Visiting Sister Kenny’s Memorial at Nobby Darling Downs Queensland
Dr John Tierney OAM, National Patron Polio Australia
Driving back from Brisbane to Newcastle recently, Pam and I took the inland route via the Darling Downs and there in the run-down hamlet of Nobby in rural Queensland, stood a modern brick building housing a memorial to the work of Sister Kenny, the pioneer of the most effective treatment for polio survivors in the first half of the last century.
For her ground-breaking work, Sister Kenny received many honours from the medical community overseas but nothing from Australia, where her treatments were opposed by the ‘experts’. It was only when her adopted daughter, who also became a polio therapist took the initiative, that this memorial was created by private donation and the support of the CWA.
Why the hamlet of Nobby? It was here on the rich soils of the Darling Downs, that the Kenny family finally settled and farmed at the turn of the twentieth century and where Sister Kenny grew up. The creators of the local memorial building have done her proud. As the photos show, around the building interior is memorabilia including large posters that are testament to the width and depth of her work for polio survivors world-wide and the international communities’ recognition of her contribution.
In one touching document is recorded stories about what Sister Kenny did for individual survivors, in their own words or that of their descendants. Sister Kenny died aged 72 in nearby Toowoomba in 1952 and so didn’t live to see the Salk vaccine largely rid the world of the scourge of polio.
Click here to find our more about the Sister Kenny Memorial.