Lives of the fellows

John Henry Deakin

b.4 June 1917 d.16 July 1991
MB BS Syd(1939) MRCP(1948) MRACP(1950) FRACP(1961) FRCP(1977)

John Deakin was born in Sydney, Australia, where his father John Edward Ferdinand Deakin was a medical practitioner. John was educated at St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, obtaining his leaving certificate at the early age of 16 years - while still in the Second Division. He then entered the faculty of medicine at Sydney University and following qualification became RMO at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. In August 1940 he enlisted in the RAAF as a medical officer and served for five years; he saw overseas service as MO to No 75 Fighter Squadron in New Guinea and was promoted to the rank of squadron leader. On demobilization he returned to the Royal Prince Albert Hospital as a medical registrar and the following year acted as assistant to his father in general practice.

In 1947 he came to the UK for postgraduate study and obtained his membership of the College the following year. From 1948-49 he worked as a medical registrar at the West Middlesex Hospital before returning to Australia to take up a similar post at the Royal North Shore Hospital. He obtained his membership of the RACP in 1950 and was appointed honorary consultant physician to the hospital and postgraduate medical registrar. He was also appointed honorary physician to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Sydney, and to the Northcott Neurological Diagnostic Centre. He was an excellent clinician whose opinion was greatly valued and he took a personal interest in his patients and their care.

In 1948 he married Robin Doyle, daughter of Ralph Doyle, a film executive, and they had nine children - three sons and six daughters. It was a very happy marriage and they were a very close family. Among his leisure pursuits, he enjoyed carpentry and gardening. He kept his family supplied with vegetables and also taught all his children to be gardeners. He was a regular speaker on the ABC radio programme 'Gardener of the Air’. He loved sailing and fishing and had his own yacht, making many long ocean trips. In his younger days he did much scuba diving. Having developed an interest in baking, he kept his family supplied with bread, and eggs came from his own hens. They owned a small house in the bush at Kunayong, with no neighbours within sight or sound, where he and Robin enioyed many restful retreats. There was no telephone and they were able to enjoy their love of bush walking.

John Deakin was a modest, unassuming and deeply religious man, devoted to his Church. In his final years, despite increasing weakness and disability, he managed to drive himself to Mass every morning until he became physically unable to do so.

D W Piper

(Volume IX, page 126)

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