Member Profile Members

Charter Member – Dr Judith Dey AO MBBS

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Dr Judith Dey AO MBBS (11.9.1923 – 2011)

Dr Judith Dey was one of our Charter Members of the Zonta Club of Sydney and was a member of the club for over 40 years.  She held many offices within Zonta, including Club President 1971 – 1973, Inaugural District Governor 1974 – 1976 and from 1982 to 1990 she served as a member of the International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Award Committee.

Born in 1923, she sat her leaving certificate in 1939 and won the 5th Year prize in chemistry from Wenona School. Her father considered her too young to go to university, so she stayed on and sat the leaving certificate again, this time winning prizes in geology and chemistry.  She then entered Sydney University, and studied medicine.  She graduated in 1946 with honours.  In 1950 she became Chief Medical Resident of the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, a position her father had held before her in 1916.

After three years in private practice in Macquarie Street, Dr Dey entered the field of developmental disabilities, first becoming medical officer with what is now the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and later was the first Medical Superintendent of the Lorna Hodgkinson Sunshine Home in Gore Hill. 

In 1965, Dr Dey joined NSW Health Commission and became Medical Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of Grosvenor Hospital .

Dr Dey was a member of the Royal College of Paediatricians for 45 years, and was a world expert in mental disability.  She believed in early stimulation for babies with Downs Syndrome and other developmental disabilities, and was reported to be heartened by many changes in treatments within her career.

Despite her busy professional life, Dr Dey was also a Charter member of the Zonta Club of Sydney.  She served as Club President from 1970-71 and was appointed the first District Governor of District 16 (Australian and New Zealand) in 1974.

She was made an Order of Australia in 1987 for her work in Paediatrics as well as her involvement with Wenona School and Zonta. 

When she retired and moved to Bowral, she continued in her active service, being a volunteer at the Bradman Museum.  She was also involved in the Bowral Show Society, becoming a Senior Steward.

Dr Judith Dey attending Zonta International Dinner honouring Gaby Kennard 1993

(Ref https://www.smh.com.au/national/paediatrician-ahead-of-her-time-as-feminist-activist-20110428-1dyle.html

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