Doctor A. Jefferis Turner

The Courier-Mail, Tuesday 27 November 1934, page 13

DOCTOR’S LUCKY ESCAPE

Pinned Under Car

When Dr. A. Jefferis Turner, one of the oldest medical practitioners in Queensland, was released from beneath his overturned touring car in Brisbane yesterday he did not wait for an overhaul by ambulance men. Finding himself uninjured, he just stepped on the next tram and returned to his home in Dauphin Terrace, Highgate Hill. Later he carried out his duties as Director of Child Welfare and visiting medical officer to the Diamantina Hospital. 
The accident happened at the Junction of Edmonstone and Melbourne streets, where Dr. Turner’s car was involved in a collision with a milk delivery truck driven by Frederick Nicholls, of Banks Street, West End, and overturned. The doctor was pinned beneath his vehicle until it was lifted from him.

Courier-Mail February 16th 1949

‘Gentle Annie’ Museum Gift

A gift to the Queensland Museum of entomological manuscripts by the late Dr. Alfred Jefferis Turner of Dauphin Terrace, Highgate Hill was made in his will which was admitted to probate yesterday.

Doctor Jefferis Turner

Dr. Jefferis Turner sketch from Courier Mail Obituary 1947(TROVE)

Doctor Jefferis Turner had an extremely distinguished career in Queensland. Born in 1861 of missionary parents in China, he studied medicine at University College. London. He emigrated to Australia in 1888 and the next year  became first medical officer of  the Children’s Hospital, Brisbane. The first children’s hospital in Brisbane was founded only 10 years earlier in 1878 through the fund raising efforts of women in the community appalled by the high death rate amongst children. In the 1870s, 50% of children died before reaching the age of 5 and conventional wisdom was that sick children were best left in the care of their families and were not admitted to hospital.

tea-time-at-the-royal-childrens-hospital-brisbane-18901900

Tea time at the Royal Children’s Hospital. ca 1900 (State library of Queensland)

Jefferis Turner was a long term resident of Highgate Hill, living in the delightfully named “Daisybank” on Dauphin Terrace from around 1921 after returning from war service in Europe, until his death in 1949.

portrait-of-doctor-a1-jefferis-turner

Dr A. Jeffris Turner (State Library of Queensland)

He made notable contributions in the areas of diphtheria anti-toxin, hookworm-induced anaemia, lead poisoning, improvement of the quality of milk supply for children, health education for expectant and nursing mothers, and the establishment of antenatal clinics in Queensland.

The high incidence of lead poisoning in Queensland children was found to be due to the use of lead paint on verandahs and fences, and in particular from children sucking their fingers after wetting them on railings after rain. The death rate of Queensland children from lead poisoning was around 200 a year before this discovery and subsequent action was taken regarding the prohibition of the use of lead paint in low areas.

In addition to his medical career, he was a noted amateur entomologist specialising in  Lepidoptera. He left a collection of over 50,000 moths to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Canberra.

doctor-alfred-jefferis-turner-in-the-bunya-mountains-1925

Jefferis Turner with butterfly net in the Bunya Mountains 1925 (State Library of Quensland)

Australian Dictionary of Biography Entry for Doctor Alfred Jefferis Turner

THEY ALL CALLED HIM “GENTLE ANNIE” (1947, December 30). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 11, 2016,

Courier Mail Obituary 1947

‘Gentle Annie’ museum gift (1949, February 16). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 11, 2016,

Museum Gift article

Children’s Hospital Brisbane

2 thoughts on “Doctor A. Jefferis Turner

  1. Pingback: Tennis | Highgate Hill and Its History

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