Lives of the fellows

James Gordon Hislop

b.14 August 1895 d.4 May 1972
MB BS Melb(1918) MRCP(1922) FRCP(1949)

The Hon. James Gordon Hislop was born in Windsor, Victoria. His father James Mitchell Hislop was a pharmacist in Victoria. His mother, Katherine, was the daughter of William Collins, a railway official in Victoria.

He went to Scotch College, Melbourne and qualified MB, BS in the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1918. He worked initially as medical officer in the Influenza Emergency Hospitals in Victoria and Tasmania. In 1919 he was medical resident in the Western Australian Children’s (afterwards Princess Margaret) Hospital in Perth. He travelled to England and between 1920 and 1922 worked at Manchester Royal Infirmary, the Brompton Hospital and Frimley Sanatorium, finishing off his training as medical registrar at Manchester Royal Infirmary. On his return to Australia he was appointed medical superintendent at the Children’s Hospital in Perth. In 1927 he was appointed honorary physician at the Royal Perth Hospital, an appointment he held until his retirement in 1946. For a while he served on the Board of Management of the Royal Perth Hospital.

He established himself in private practice as a consultant physician. Early in his career he showed an interest in chest diseases and diabetes. A colleague described him as "a man who was extremely popular with his patients, an extremely pleasant fellow who would go to any amount of trouble." He was elected Vice President of the Section of Medicine of the Australasian Medical Congress in Adelaide in 1937, and in Perth in 1948. Apart from the practice of medicine he was a vital force in postgraduate education. With a few others he developed a standing postgraduate committee, afterwards the Postgraduate Foundation, combining the University of Western Australia School of Medicine and the Australian Medical Association. He became its first President. In 1939 on the advent of the war, with the rank of Major, he became a member of the Civil Defence Council of Western Australia. He was Honorary Director of Emergency Medical Services, and Executive Officer and Deputy Chairman of the Medical Coordination Committee between 1942 and 1946.

During his time as Member of Parliament in the Upper House of Western Australia he took particular interest in matters affecting workers’ compensation, hospital administration and the training and registration of paramedical workers. He organised the passage of a bill to make the pasteurisation of milk compulsory. He published his experiences on the control of pulmonary tuberculosis in the Medical Journal of Australia in 1924 and in 1925.

Outside medicine and politics, he was President of the Rotary Club of Perth in 1940, and was elected District Governor between 1947 and 1949.

Gordon Hislop was a great reader and his library bore testimony to his wide interests. He was known to be an individualist in his views. He was an indefatigable worker, a genial host and he took a keen interest in bowls in his latter years.

He married in 1925 Netta Millicent, daughter of Arthur Theodore Searll, a manufacturer in Victoria. He had a son and a daughter. His son Ian Gordon who qualified MB, BS in 1948, in the first group to take the final examination in the University of Western Australia Medical School, is a member (1976) of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Krishna Somers

[Le Soueff, L.E. Univ. West Aust. Grad. Med. Bull. 72-73, 1972]

(Volume VI, page 245)

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