Dr Jean McLeod was an important part of the Swinburne community and our shared history. In the 1970s, she founded the Medical Centre at Swinburne, helping to shape Swinburne’s future in health treatment, education and research.
In her role as head of the centre, Jean served our student and staff community for ten years. Together with her colleagues, she set up the centre from scratch, sourcing the necessary equipment and support needed to take care of the Swinburne community. She shared her expertise with students, delivering guest lectures on occasion.
Jean’s impact was felt so strongly among our community that ‘McLeod Lane’, which runs between John and William streets, was named for her.
Jean was a pioneering woman in medicine, with a particular love for and expertise in working with children and young people.
Studying medicine at University of Melbourne, she was one of just 18 women in a cohort of 220 students graduating in 1951. After graduating she undertook her residencies at Queen Victoria Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Open minded and adventurous, Jean and her medical husband leapt at the chance to move to Singapore in the late 1950s. Her husband’s work was already secured under the auspices of the Colombo Plan, and Jean found her own employment at a Mission hospital where she saw up to 120 outpatients a day.
Throughout her career, Jean had a strong sense of social justice, advocating for her patients many of whom came from migrant and working-class backgrounds.
Jean often spoke about the generosity of their local Singapore friends so when Swinburne invited staff to welcome an international student into their home in the early 1980s, Jean was quick to sign up. The relationship between this former student and Jean’s family remains close today.
Open minded, independent and caring, Jean was a beloved wife to the late Bernie and devoted mother to Lesley, Jenny, Wendy, Paula and Lou, much loved grandmother to Crystal, Max, Angus, Robert, James, Georgie and Harry, great grandmother to Lisa, and cherished mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law to Paul, Chris, Rowan and Yuka.