DR DOROTHEA PARKER

(1900-1992)

Dorothea Laura Hill Parker was the only child of the East Fremantle’s first Town Clerk, Horace Parker and Eliza Winifred, and was the first West Australian-born woman to practice as a doctor in WA. She was educated at Princess May School and then a private school. After graduating as a Doctor of Medicine from Melbourne University in 1924 she worked at the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women and in 1926 returned to Western Australia, registered with the Medical Board and set up her practice at her parents home at 158 Canning Highway (reference). In July 1932, at St. John's Church, Fremantle, Dorothea Parker married Mr Harold Camm and a son, Richard was born in 1934.

Parker served at Fremantle Public Hospital as Honorary Medical Officer, Pathologist and Gynaecologist from 1926-1950. She also worked at the Salvation Army Hillcrest Hospital in North Fremantle for 36 years. Hillcrest provided maternity care for unmarried mothers and their babies for more than 50 years from the 1922, when they were seen as social outcasts, until the early 1970s. Dr Elsie Isabell Simpson joined Dr Parker in 1959 and after her retirement, carried on her tradition of delivering unmarried mothers free of charge at Hillcrest (reference).

For 40 years Parker served the people of East Fremantle as a GP, until she retired in 1967 (the Council’s 70th Anniversary), when a civic reception was held in her honour. She had a great gift of natural sympathy and was beloved by patients who visited her as a child, in motherhood and sometimes as grandmothers.

Her photograph has been sourced from This is East Fremantle, the story of a town and its people, Jack Lee 1979