A legacy to remember Dr Winton Murdoch

Catherine knew that her father needed to be remembered and recognised by her family and friends and the College.

Winton Murdoch’s (1910 –1961) legacy lives on through the Alexander Wallace de Winton Murdoch Legacy, established by his daughter Catherine Kennedy.

The Alexander Wallace de Winton Murdoch Legacy will support forensic psychiatry and military and veterans’ mental health – helping to break new ground for psychiatry whilst honouring Dr Murdoch’s memory and achievements. 

While she was only thirteen when he passed away, Ms Kennedy vividly recalls that at his funeral, the chapel was so full that people were spilling into the gardens and street. His life and career had been cut short, but his impact was profound. This was especially remarkable given some of the perceptions of psychiatry at the time. 

Throughout her own career working in healthcare, the value of her father’s contributions to psychiatry became even clearer to Ms Kennedy, giving her the motivation to commemorate his life: ‘I believe it is important for today’s consultants to understand where it all started and how it evolved, and to know a little about the pioneers that made it all happen.’ With this, Ms Kennedy established The Alexander Wallace de Winton Murdoch Legacy, which will focus on two distinct sub-specialty areas: forensic psychiatry, and military and veterans’ mental health. She remembers that: ‘In his early days of being a consultant, Dad was an on-call psychiatrist to the police and prison services. As I recall, anyone “nicked” was allowed to ask for psychiatric assessment. Hence my familiarity with the Victorian prison system.’ 

Ms Kennedy also recalls her family’s strong connection with military service in major global conflicts, and that her father was a commissioned officer in the Melbourne University Regiment, however he never saw service due to his disease that interrupted his medical degree by nine years. 

Gifts like Ms Kennedy’s honour her father’s memory and achievements, while helping to break new ground for psychiatry. By establishing bequests, we can preserve our history while transforming the future of mental health. The RANZCP Foundation is deeply grateful to Ms Kennedy for choosing to establish this future legacy. 

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