Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Clement, Dixie Paumier (1879–1935)

by A. C. Staples

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

Dixie Paumier Clement (1879-1935), physician and obstetrician, was born on 23 December 1879 at Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland, elder son of Mildmay Thomas Charlton Clement, civil engineer, and his wife Lucy Clara, née Christie (Cristy). He attended St Faughnan's College, Rosscarbery, County Cork, until 1895 when he accompanied his family to Western Australia. Clement joined the prospecting team which discovered the Lancefield mine at Laverton and worked there till 1902 when he returned to Perth to matriculate. Next year he entered Trinity College, Dublin (B.A., M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O.), where several members of his family had also attended. Clement then studied obstetrics at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, where he qualified Licentiate of Midwifery (1908).

In 1908 he returned to Western Australia and, after six weeks at Pingelly, entered partnership in West Perth with Dr Athelstan Saw. Next year, on 1 September, he married Ethel Burt; they had three sons and four daughters. Clement encouraged the Women's Service Guilds and Edith Cowan's committee, which was seeking a maternity hospital to improve the conditions of childbirth and to train midwifery nurses. The guilds' 1915 protest prodded Scaddan's government to convert the Subiaco Industrial School to the King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women. It was opened next year with two honorary physicians, Clement and J. L. Couch, to attend patients and Dr Officer to lecture and examine nurses.

Clement was sanguine, cheerful and impulsive, with a great capacity for work: he would attend three confinements in twenty-four hours, with anaesthetics sandwiched in between. To this would be added a long visiting list. He would spend the night at confinements and next day play off for a golf championship. At the hospital he earned the confidence and respect of the matron, nurses and mothers. Calls from colleagues in general practice needing specialist advice were always promptly answered. He was also honorary physician to the Perth Hospital, the Home of Peace for the Dying and Incurable, the Home of the Good Shepherd and St Brigid's Convent, West Perth. He was honorary secretary for four years and president in 1924 of the council of the Western Australian branch of the British Medical Association.

Survived by his wife, four daughters and two sons, Clement died of a stroke on 25 July 1935. In keeping with his belief that it was an inhuman custom to display harassed feelings at a graveside, he was buried privately in Karrakatta cemetery with Anglican rites. His estate was valued for probate at £1515. A commemorative bronze bust was placed in the entrance foyer of his old hospital.

Select Bibliography

  • R. Allen, Life in Her Hands (Melb, 1955)
  • B. C. Cohen, A History of Medicine in Western Australia (Perth, 1965)
  • B. C. Cohen and R. L. Hutchison, A History of King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women (Perth, 1966)
  • Medical Journal of Australia, 31 Aug 1935
  • West Australian, 6, 18 July 1916, 26, 27 July 1935.

Citation details

A. C. Staples, 'Clement, Dixie Paumier (1879–1935)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/clement-dixie-paumier-5681/text9599, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 13 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

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© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2018

Life Summary [details]

Birth

23 December 1879
Dungannon, Tyrone, Ireland

Death

25 July 1935

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence
Occupation