Kindred spirits

Photograph taken by renowned Australian modernist photographer Max Dupain, circa 1947

Photograph taken by renowned Australian modernist photographer Max Dupain, circa 1947

On her death in 2011, Dr Gertrude Angel-Lord bequeathed $173,000 to establish the Gertrude Angel-Lord and Francis Lord Scholarship in Medicine, which also recognises her late husband’s commitment to supporting medical students.

Supporting people in need was always a priority for Dr Angel-Lord – from caring for mothers and babies as a volunteer, to working in specialist paediatrics and maternal and child welfare.

Dr Angel-Lord began volunteering at the Australian Mothercraft Society (now known as Karitane) in 1969 before becoming its first paid part-time medical officer in 1982, visiting clinics and seeing babies in homes. She was dedicated to her work making a huge contribution to the profession by establishing new systems that provided a deep and more comprehensive level of care for mothers and their children.

Later on, she was involved in teaching nurses and tutored in paediatrics at the University of Sydney.

Dr Angel-Lord’s enduring gift supports first-year students in financial need who are studying the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). The award provides valuable annual support of $15,000 for the term of the degree, subject to satisfactory progress.

Talila Milroy was awarded the inaugural Gertrude Angel-Lord and Francis Lord Scholarship in 2013. Talila shares the late Dr Angel-Lord’s belief in the medical profession and meeting the needs of people from all walks of life.

“My passion is to find a field that will allow me to have a far-reaching impact on Indigenous social justice,” Talila says. I feel that mental illness and suicide are huge issues for young Indigenous people and I would like to make a contribution to this area.”

Like Dr Angel-Lord, Talila also has a strong interest in paediatrics. “I loved my term in paediatrics – it confirmed my interest in women, baby and adolescent health, which I would like to pursue further, no matter which specialty I choose in the future.”

During her community (general practice) term, Talila chose to undertake a rural placement in Roebourne, a small town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia from which her family originates.

Here she gained an insight into the issues for this community and the challenges of rural general practice.

“Drug and alcohol issues, suicide and mental health are major concerns for this community, which has further inspired me to pursue psychiatry. Without the support from the scholarship I would not be able to pursue this placement, as there is little assistance for travel expenses.

“I am truly grateful. My time in this community will shape my entire perspective on medicine and my future clinical practice.”

Talila is also a student ambassador, and engages with Aboriginal high school students thinking about pursuing medicine. “This is a very rewarding job and it has been a pleasure to encourage others to see their potential and follow their own medical dreams.”


Note from executor and cousin, Eva Gertler

As a teenager, Gertrude Angel and her parents, Ruza and Oscar Angel, fled Austria, finding safe haven in Sydney in 1939. Gertrude completed her final two years of schooling at North Sydney Girls’ High School in 1940 ready to embark on her studies of medicine and fulfil her childhood dream of becoming a doctor. Despite many obstacles, the family never wavered in their support for Gertrude in realising her goals, and were very proud of her achievements. She had a special way with children and they adored her. Her legacy, which will assist medical students to make a difference in their communities, is a fitting reflection on the lives of Gertrude Angel-Lord and her husband, Francis Lord.