Matriarch of Murdoch dynasty dies aged 103

Dame Elisabeth with her son Rupert in 2005. Photo / AP
Dame Elisabeth with her son Rupert in 2005. Photo / AP

Known for philanthropic deeds, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch was remembered as a woman of "kindness and grace".

Rupert Murdoch, not known for his soft side, has thanked the Australian public for the appreciation that has followed the death of his mother yesterday at 103.

"Many thanks for condolences about my mum. A great lady, wife, mother and citizen. 193 yo, but still a blow," the media mogul tweeted, before correcting her age: "No, 103 yo! There are limits!"

Described by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a woman of "kindness, humility and grace" and by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser as "without peer, without equal", Dame Elisabeth touched thousands with her generosity to the arts and medicine. She died at her Cruden farm home in Melbourne's outer southeast.

She had three children, 50 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren. Her funeral is expected to be private, although Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu said she would be honoured with a state memorial service.

Her legacy will live on at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. She served as a trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria and a benefactor to the Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and the Bell Theatre Company, among other roles.


Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

Born: Elisabeth Joy Greene in Melbourne on February 8, 1909
Family: In 1928, aged 19, marries 43-year-old editor of the Herald, Keith Murdoch. Son Rupert was born in 1931. Keith Murdoch knighted in 1933. He dies in 1952, leaving Lady Murdoch to raise four children
Service includes: President of the Royal Children's Hospital for 11 years. Life governor of the Royal Women's Hospital. The first woman to be appointed to the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria. A founding member of the Deafness Foundation.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 19 Dec 2014 04:53:33 Processing Time: 510ms