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Elsie Gibbons (1916-2009)


Inducted 2011
Marsden Years:  1929-1933

This posthumous award recognises Dr Elsie Gibbons’ contribution to health of children in the Wellington in the 1950s and her encouragement to women in the medical profession.

A keen sportswoman and musician, and with many academic achievements, Elsie was dux of Marsden in 1933 and left school to pursue a medical career at a time when few women were accepted into Otago Medical School. Having completed further study in Edinburgh, and worked in London she opened her small General Practice, attached to her home, in Wellington in the 1950s.  

With a strong community spirit, Elsie’s worked with all walks of society.  Child care was a priority for her and she will be remembered by many patients from the Karitane Hospital in Melrose, the Home of Compassion Hospital, and Kimi Ora in Thorndon.  She had a strong belief in education, especially for women and encouraged young women into the medical profession. She took leadership roles in the New Zealand Medical Women’s Association at both national and international levels. 

Elsie had a strong personality and a sense of adventure. She travelled widely and as economically as possible and tramped many of the accessible routes in the New Zealand bush. 

Elsie’s connection with Marsden was a long one – as a student, a member of both Boards, the chairperson of the Old Girls division first Development Project in 1966 and has endowed the school with many gifts including the set of bells which are proudly used by the bell-ringers today.  Elsie showed a keen interest in all Marsden activities and her ability to converse with anyone on any subject gave her an instant rapport with all students.