Mary Elizabeth Crawford
Mary Elizabeth Crawford
Date of Birth 17 December 1867
Place of Residence Nurses' Home Launceston Tasmania Australia
Spouses Name Hubert Wesley Orr
Childrens Names Margaret Allison & Hubert John Robert

Nurse Mary Elizabeth (Molly) Crawford was born in Kirkee, India on 17 Dec 1867, the eldest of 13 children of Robert Crawford and his wife Mary Parker. The family, with five children, came to Evandale before May 1877 when Catherine May (Kate) was born. Molly commenced her nursing training at the Launceston General Hospital on 1 Nov 1890 and received a certificate in Mar 1893. She then studied midwifery, graduating with first-class honours in Apr 1894.

Nurses Crawford and Button set up a private hospital at 19 Elizabeth Street, Launceston; in Oct 1896 they moved to 8 Welman Street. In 1897 Molly was on the committee endeavouring to establish the Queen Victoria Hospital for women. By Dec of that year her private hospital was closed as Molly was appointed Matron of the Queenstown Hospital. She was dismissed in Feb 1902 'for exercising petty tyranny'. The investigations led to a Royal Commission in Oct 1902 for alleged 'improper conduct' between Matron Crawford and Dr George Albert Walpole. Her sister Catherine, who also worked at the hospital, was one of many witnesses who gave evidence. Although four years of 'indiscreet familiarity' was proved, no evidence of 'improper relationship' was found to have occurred.

Molly left Queenstown in Feb 1902 and became Matron of Molong Hospital, NSW. In Mar 1903 she was appointed Matron of Lismore Hospital. Her daughter Margaret Allison Crawford-Orr was born on 31 May 1906. Under the name of Theresa Elizabeth Crawford, in Brisbane on 8 Jun 1907, Molly married dental surgeon Hubert Wesley Orr. Their son Hubert John Robert was born on 29 Sep 1909. They lived in Lismore and later in Manly, NSW. Molly was active in promoting nursing training and addressing infant and maternal mortality. Molly died of dementia on 18 May 1949 at the Gladesville Mental Hospital. Her husband returned to Lismore where he died in 1963.

Christine Gavin Jan 2012, Cathy Sullivan & Marion Sargent Nov 2012