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Williams, Fanny Eleanor (c. 1884 - 1963)


c. 1884
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Serologist, Bacteriologist and Nurse


Fanny Eleanor Williams (known as Eleanor) was one of the first three staff members of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 1920. She co-authored or authored more than fifty publications in her career and specialised in research on dysentery, influenza, hydatids and snake venom. She played a key role in the development of the first Australian blood bank. Not only a researcher, she was also responsible for the training of staff (including Sir Macfarlane Burnet) and, later in life, general organisation of WEHI. According to Sir Macfarlane Burnet and Dr Ian Wood, 'she was the channel through which serological techniques developed in Melbourne'. Miss Williams was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross on 1 January 1917 for her bacteriological work in the Australian Imperial Force. She was appointed MBE - The Order of the British Empire - Member (Civil) - 13 June 1957, for her work at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Work Rewarded by the Queen', The Age, 19 June, 1957,,2552760; 'Williams, Fanny Eleanor (1890? - 1963), Biographical Entry', in Bright Sparcs, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 2002,; Fenner, Frank (ed.), History of Microbiology in Australia, Australian Society for Microbiology, Canberra, 1990. p.562..

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