Notable contributors

In this section you will find biographies about notable staff and graduates who have been connected with the Discipline of Surgery since the Faculty of Medicine's foundation in 1856.

Clicking on a link will take you to the full biography hosted on the Sydney Medical School's Online Museum and Archive. The Online Museum and Archive also welcomes your submission of biographies and obituaries. Enquiries can be directed to the managing curator, Dr Lise Mellor.

All images, texts and links on this page are provided courtesy of the Sydney Medical School.


Benjamin, Bruce Neil Proctor
Benjamin Bruce

Professor Bruce Benjamin is described as “a pioneer in ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery”. He was the first ENT Registrar at Sydney Hospital, and the first in Australia to use the CO2 laser for ENT surgery. He was Foundation President of the Australasian Society of Paediatric Otolaryngology in 1993 and designed the Benjamin jet tube for anaesthesia during microlaryngoscopy... More.

Craig, Robert Gordon
Craig Robert

Robert (Gordon) Craig established the first urological unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in 1918, and established the Department of Urology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in 1925. Through his benefactions to the University of Sydney he provided the first professional specialist training of urologists... More.

Dan, Noel George
Dan Noel

Noel Dan, a neurosurgeon, pioneered new techniques for surgical procedures in anterior skull base surgery. His leadership of an epidemiological study of head injuries in NSW was instrumental in the introduction of Random Breath Testing... More.

Dew, Sir Harold Robert
Dew Harold

Sir Harold Dew was the first full time Professor of Surgery in any Australian University and was act in the foundation of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. As the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (1936-1938, 1940-1952), he was instrumental in introducing the BSc (Med) degree. He was created Knight Bachelor in 1955 for services to Sydney University and to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, where he served as President from 1954-1955... More.

See also:
- Harold Dew becomes the first Bosch Professor of Surgery in 1931
- Sir Harold Dew becomes the eighth Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in 1936

Edye, Sir Benjamin
Edye Benjamin

Sir Benjamin Edye was the first Australian surgeon to carry out what we would now call ‘elective’ cardiac surgery. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1957 and was knighted (KBE) in 1958 for his services to medicine... More.

Fletcher, John
Fletcher John

Professor John Fletcher was the first Australian and New Zealand Vice-President of the International Union of Angiology (IUA) 1998-2000 and was President of the Surgical Research Society of Australasia 1997-8. He is Chairman of the Australian and New Zealand Working Group on Prevention and Treatment of Venous Thromboembolism... More (Link opens a .pdf extract taken from "The Heart of Medicine" (2008) by Lise Mellor and Simon Fieldhouse).

Goulston, Eric
Goulston Eric

Eric Goulston pioneered a surgical procedure to relieve congenital tracheoesophageal fistula and become the inaugural Professor of Surgery at Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa in the late 1960s... More.

Gye, Richard Spencer Butler
Gye Richard

Richard Gye developed the first academic unit of neurosurgery in Australia, and became the first full-time Dean of Medicine within the Faculty in 1974, a post he held for 15 years. In 1988, Richard was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia for services to medicine... More.

Harris, Samuel Henry
Harris Samuel

Samuel Henry (Harry) Harris was the first Honorary urologist to the newly established department of urology at Lewisham Hospital, making him the first full time urological specialist in Australia... More

Little, John Miles
Little John Miles

Miles Little was the Foundation Professor of Surgery at Westmead Hospital in 1978, a Co-Founder of the World Association of Hepatic, Pancreatic and Biliary Surgeons in 1987, and foundation President from 1987-89. He is the Founding Director of the Centre for Values, Ethics and Law in Medicine at the University of Sydney. He is also a published poet... More.

Loewenthal, Sir John
Loewenthal John

John Loewenthal has been credited with the successful building and development of the Department of Surgery at the University of Sydney and was the twelfth Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. In 1960, he was one of the founding members of the National Heart Foundation of Australia, of which he became national President in 1975. He was knighted for his “services to health” in 1978... More.

See also:
- Sir John Loewenthal becomes the twelfth Dean of the Faculty of Medicine

MacCormick, Sir Alexander
MacCormick Alexander

Alexander MacCormick was one of the first surgeons to adopt Lister’s method in surgery in England, and was responsible for introducing Lister’s concepts to the Sydney School. He also made significant contributions to various kinds of surgery... More.

McCarthy, William
McCarthy William

Professor McCarthy has led the world in melanoma education, general medical education and melanoma surgery. He was the first person to gain a degree in Medical Education and the world’s first Professor of Surgery (Melanoma and Skin Oncology)... More.

McCredie, Janet
McCredie Janet

Janet McCredie devised the theory of Neural Crest Injury as being the pathogenesis of congenital malformations of the thalidomide type. She was also one of the instigators of NSW Breast Screen which enabled her to help bring to fruition her mother’s initial ideas for mammography as a screening technique for early diagnosis of breast cancer... More.

Milford, Frederick
Milford Frederick

Frederick Milford was the first Lecturer in the Principles and Practice of Surgery (1882–1889) at the University of Sydney. He was also one of the pioneers in establishing St Vincent’s Hospital and made a significant contribution toward the structural organisation of the Hospital and the development of surgical practices... More.

Miller, Sir Ian Douglas
Miller Ian

Sir Ian (Douglas) Miller is credited with being Australia’s first neurosurgeon, performing the first operation for a brain tumour in 1933. He was one of the founders of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia... More.

Mills, Frank Harland
Mills Frank

Frank Mills performed the first local mitral valvotomy in 1951 at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney... More.

Nade, Sydney Michael Lewis
Nade Sydney

Sydney Nade was Foundation Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Western Australia. He has been Chair of the Orthopaedic Undergraduate Education Committee of the Australian Orthopaedic Association and is has been teaching with the University of Sydney since 1986... More.

Nicks, Rowan
Nicks Rowan

Rowan Nicks, the first founding full-time Cardiothoracic Surgeon, was appointed to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in 1956. Rowan designed the first automatic pacemaker... More.

Owen, Earl Ronald
Owen Earl

Earl Owen has been a world pioneer in microsurgery, designing the first microscopic tools for surgery and founding the International Microsurgical Society in 1969. He was the first to transplant an index finger successfully in 1970, performed the first successful micro-reversal of a vasectomy in 1971, the first successful micro-reversal of a woman’s tubal sterilisation in 1972, and the world’s first successful hand transplantation in 1998. Most recently, he trained and led the team of surgeons who carried out the world’s first facial transplant in the world... More.

Pennington, David
Pennington David

In 1979, David performed both the first successful microsurgical ear replantation and the first free transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous flap operation in Australia... More.

Taylor, Thomas Kinman Fardon
Taylor Thomas

Thomas (Tom) Taylor was the first Professor of Orthopaedics and Traumatic Surgery at the University of Sydney, appointed in 1969. His Chair at Royal North Shore Hospital was also the first ‘full Professorial appointment’ at the hospital... More.

Wong, John
Wong John

John Wong has pioneered new techniques in oesophageal cancer which have been responsible for reducing the mortality from these procedures to near zero. In 1989 he was the Founding President of the University of Sydney Alumni Association of Hong Kong... More.

Yeo, John Douglas
Yeo John

John Yeo is a leader in the prevention and rehabilitation of people with spinal injuries. He was the Founder and Director of the Spinal Research Foundation in 1976... More.