Fellows of Senate

Sir Charles George McDonald KCMG KSG

Sir Charles McDonald KCMG KSG was a Fellow of Senate from 1942 to 1970, Deputy Chancellor 1953 to 1954 and Chancellor 1964 to 1969.


Profile

(1892 – 1970)
KCMG KSG, MB ChM Sydney, FRCP FRACP
Fellow of Senate 1942 - 1970, including election by Senate as
– Deputy Chancellor 1953 - 1954
– Chancellor 1964 - 1969

His early years

Charles George McDonald, born in Newcastle New South Wales, was educated at Singleton Superior Public School and Sydney Boys High School after he was awarded a scholarship.

As a student at the University of Sydney

After completing senior public examinations with honours in four languages, he won a bursary and elected to study medicine at the University of Sydney. He graduated MB in 1916 and ChM in 1928.

Charles George McDonald

Charles George McDonald, photo from the 1924 Faculty of Medicine Yearbook, Online Museum.

His career

Although he did not serve overseas, he gained experience in the treatment of chest diseases during the First World War treating returned soldiers. He was appointed Honorary Advisor on Tuberculosis to the Australian Red Cross Society.

In 1916, he commenced a long association with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as firstly resident medical officer and from 1920 as Honorary Assistant-Physician in the Tuberculosis Clinic. He remained at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as an Honorary or Consulting Physician until his death and was a member of its Board (1964-70).

From 1938 he lectured in Clinical Medicine at the University. After service in World War Two in Greece and Palestine, he resumed his position in 1943 where he lectured until 1952. He was a founder of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1938 and was its President from 1954-56. In 1956, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London. McDonald was a Trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales, and, a staunch Catholic, was a founder of the Newman Association of Catholic Graduates and from 1953, was the Chairman of the Sancta Sophia College Council.

The biographical notes on the Chancellors contain information derived from a variety of sources including: Australia’s First: A History of the University of Sydney; University News; University of Sydney Archives; and Lawlink NSW: Law and History.

Charles George McDonald

Charles George McDonald, photo from the 1950 Faculty of Medicine Yearbook, Online Museum.

His membership of Senate

In 1942, McDonald was elected Fellow of the Senate of the University. He served as Deputy Chancellor between 1953-54 and succeeded Sir Charles Blackburn as Chancellor in 1964, serving until 1969.

Deputy Chancellor Charles McDonald (left) on the occasion of the visit of Prince Phillip in 1954

Deputy Chancellor Charles McDonald (left) on the occasion of the visit of Prince Phillip in 1954, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

Chancellor Sir Charles McDonald in the late 1960s

Chancellor Sir Charles McDonald in the late 1960s, photo G3_224_1913, University of Sydney Archives.

Chancellor Sir Charles McDonald

Vice-Chancellor Sir Stephen Henry Roberts (left), Deputy Principal Harold Maze, Senator John Gorton, Chancellor Sir Charles McDonald, unknown officer and Deputy Chancellor the Reverend Bertram Russell Wyllie at the opening of the Merewether Building, 1966, photo G_224_463, University of Sydney Archives.

The Governor-General Lord Casey and Sir Charles McDonald in 1968

The Governor-General Lord Casey and Chancellor Sir Charles McDonald in 1968, photo G3_224_0450_6, University of Sydney Archives.

Sir Charles McDonald

Portrait of Sir Charles George McDonald KCMG KSG by Sir William Dargie (1912-2003), 1970, oil on canvas, commissioned by the University of Sydney, University Art Collection, reproduced with the kind permission of Roger Dargie and the University of Sydney.

Senate's tribute 1970

The Chancellor, Sir Charles McDonald, died on 23rd April, 1970, at the age of 78.

Charles George McDonald was born on March 25, 1892, in Newcastle, NSW. He entered the Faculty of Medicine in 1911 and graduated Bachelor of Medicine in 1916 and Master of Surgery in 1928. He was Lecturer in Clinical Medicine from 1938 to 1952, with a period of interruption by military service overseas.

He became a Fellow of the Senate of the University in 1942, was elected Deputy Chancellor in 1953 and 1954 and Chancellor in 1964.

He had wide interests backed by a wide knowledge. As an undergraduate, he edited Hermes, the students' literary magazine. He was active in union debates and was a member of the University team which debated an Oxford team in 1926. He could, when occasion required it, produce extempore the appropriate Latin quotation or give the apposée literary allusion. His memory for detail was prodigious.

He had an equally distinguished career outside the university in his beloved medical profession. He acted as honorary physician or as a member of the board of several hospitals: Royal Prince Alfred, Royal North Shore and Lewisham. He was for a time a Member of the Medical Board of New South Wales. He played an active and leading role in the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, being Secretary from 1944 to 1948, Vice-President from 1948 to 1950, Censor-in-Chief from 1950 to 1954, and President from 1954 to 1956. He was also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London.

He served as a Captain with the First AIF, and from 1940 to 1943 as Lieutenant-Colonel in the Second AIF Medical Corps. On the latter occasion he served in Palestine, Greece and Crete.

He served the community in many other ways by serving on committees and boards. Notable here was his Chairmanship of the Australian Rheumatism Council from 1953 onwards.

Sir Charles was created a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory in 1960, made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1956, a Knight Bachelor in 1962 and a Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in 1970.

From the 1972 University Calendar