Murdoch Childrens Research Institute mourns patron’s passing

6 December 2012

The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute is deeply saddened at the loss of its esteemed and respected patron, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE.

A founding member of the Institute in 1986, Dame Elisabeth's unparalleled generosity has enabled Murdoch Childrens to improve the health and wellbeing of children all over the world.

A renowned and universally admired philanthropist, Dame Elisabeth dedicated her life to helping others. In the process, she influenced and inspired people from all walks of life - from politicians and business leaders to families and children - to discover the joy of giving.

This is evident perhaps nowhere more so than within her own family, which, led by Dame Elisabeth, has donated more than $50 million to Murdoch Childrens. Today four generations of her family are personally involved, through donating, serving on the board and development board and attending events.

Murdoch Childrens Chairman Mr Leigh Clifford AO said Dame Elisabeth's vision and commitment had saved thousands of children's lives and improved the health of many more living with rare and common childhood conditions.

"Together with founding director Professor David Danks, Dame Elisabeth is at the heart of Murdoch Childrens. She had the foresight to recognise the importance of investing in and developing genetic research, even when this field was in its infancy," Mr Clifford said.

"She was proud of the discoveries the Institute made in the areas of genetics, cerebral palsy, cancer, rotavirus and premature birth. Thanks to her unwavering dedication and support, children will continue to benefit from life saving medical research."

Even beyond her 100th birthday Dame Elisabeth maintained a formidable schedule and was actively involved in an enormous number of causes spanning everything from the health and the arts to the environment and social support.

Dame Elisabeth chose philanthropy as her driving mission in life, giving her time and support to more than 100 charities ranging across medical research to the arts and academia.

She was associated with our campus partner The Royal Children's Hospital for more than 70 years, and was a major supporter of the Good Friday Appeal with her husband Sir Keith Murdoch, who was instrumental in establishing the appeal which now raises more than $15 million each year for the Royal Children's Hospital and research at the Institute.

Mr Clifford said that without Dame Elisabeth, the Institute could not have grown to become one of the world's leading child health research institutes, with more than 1,500 researchers working towards improving the health and wellbeing of children globally.

"Dame Elisabeth's generosity, compassion, humour and positive outlook was an inspiration to so many and we are proud to honour her legacy through our research," Mr Clifford said.

"On behalf of all the staff at the Murdoch Childrens, I extend our sincere condolences to Dame Elisabeth's family at the loss of a mother and a great-great grandmother, a wonderful person and a national treasure.  She will be sadly missed."

The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute is honoured that the Murdoch Family has requested donations in lieu of floral tributes.

For further information please contact Alex Furman 0402 477 232