Dr Edith Myra Hurman MBE

1913 Collegian | Deceased

Dr Edith Myra Hurman: middle row, centre

Myra Hurman wanted to study Medicine when she left MLC, but due to the lack of funds, she changed tack and graduated from UWA with a Bachelor of Arts, set to become a teacher. But in 1918, her fortunes changed and she set off on the recently-opened transcontinental railway for Sydney to undertake a five-year course in Medicine at the University of Sydney.

Although she was known as Myra at school, she became known as Dr Edith Hurman.

In 1925, despite her youth and her gender, she became the first woman doctor to set up a private practice in Cudal, in rural New South Wales.

With Muriel Amanda Rodda, a trained nurse, Edith was instrumental in establishing the town's hospital in 1928. She remained in Cudal and worked in the hospital until her retirement in 1961. She subsequently wrote a booklet entitled The Beginnings: The Story of how the Cudal Hospital Began in 1980.

For her commitment to medicine in country New South Wales, she was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1962 for services to medicine in NSW.

Her service to the community was recognised on her passing in 1982 when 143 people signed the book of remembrance, an indication of the high regard in which she was held 21 years after she had left Cudal and retired to Orange.

She wrote in her book that she had wanted to be a Doctor for as long as she could remember.

The Edith Hurman Retirement Estate development was named in her honour. It includes a foundation which distributes $10,000 annually to support local community projects and activities.

The Reverend Ian Arnold, who served in Orange at the time of her passing said, "The community saluted her love of service and dedication to the welfare of her fellow men and women. That love and dedication will find its even greater fulfillment in the life now unfolding before her in the spiritual world."