In 2023, UniSQ will offer one Sister Elizabeth Kenny Scholarship to support a student continuing their studies in the Bachelor of Nursing.
Elizabeth Kenny was born in Warialda in NSW in 1880. Moving to Queensland, she became a bush nurse, travelling through the outback, treating anyone who couldn’t get to a doctor. Before World War I she set up a cottage hospital at Clifton in Queensland. With no formal training as a nurse, Sister Kenny became one of Australia’s most famous therapists and helped thousands of people around the world. Her treatment helped polio patients and those with cerebral palsy by using hot baths and encouraging movement.
In 1940, Sister Kenny travelled to the United States where she was given almost instant celebrity status. In 1942, the Sister Kenny Institute was established in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1943 "And They Shall Walk: The Life Story of Sister Elizabeth Kenny" was written by Martha Ostenso, in collaboration with Sister Elizabeth Kenny, while in 1946, the biographical film "Sister Kenny", starring Rosalind Russell, was released. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, she retired to Toowoomba in 1951 and passed away on 30 November 1952. She is buried at Nobby, where there is a dedicated museum in her honour.
The scholarship was initiated by the Sister Elizabeth Kenny Memorial Fund (SEKMF) and has been supported through the SEKMF's generous donation for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance to nursing students interested in rural and remote nursing opportunities.