STAWELL, Sir Richard Rawdon (1864-1935)


STAWELL, Sir Richard Rawdon (1864-1935)
physician
son of Sir William Foster Stawell (q.v.), chief justice of Victoria and his wife, Mary Francis Elizabeth Greene, was born at Kew, Melbourne, Victoria, on 14 March 1864. He was sent to England to be educated at Marlborough school, but returned to Australia on account of his health and went to Hawthorn Grammar School under Professor Irving (q.v.). Passing on to Trinity College at the university of Melbourne he graduated M.B., B.S. in 1888, with the scholarship in medicine at the final examination, and M.D. in 1890. He did post-graduate work in the United States, Germany and London during the next three years, and obtained the diploma of public health in England in 1891. He returned to Australia and began to practise at Melbourne in 1893. He was appointed a member of the honorary medical staff of the Children's hospital and became recognized as a specialist in children's diseases. From 1894 to 1900 he was honorary co-editor of the Australian Medical Journal, and from 1895 to 1906 was on the committee of the Medical Society of Victoria. He worked actively for the amalgamation of that society with the Victorian branch of the British Medical Association. From 1902 until 1924 Stawell was a member of the honorary medical staff of the Melbourne hospital. The clinical teaching before his appointment was not satisfactory, and it was largely due to Stawell's influence and example that an immense improvement took place. He was an ideal teacher of medicine, and it has been said of him that "to attend Dr Stawell's clinics was the privilege of a lifetime. The scientific grounding received in the physical signs of the chest and in neurological diseases was one never to be forgotten".
In 1908 Stawell was elected a vice-president of the Victorian branch of the British Medical Association and in 1910 he became president. He worked successfully for the amalgamation of the two Australian medical journals, the Australian Medical Gazette (N.S.W.) and the Australian Medical Journal (Victoria), and in 1914 the two were absorbed in the new weekly journal, the Medical Journal of Australia. Stawell served with the Third Australian general hospital at the front in 1915 but was brought back to Australia in 1916 to continue his clinical teaching and other important home service work. He became a physician to in-patients at the Royal Melbourne hospital in 1919 and was also a member of the medical advisory committee to the Repatriation department of the Commonwealth. In the following year he was president of the medical section at the Australian medical congress at Brisbane. He resigned the position of physician to in-patients at the Royal Melbourne hospital in 1921 and became a consulting physician to the hospital. He had joined the committee of the hospital in 1905 and in 1928 was elected president. He also did important work for many years as chairman of the house committee. In 1930 he was first president of the Association of Physicians in Australia and delivered the Halford oration at Canberra in November of that year. He was a vice-president at the centenary meeting of the British Medical Association in 1932. He was to have been president at the annual meeting of the British Medical Association at Melbourne in September 1935 but died at Melbourne on 18 April of that year. He married Miss Connolly, daughter of H. J. Connolly, who survived him with a son and two daughters. He was created K.B.E. in June 1929. In 1933 his work for the profession was recognized by the founding of the Sir Richard Stawell oration.
Tall and slightly built Stawell was an excellent tennis player in his youth and represented Victoria in intercolonial tennis. In later years he was a keen golfer and fly-fisher. His quiet, slightly austere manner did not at first suggest his great personal charm, but among his intimates he could let his inner sense of fun have full play or talk with distinction on music or art. In consultation or hospital work he gave himself completely to the problems involved, seeking all the facts and elucidating them. He was a good public speaker and an excellent committee-man. An authority on children's and nervous diseases, a great clinical instructor and possibly the ablest physician in the history of Australian medicine he was honoured and loved by the whole profession.
The Argus, Melbourne, 20 April 1935; The British Medical Journal, 2 March, 27 April and 4 May 1935; The Medical Journal of Australia, 18 May 19351.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Richard Rawdon Stawell — Sir Richard Rawdon Stawell KBE, (14 March 1864 – 18 April 1935) was an Australian doctor, president of Victorian branch of the British Medical Association.Early lifeStawell was the sixth soncite web… …   Wikipedia

  • Stawell family — /stɔl/ (say stawl) noun an Australian family noted particularly for their contribution to the state of Victoria. 1. Sir William Foster, 1815–89, administrator and judge, born in Ireland; chief justice of Victoria 1857–1886. 2. his son, Sir… …   Australian English dictionary


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