Vale, Dame Elisabeth Joy (née Greene) Murdoch AC DBE

All of Australia celebrates the 103-year life of Dame Elisabeth Joy (née Greene) Murdoch AC DBE. As a humanitarian, charity activist, and philanthropist, she will be an enduring role model.

Her legacy will include the many organisations that she has helped to nurture and sustain, the thousands of lives she has positively impacted, and the four generations of her philanthropic family that she leaves behind. She received many awards for her charitable works, including the inaugural Great Australian Philanthropy Award in 2003.

She lived her philosophy – life is caring for others. She helped at least 100 charitable and non-profit organisations directly, and her activist philanthropy extended far beyond cheque-writing to include volunteering, advising, influencing, and the leveraging of her considerable network of contacts.

Of the many organisations that she assisted, two of her most important legacies will be the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne. Dame Elisabeth was the Patron of the Children’s Institute up until her death. And her grandson Lachlan’s wife, Sarah Murdoch, is the Institute’s Ambassador.

Over the past 26 years, beginning with Dame Elisabeth, the Murdoch Family has given nearly $AU50,000,000 (fifty million dollars) to the MCRI 1. Her son, Rupert, utilised the opening of the new Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in November of 2011 to personally announce the family’s latest gift of $AU10,000,000 (ten million dollars) 2.

For decades the researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute have developed new protocols, procedures, and pharmaceuticals that undoubtedly save hundreds, if not thousands, of children’s lives each year, not just in Australia but worldwide. The Institute is particularly well-known for its work, going back to the 1980s, in identifying the prone sleeping position as a major contributing factor in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The MCRI continues their world-leading SIDS research today. All of us, parents and non-parents alike, are blessed by Dame Elisabeth’s vision, commitment, and generosity.

On behalf of the entire Australian philanthropic community, I send heartfelt condolences to her family (four generations and 77 living direct descendants) and all of her friends. She will be long-missed and well-remembered.

In lieu of flowers, the Murdoch family has asked that donations be made to the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (please see

1 “Donations ‘key’ to medical research,” The Australian, November 7, 2011.

2 “Clan gathers to kick off institute fundraiser,” The Australian, November 8, 2011.

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