Elizabeth Austin

Elizabeth Austin was the country's first female benefactor and the most prominent woman philanthropist of her generation.

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Elizabeth Austin was an outstanding Victorian pioneer and philanthropist during the late nineteenth century, driven to improve the lives of older and poorer women.

Her influence, at a time before social security and welfare provisions were provided by government, continues to benefit women and the Victorian community today.

Elizabeth founded the Austin Hospital for Incurables - now the Austin Hospital at Heidelberg in 1882. She persuaded the Victorian Government to donate land and she donated £6000 for building works. The Austin Hospital is now a major health institution, world renowned for its research and specialist work.

In 1889 she established the Austin Cottages in Geelong for older female servants, which were heritage listed by the National Trust in 1978.

Elizabeth supported the Victorian Servants Training Institute in Melbourne enabling working class women to learn a trade.

She also donated funds to the Chilwel Library in Geelong and St Thomas' Anglican Church in Winchelsea.