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Muriel Binney

1873 - 1949

Muriel Mary Sutherland Binney (1873-1949) was an amateur painter, etcher, illustrator and inventor. She lived at Warren Lodge, Elizabeth Bay, with her surgeon husband Edward who had a medical practice in Macquarie Street and their sons John and Richard.
From 1912 the family spent some time in England while the boys were at school. Back in Sydney they lived at Vaucluse. Edward, a specialist in children’s diseases, died in 1927 of longstanding multiple sclerosis. After this, as her granddaughter’s recollect, Muriel frequently travelled overseas, presumably in connection with her inventions. Edward reportedly had disapproved of his wife’s passion for inventing things, which did not find full expression until 1929 when she presented her inventions to the British Society of Inventors and showed some at the International Exhibition of Inventions.

Muriel Binney lived at Watsons Bay in the 1930s but continued to travel while her sons looked after her affairs. In 1934 she went to Russia. She became more eccentric in the 1940s, clothing herself in reportably bizarre outfits bought in Paris many years earlier and apparently developing a drinking problem. She was later committed to the Parramatta Mental Asylum where she died of heart disease and chronic bronchitis on 11 May 1949, aged 74. Her body was cremated at Rookwood Crematorium.