Avery, Leitha Mavis (1911-1993)

Field of activity
Nurse; Nurse administrator; Nurse advocate
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-1473720

Biographies

Mavis Avery enlisted with the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps on the outbreak of WWII and was on active service on hospital ship the for most of the war. In 1945 she returned to Australia, taking up the position of Professional Officer for Nursing with the Universities Commission. In 1951 she was appointed inaugural Secretary General to the Royal Australian Nursing Federation. In 1958 she took up the position of Chief Nursing Officer for Victoria with the Victorian Nursing Council.

Just six years after becoming a registered nurse and aged 31 years, Miss Avery was in the UK intending to take up a course of study at the Royal College of Nursing commencing in September of 1939. However, the outbreak of WWII caused her to change her plans and she enlisted with the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corp and she served to till the war ended five and a half years later. She was on active service in a hospital ship the for most of the time in the Middle East, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, India and England. She maintained contact with other QA nurses through the QA Nurse Association that met regularly for some years after the war in Melbourne.

In 1945 she returned to Australia and in June of that year took up the position of Professional Officer for Nursing with the Universities Commission. Under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Scheme the Commission was responsible for various forms of nurse training assessing their suitability particularly for ex service men and women.

Miss Avery began to make her mark more broadly in nursing, with her appointment as the inaugural Secretary General to the Royal Australian Nursing Federation in 1951. In the six years in which she held the appointment the Federation grew and developed and, importantly, became affiliated with the international nursing body, the International Council of Nurses.

Miss Avery's influence was channelled in another direction on her appointment as Chief Nursing Officer for Victoria with the Victorian Nursing Council. This was a new position created under the newly proclaimed Nurses Act and Regulations 1956. The Council had much wider powers than the Nurse Board that preceded it that extended to all branches of nursing with particular responsibility for education, training and registration of all nurses. The Council also advised the Minister of Health on all matters relating to nursing.

Energetic and enthusiastic in all she undertook, Miss Avery believed passionately in further education and development for nurses. She was at the forefront of many developments of the time that sought to improve conditions for nurses and to enhance their preparation. She recognized the need for change in order for the profession to be prepared for the demands being made on it for nursing services. Friends remember her as a forthright person with strong views and a great sense of humour; they recall that she could 'tell a good story'.

  • General nurse training at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne
  • Midwifery training at the Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne
  • Sister-in-charge of the Casualty Department at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne
  • Infant Welfare Certificate completed at the Victorian Baby Health Centres Association Training School
  • Assistant Matron in the Model Infant Welfare Babies Centre in Shoreditch
  • Registered Nurse in the casualty department of Kingston on Thames Hospital
  • In the UK for postgraduate study in public health and nursing administration at the Royal College of Nursing London, interrupted by the commencement of WWII
  • Service in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps in the Middle East, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, India and England, much of it on board the hospital ship
  • Professional Officer for Nursing with the Universities Commission
  • Florence Nightingale Scholarship to undertake Diploma of Nursing Administration
  • Diploma of Nursing Administration from the College of Nursing Australia
  • Secretary General of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation
  • Fellow of the College of Nursing, Australia
  • World Health Organisation Fellowship for a study tour of Canada, USA, Scandinavia & England
  • Chief Nursing Officer for Victoria

View the full record at Encyclopedia of Australian Science

Resources for Leitha Mavis Avery

Selected resources (9)

Encyclopedia of Australian Science

  1. Avery, Leitha Mavis (Mavis)
    Published: The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre
    Series: Encyclopedia of Australian Science
  2. A Professional Pilgrimage: a History of the Florence Nightingale Committee of Australia, 1946-1993
    Parkes, Merle E.
    Published: NSW College of Nursing, Burwood, 2002
  3. '5.30, Nurse!' The Story of the Alfred Nurses
    Paterson, Helen
    Published: History Books, Melbourne, 1996
  4. In Pursuit of Nursing Excellence: a History of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia 1949-1999
    Smith, Russel G.
    Published: Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1999
  5. Revolutions and Rosewater: the Evolution of Nurse Registration in Victoria, 1923-1973
    Minchin, Maureen Kathryn
    Published: Victorian Nursing Council, Melbourne, 1977
  6. Where are the Women in Australian Science?
    McCarthy, Gavan; Morgan, Helen; Smith, Ailie; van den Bosch, Alan
    Published: Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 2003
  7. Who's Who in Australia 1971
    Published: The Herald, Melbourne, 1971
  8. The Growth of a Profession: Nursing in Victoria 1930s - 1980s
    Bessant, Judith; Bessant, Bob
    Published: La Trobe University Press, Melbourne, 1991
  9. A Voice to be Heard: the First Fifty Years of the New South Wales College of Nursing
    Pratt, Rosalie and Russell, R. Lynette
    Published: Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2002

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  1. Family Notices
    The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Wednesday 3 February 1954 p 37 Family Notices
    ... James). BROWN (nee Carter): On Feb. 2, at K.E.M.H., to Joan and Leith--a daughter (Kerry Elaine). CHURCH ... .E.M.H. to Mavis and Chas— a daughter (Dorothy Helen). Both well. DELLAR: At Devonleigh, on Feb. 2, to Ila ... 630 words
    • Tagged as: DeLandgrafft L1
    • Text last corrected on 31 January 2014 by anonymous
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  2. Family Notices
    Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954) Thursday 28 December 1939 p 21 Family Notices
    ... Newman—a son. O'DONNELL (nee Mavis Raftery).—On the 25th of December, at Hutt street Private Hospital, to ... .A SMITH—HILL.—On the 5th of December, at Mile End, Mavis M., second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. Hill, of ... 6839 words
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  3. Family Notices
    Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954) Thursday 6 November 1941 p 18 Family Notices
    ... Harald and Mary, of Norwood — a daugh-ter (Margaret Rosemary). AVERY. — On October 28, at Koona ... -warra Hospital, Kadina, to the wife of R. G. Avery, Alford — a daughter. Both well. Special thanks to Dr. Raises ... 11064 words
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  1. DISPENSATION OF SERVICE
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Friday 21 January 1994 [Issue No.25] p 307

    Government Gazette Appointments And Employment

    ... ; AUSTIN, Margaret Joan; AUSTIN, Shirley Ann; AVENELL, Christine Danyle; AVERY, Doreeo Ruth; AVERY, Ethel ... Victoree; AVERY, Lynette Agnes; AVIS, Doreen May; AVIS, Zelma; AWALI-SAYSAN, Shanhnaz; AWAD, Fateh; AWEGE ... 17920 words
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  2. LIFE INSURANCE ACT 1945—UNCLAIMED MONEYS
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Periodic (National : 1977 - 2011) Monday 24 June 1985 p 218

    Government Gazette Notices

    ... Road, St Marys N S W Docherty, Mavis, 54 Fletcher Street, Bondi Beach NSW Dombkins, Janice Francine, 72 ... address Frawley, Grace, same address Frewin, Jack, same address Gander, Ellen Mavis, same address ... 185839 words
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  1. BREACHES AND EVASIONS—SCHEDULES I TO IV (30 June 1982)
    Australian Taxation Office; ; Australian Taxation Office
    Report of the Commissioner of Taxation.
    [ Article : 1975-1982 ]
    View online
    At Trove DigitalLibrary
    BREACHES AND EVASIONS—SCHEDULES I TO IV (30 June 1982)
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