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Congratulations to Kathy Cavanagh and Beres Wenck on their appointments as Members of the Order of Australia (AM)

Ms Kathy Cavanagh, of the National Council of Women Queensland ( NCWQ ) and Dr Beres Wenck, GP,

The QMWS and AFMW wants to congratulate Ms Kathy Cavanagh, of the National Council of Women Queensland ( NCWQ ) and Dr Beres Wenck, GP, for each receiving an AM in the recent King’s Birthday Honours.

The Queensland Medical Women’s Society ( QMWS ) has been affiliated with the National Council of Women Queensland ( NCWQ ) since it was formed in 1929. However, the NCWQ was started in 1905 and was set up as a umbrella Council to improve the lives of Queensland women. The Convenors set up special organisations and stood by as these organisations became self-supporting, yet always sure that the Council would remain sympathetic to their cause.

Organisations whose foundations owe much to the NCWQ are the Bush Nursing Association, the Family Planning Association, the Children’s Film and Television Council, the first Women’s College at the University of Queensland, Meals on Wheels etc. The NCWQ was instrumental in organising late night and Saturday morning shopping in Queensland so that married women could work and still fulfill their responsibilities at home. Other fields which remained on the agenda for many years were having women on juries and women becoming police officers.

Kathy Cavanagh received the AM for significant service to women’s affairs and to the community. Among other community roles, she has been the NCWQ Bursary Program Manager since 2011. She has been pivotal in encouraging and collaborating with the QMWS to establish much needed bursaries for female Queensland medical graduates and students and nationally for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical women.

The first NCWQ/QMWS bursary was given in 2019 and enabled a young woman to attend the Commission on the Status of Women ( CSW ) at the United Nations in pre-pandemic New York. In 2020, the NCWQ/QMWS set up a second bursary, funded by the AMAQ, in memory of esteemed medical woman Prof. Tess Cramond. In 2021 Ms Cavanagh also provided input into the national Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Program within the Australian Federation of Medical Women ( AFMW ) which provides bursaries specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical women. These bursaries have been highly successful and have now expanded to providing four bursaries per year.

More recently, Ms Cavanagh has been supportive, with the Mater, in helping to create a bursary for a Queensland based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical woman, which was inaugurated in 2022. This year there will be a new Dr Laurel Macintosh ( the first female opthalmologist in Queensland ) bursary given to a female registrar in ophthalmology.
Kathy Cavanagh is a wonderful mentor and role model to all medical women, with her gentle manner and strong character, her kindness, humour, genuine humility and wonderful sense of collegiality.

The QMWS also wants to congratulate Dr Beres Wenck, former AMAQ President, for her accession to the Member of the Order of Australia ( AM ). She received this for significant service to general practice medicine, particularly in board leadership roles, and to the community.

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