On a related note, I wonder if it was Dr Stone who set my great-great-grandmother's two broken legs? I may never know.
Doctor Emma Constance Stone (1856-1902) epitomizes the need for Women in History month. She’s remembered in the places where they remember women who did stuff, such as these commemorative stamps but not really elsewhere. And yet she was the first female registered doctor in Australia (1890). She was the one who broke the mould, the one who made it possible for the second to say, ‘I can be a doctor. Of course I can. Look at Doctor Stone.’
She worked one day a week at the free dispensary in Collingwood, which was Doctor Singleton’s mission. Singleton was a great supporter of women in medicine. Can you imagine the difference it made for the female patients to see her? I think her work there inspired her to join with other women, including her sister Clare, also a doctor by now, to establish the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women in 1899. This must have been influential in women’s health and well-being and I bet the process was hard fought.
Her daughter became a doctor, too (I don’t have her name) as well as her neice Mary, and so there it goes into the second generation.
I stumbled across Doctor Stone when I was researching Melbourne in 1880, for a Sherlock Holmes story set there, and knew immediately she would have to feature in the story I was working on. It was fun trying to bring such an amazing woman to life. I also discovered another Constance Stone, who worked as a nurse in the Second World War. I’m not sure if they are related, but I like to think there are many Stone doctors out there.
This First Women are vital to all of us. They set an example, and they show that it is possible. It can be done.