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Anne Steed - TLM Hero

A woman with white hair in a purple cardigan receives a certificate from the now former TLM Australia Country Leader

Anne began her interest in leprosy when, as a Medical Laboratory Technologist, she worked on Gemo Island across the harbour from Port Moresby Papua New Guinea from 1968 to 1969.

Prior to Anne’s appointment, the hospital on Gemo Island couldn’t get the pre-op skin smears done quickly or accurately enough at the Taurama Hospital. So, it was a blessing that Anne would be able to provide this service onsite. However, at that time, they didn’t even have a laboratory - Anne’s first job would be to set one up - quite a challenge for the ‘raw recruit’!

“It was a huge, and interesting learning curve,” Anne told us, “But I was able to set up a lovely simple laboratory, that was able to cover the small range of tests that were needed for both the Leprosy and the TB patients…about 120 patients at one time. It continued to be staffed by local and overseas people until the hospital closed in the early 1980’s.”

Anne worked alongside Australian surgeon, Dr Ken Clezy. Ken was based at The Leprosy Mission PNG in Madang. He would come down to Port Moresby to operate at Taurama Hospital. Then go down east to the islands to Ubuya Hospital. By the time he came back through Port Moresby, Anne and the crew would have a second lot of patients ready for surgery.

On returning to West Australia, Anne became a supporter of The Leprosy Mission Australia. But it was not until 1985, when Val Bock came over from Melbourne to set up the new West Australia committee, that she then joined. Anne joined The Leprosy Mission's West Australian State Committee in 1985. For 35 years served diligently and faithfully. Many of those years as Committee Chair.

Anne formed Auxiliary groups in Kalgoorlie (7 years) and Busselton (9 years), which continued for some years after she left. She also encouraged Beth Douglas to start the Mandurah Auxiliary, which continued under a number of leaders until 2017. All of these groups provided vital support to the work of The Leprosy Mission Australia.

In 1988, Anne also joined The Leprosy Mission Australia’s National Council. Anne encouraged and maintained the committee, bringing new members on board throughout the years. She also led many fundraising events, speaking engagements and prayer meetings until her retirement.