Dr Una Shergold MBE

Dr Una Shergold was a pioneer in women and children's health.

Honour Roll

Una's career spanned a period of approximately 43 years from the middle of the 1930s to 1978, when she took early retirement form the Royal Children's Hospital at the age of 63.

Una Shergold did her internship at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne where she was always on call to Father Frank Coaldrake at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. He would call on her anytime he needed a medic to work on some poor soul in the street and lanes of Fitzroy. Una was even known to climb over fences in full evening dress to work on someone needing her help.

She met her husband Dr Brian Justin O'Day while interning. After they were married they went up to Kaniva and set up a practice, which she looked after on her own after he went away to World War II. When the O'Days came back to Melbourne to live in Kew, Una worked looking after the health and welfare of unmarried mothers before and after the birth of their children.

Una worked from her own home and also with the nuns at St Joseph's. From there Una moved on to the Royal Children's Hospital where she worked in the Cystic Fibrosis Unit with those children and their families for so many years.

All of these things Una worked tirelessly towards during her years at the Children's. So high is the esteem in which she is held that even after she had been long retired, there were families, such as the Kennedys of Cranbourne and Moama, who still kept in touch, particularly at Christmas, and as each young adult passed yet another milestone birthday.

Una is considered a very special part of their families, and, as such, was invited to many of their weddings, and also mourned at all of their passings. Other families regularly dropped into Alfred General Hospital if passing. Some even made a special trip down to Melbourne from country Victoria to see this wonderful feisty old lady, whose zest did not diminish with the years.