The John Loewenthal Society

Sir John Loewenthal

John Loewenthal was born in Sydney in 1914 and educated at Sydney Grammar School and the University of Sydney where he gained first place in final year medicine and honours at graduation. He served with the Australian military forces in the Middle East and New Guinea as a distinguished military surgeon. Following the war he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and later was appointed as Consulting Surgeon to Army Headquarters with the rank of Colonel.

In 1949 he took up appointment as assistant Honorary Surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and in 1956 was appointed to the Bosch Chair of Surgery at Sydney University. At that time, there was little surgical research in the Department of Surgery and Professor Loewenthal determined to bring the Department to world standards in surgical science. Within a short period of time the Department had decentralised to teaching hospitals in the greater metropolitan area of Sydney and beyond, with specialist units established in colorectal, melanoma and surgical oncology, transplantation, vascular, orthopaedics, otolaryngology and neurosurgery. Under his leadership, new dimensions of surgical science were being realised.

Following his death on 25th August 1979, close friends and colleagues sought to maintain his memory with the formation of the John Loewenthal Society. The principle objectives of the Society were to maintain a sense of unity among members of the Department of Surgery of the University of Sydney and to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of John Loewenthal. Annual scientific meetings were arranged to encourage discussion of topics relevant to medicine and surgery. The Annual General Meeting is held in association with the scientific meeting, including a formal dinner at which the John Loewenthal medals are presented for outstanding research.

Membership of the Society is open to current and past members of the academic staff, research fellows, and past and present registrars of Professorial Surgical Units. Persons outside the University of Sydney may be invited to membership by a majority of the members of the Society present at the Annual General Meeting.

The John Loewenthal Society remains an integral component of the Department of Surgery; it allows us to remember the inspired leadership of John Loewenthal and the dynamic effect he had on the development and organization of Surgery at the University of Sydney.