Kenny, Elizabeth, 1880-1952

Identity area

Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Kenny, Elizabeth, 1880-1952

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

  • Kenny, Elizabeth, 1886-1952

Other form(s) of name

  • Kenny, Sister, 1886-1952
  • Kenny, Sister, 1880-1952

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Description area

Dates of existence



Elizabeth Kenny was a self-trained nurse who started her career on the Darling Downs in Queensland before serving as a staff nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service in 1915. She was promoted to Sister in 1917 and continued to use this title after her she left the army. She became well-known for her controversial clinical management of poliomyelitis and cerebal palsy in children that she cared for in her clinic in Townsville from 1932. Although strongly opposed by many in the medical profession, her treatments became popular as the results proved more positive than traditional methods of immobilization. She became a cult figure around the world, particularly in North America where she started many clinics during the poliomyelitis epidemics of the 1940s. She died in Toowoomba in 1952. A film about her life, Sister Kenny premiered in 1946.


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Authority record identifier

AU NLA 35266669; US DLC 80037749

Institution identifier

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised, FF, 04-Jun-2020.




Ross Patrick (1983). 'Kenny, Elizabeth (1880-1952)'. Australian Dictionary of Biography, accessed online 04-Jun-2020.

Maintenance notes

Revised with standardized form of name according to other rules, other forms of name, updated history, authority record identifiers and sources. Library of Congress authority has incorrect date of birth, have used as standardized form of name according to other rules. FF, 04-Jun-2020.

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