Vera: Linton War Surgeon

Bronze statue of Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown OBE in the green garden surrounds, in Linton.

Vera: Linton War Surgeon is a life-size bronze statue of Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown OBE, the Golden Plains Shire-born medic who blazed a trail as a World War I doctor and then maternal and child health pioneer.

The 1.75 metre tall piece was created by local sculptor Lucy McEachern and placed with the elm trees of the Linton Avenue of Honour.

Vera was one of the first women to complete a medical degree in Victoria and wanted to use her skills to contribute to the war effort.

But women doctors were not accepted in the Australian Army at the time, so she paid her own way to London and for two years worked as a surgeon at Endell Street Military Hospital, treating injured soldiers sent over from France. Endell Street was known as the ‘suffragette hospital’ as it was created and operated by women doctors and nurses.

Back in Australia after the war, Vera became the first Director of the Victorian Infant Welfare Scheme, a ground-breaking role which saw her caring for the health and wellbeing of babies and mothers for decades to come. The scheme that she established is the maternal and child health system we know today.

In 1938, her contribution to infant and maternal health was officially recognised with an OBE.

Sculptor Lucy McEachern lives and works in Golden Plains and was thrilled to participate in the Victorian Women’s Public Art Program.

‘So many unrecognised women made significant and varied contributions to the advancement of the state of Victoria, so I see this as an emerging positive and ongoing step towards equity and inclusion in a previously male-dominated field,’ she said.

Artist: Lucy McEachern

Location: Avenue of Honour, Denison St, Linton

Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown OBE was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2001. Read more about Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown OBE.

Photograph of Lieutenant (Dr) Vera Scantlebury (1889-1946) and her brother Captain (Dr) George Clifford Scantlebury (1890-1976) dressed in WWI military uniforms.

In the studio, the sculpture of Vera is in progress. The artist, Lucy McEachern, has photographs of Vera's time in service during World War One on her computer for reference and inspiration.

The profile of the Vera Scantlebury Brown sculpture.

The working group visit artist Lucy McEachern in her studio to view the maquette of Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown.

Focussing on the mid-section of the statue to highlight the buttons.

Artist Lucy McEachern working on the sculpture of Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown OBE in the studio.

Artist Lucy McEachern putting the finishing touches on the sculpture of Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown OBE in the studio.

Sculptor Lucy McEachern with the bronze statue of Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown.

The Women's Public Art Program complements the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, which celebrates women's outstanding leadership and contributions to life in Victoria.

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