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Annie Praed (1872–1948)

by A. O. Watson

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Annie Praed (1872-1948), dentist, was born on 4 January 1872 at Raglan Street, Waterloo, Sydney, and registered as Hannah, daughter of English-born Richard William Spraggs, shoemaker, and his wife Mary Ann, nee Gough, whose birthplace was California.  She adopted the name Annie Praed from about 1886, following a series of scandalous events involving her family.  Praed was the maiden name of her paternal grandmother.  Educated in Sydney by Mrs Hughes at Lotaville school, Randwick, she passed the senior public examination in 1889, and matriculated in 1895.  Her fees were paid from funds administered by her benefactor Henry Houghton Burton Bradley, who had taken Hannah into his care in 1886.  By 1899 she was practising as a dentist and on 15 January 1901 registered under the Dentists’ Act on 1900.

In March 1901 Annie Praed enrolled in the first dentistry courses offered at the University of Sydney. She qualified as a licentiate of dental surgery in 1904 and graduated B.D.S. in 1906, topping her year. In 1906-10 she worked as assistant to Dr W. S. Hinder in Macquarie Street. Annie Praed had received considerable attention and admiration for her paper, 'How to make an Electric Furnace at Home', delivered at the first Australian Dental Congress in 1907. She visited Britain in 1913-14 and represented Sydney University's dental graduates at the International Dental Congress, London, 1914.

Returning to Sydney that year, Miss Praed shared a practice with Margaret Barnes, who had been a fellow student. In 1921 she set up in sole practice and later specialized in prosthodontics. She was honorary dental surgeon and clinical instructor in 1912-40 and honorary demonstrator in operative dentistry in 1940-48 at the United Dental Hospital of Sydney, the university's teaching centre. She was always courteous to patients and students and especially encouraging to women students. In 1938 she was the first woman to graduate D.D.Sc. from the University of Sydney.

A foundation member of the university's Dental Graduates Association in 1904, Praed was later active in the Society of Dental Science and helped to found the State branch of the Australian Dental Association in 1930, serving on its dental health education committee in 1934-48 (chairwoman 1938-39) and the Dental Alumni Society of the University of Sydney in 1943. An attractive oval-faced woman, with short, wavy, dark hair, she was automatically chosen to chair the ladies' committee of every dental congress that met in Sydney. On the outbreak of World War II she formed and then presided over the Australian Army Dental Corps Fund which helped to equip dental centres for the services.

Leaving no known relations, Annie Praed died at Darling Point on 26 December 1948 and was cremated. In 1951 the local branch of the Australian Dental Association established the Annie Praed memorial oration.

Select Bibliography

  • R. W. Halliday, A History of Dentistry in New South Wales 1788 to 1945, A. O. Watson ed (Syd, 1977)
  • private information.

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Citation details

A. O. Watson, 'Praed, Annie (1872–1948)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 2 December 2023.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (Melbourne University Press), 1988

View the front pages for Volume 11

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2023

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Spraggs, Hannah

4 January, 1872
Waterloo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


26 December, 1948 (aged 76)
Darling Point, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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