison Bashford's article 'Frances Gillam Holden and the Children's Hospital Dispute, 1887: Woman's Sphere, Feminism and Nursing' (Women's History Review 2.3, 1993).

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Last amended 24 Mar 2011 19:38:25
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