Mabel Brookes Biography


    Dame Mabel Brookes, Lady Brookes, DBE (15 June 1890 – 30 April 1975) was an Australian community worker, activist, socialite, writer, memoirist and humanitarian. Born as Mabel Balcombe Emmerton in Raveloe, South Yarra, Victoria in 1890, her best-known service was as president of the Queen Victoria Hospital from 1923–1970, where she presided over the addition of three new wings within ten years. She became engaged to Norman Brookes, a tennis player, who was the first Australian to win Wimbledon, at the age of eighteen, and married him in St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne, on 19 April 1911. In 1914, with a baby daughter, she accompanied Brookes on his tennis trips to Europe and the USA. During World War I, in 1915, she joined her husband in Cairo where he was working as commissioner for the Australian Branch of the British Red Cross. She assisted in the establishment of a rest home for nurses. On her husband's posting to Mesopotamia, she returned to Melbourne in 1917. At this point she wrote three novels and continued to write on a variety of topics during her life.