Roberta Henrietta Margueretta Stewart Australia

Biography of Roberta Henrietta Margueretta Stewart

Roberta Henrietta Margueretta Jull (nee Stewart), doctor and social reformer, graduated MB CM from the University of Glasgow in 1896.

Roberta was born in Glasgow on 16th August 1872, the second of four children to Robert, Minister of the Free Church in Lisbon, and Isabella Henrietta Stewart. The family lived in Lisbon, though Roberta attended schools in London and Scotland until 1890, when she returned to Portugal.

At a time when few women received a higher education, Roberta’s father encouraged her to study medicine, and in 1891 she began her medical training in Glasgow at Queen Margaret College (the first and only college in Scotland to provide higher education for women). In her first session at the College (1891-92), Roberta was enrolled in classes in Anatomy, Practical Anatomy, Chemistry, Practical Chemistry, and Zoology.

In 1892 women were first permitted to study at Scottish universities, and at this point Queen Margaret College amalgamated with the University of Glasgow. Roberta continued to study at Queen Margaret College and the University of Glasgow until 1896, when she graduated MB CM from the University.

Upon graduating, Roberta moved to Western Australia and joined her brothers’ medical practice. In 1897 she became the first woman to set up a medical practice in Perth.

She married Martin Edward Jull in 1898 and the couple would go on to have one daughter, Henrietta, in 1901. Her husband died in 1917.

Roberta was committed to social reform, especially the education and health of women and children. She was honorary medical advisor and parent counsellor of the Children’s Protection Society. She was a member of the Women’s Service Guild, and president of the Western Australia National Council of Women. In 1918 she became the first medical officer of schools in the Public Health Department, where she drew attention to widespread health problems in children. When she left the department 10 years later, there had been significant reductions in levels of infant mortality.

In 1923 she acted to form the Association of University Women at the University of Western Australia (and was its first president), and was instrumental in the establishment of St Catherine’s, the university’s women’s college. Roberta was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Western Australia in recognition of her work for women in 1943, and in 1951 St Catherine’s College conferred its first honorary fellowship.

Roberta died at Subiaco on 6th March 1961. Her ashes were scattered on her husband’s grave in Karrakatta cemetery.


Other Online Resources

Printed Materials

  • DC233/2/7/1/1-2, Queen Margaret College Enrolment Books

Archival Materials

  • Female Matriculations 1892-98 database


Roberta Henrietta Margueretta Stewart
Born 16 August 1872.
Died 6 March 1961.
GU Degree: MB CM, 1896;
University Link: Graduate
Additional Information: R3/1/1 (vol 2)
English snippet: Medical graduate of the University of Glasgow, 1896
Record last updated: 20th Feb 2019

Country Associations

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