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Mann, Ida Caroline (1893 - 1983)

Professor Dame, DBE

6 February 1893
West Hamstead, London, England
November 1983
Alternative Names
  • Gye, Caroline (pseudonym)
  • Gye, Ida (married name)


Dame Ida Mann was a distinguished English ophthalmologist whose long-term association with Australia began when she moved to Perth, Western Australia, after World War II. She diagnosed a trachoma epidemic amongst Indigenous people in the Kimberleys and traveled extensively in Western Australia in order to examine and treat Indigenous people with trachoma. Mann became convinced that better housing and sanitation, rather than administration of antibiotics, would improve this health crisis. She was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 14 June 1980 for services to the welfare of Aboriginal people.


Ida Mann was educated at the London School of Medicine for Women and St Mary's Hospital. She qualified Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS), Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians (LRCP) and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB BS) in 1920 and Doctor of Science (DSc) in 1924. She was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in 1927. In London Mann worked at the Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson Hospital for Women, the Central London Eye Hospital, and the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital. She flew to Melbourne in 1939 to present a paper to the Ophthalmological Society of Australia. Mann became Reader in Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford in 1941. She was Titular Professor there from January 1945 until 30 September 1947. Mann was also a Fellow of St Hugh's College, Oxford.

Mann resigned from Oxford and emigrated to Australia in 1949 with her husband, Professor William Gye (whom she married in December 1944). Prof Gye died in 1952. Mann then began a four year investigation into the nature and extent of trachoma amongst Indigenous people in the Kimberleys. These studies also took her to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands.

Mann published extensively in the area of eye anatomy and eye disease, publishing many scientific articles and several books. She also wrote on her travels and findings relating to trachoma, published under her married name or pseudonym, Caroline Gye. These were China 13 and The cockney and the crocodile.

Mann received an honorary Doctor of Science from Murdoch University (Perth, Western Australia) in 1983. She died later the same year at the age of ninety.

Sources used to compile this entry: Radi, Heather (ed.), 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Women's Redress Press, Sydney, 1988, 258 pp. Also available at;;;

Archival resources

JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia

  • Papers of Ida Mann, 1893 - 1983, ACC 3673A; JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Papers of Ida Mann, 1967, MS 2023; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Clare Land

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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