• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0056

Kenny, Elizabeth

(1880 – 1952)
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 20 September, 1880, Warialda New South Wales Australia
  • Died 30 November, 1952, Toowoomba Queensland Australia
  • Occupation Health administrator, Nurse


Elizabeth Kenny developed a new treatment for infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis). Guided by Dr Aeneas McDonnell of Toowoomba, she developed a thorough knowledge of human musculature. [1]

Although Kenny never completed any nursing training or registered as a nurse, she opened a hospital at Clifton, near Toowoomba, in 1913. In 1915 she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) and completed 12 round sea voyages between England and Australia with the returning wounded. During this time she earned her promotion to Sister, a title she used all her life. [2]

During the 1930s she established clinics in Brisbane with the backing of the State government, but with opposition from the medical profession. In 1940 she moved to the United States of America where her methods were widely acclaimed and gradually accepted world wide. Kenny returned to Queensland in 1951 and died in Toowoomba on 30 November 1952.

[1] 200 Australian Women p. 124
[2] ibid


  • 2001 - 2001

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Published resources

Archival resources

  • Fryer Library, The University of Queensland
    • Elizabeth Kenny Papers
    • Rae William Dungan Papers
  • National Archives of Australia, National Office, Canberra
    • Application for Letters Patent for an invention by Elizabeth Kenny, titled - An improved transport stretcher
    • Application for Letters Patent for an invention by Elizabeth Kenny, titled - A surgical appliance for supporting the injured members of patients bodies during their transport
    • Elizabeth Kenny Clinic
    • AUTHOR Elizabeth Kenny : ADDRESS Sydney : TITLE OF WORK Infantile Paralysis and Cerebral Diplegia
    • AUTHOR Elizabeth Kenny : ADDRESS Nobby, Qld : TITLE OF WORK The Kenny Method of Treatment of Paralysis (Polio Myelitis or Infantile Paralysis, Spastic Paralysis and Birth Paralysis)
    • [1947 file - dark blue tab] Kenny, Elizabeth (Sister)
    • Supply of Agricultural and Scientific Information. Elizabeth Kenny Institute for Infantile Paralysis
    • KENNY Elizabeth : Service Number - Sister : Place of Birth - Warialda NSW : Place of Enlistment - N/A : Next of Kin - (Mother) KENNY M
  • Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection
    • Elizabeth Kenny - papers, 1936-1937

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) (1902 - 1948)
  • Related Women
    • Lawrence, Marjorie Florence (1909 - 1979)