Lives of the fellows

Bruce Atlee Hunt

b.23 February 1899 d.29 Oct 1964
MBE(1947) MB BS Melb(1925) MD Melb(1928) MRCP(1926) FRACP(1938) FRCP(1951)

Bruce Hunt, the son of Arthur Atlee Hunt, C.M.G., private secretary to Sir Edmund Barton, Australia’s first Prime Minister, was born in Victoria. In 1917 he left Melbourne Grammar School, where he was classics exhibitioner, to join the Artillery and serve in France, and in 1920 entered Trinity College, Melbourne, where his brilliant classmates included Burnet, Cameron and the Hurleys. For five years after graduation he did post-graduate work at the Melbourne Hospital, the National and Charing Cross Hospitals in London, and the metabolic clinics in Vienna, before his appointments to the staffs of the Children’s and Royal Hospitals of Perth, Western Australia. In them he soon justified fully the opinion of Gordon Holmes that he was a physician of ‘exceptional clinical ability and capacity for assimilating new ideas’. His diabetic clinic was run on the then advanced idea of flexibility in control. He inspired and encouraged his younger colleagues and, as a keen member of the Australian Association of Physicians, worked steadily towards the establishment of the Royal Australasian College, of which he was a foundation fellow.

In the Second World War he was captured at Singapore as an officer of the 13th Australian General Hospital; his outstanding physical and mental courage, despite great personal suffering, brought him the respect and affection of all ranks who with him went through the hell of the labour camps of the Death Railway in Siam. On his return home in 1947 he devoted himself to postgraduate education and hospital administration.

He became president of the Western Australian branch of the British Medical Association, vice-president of the Royal Australasian College, and in 1956 a foundation member of the medical faculty of the University of Western Australia, which was a fitting recognition of his establishment of the first full time clinical unit in 1952.

His hobbies were many and varied: classical literature, music, racing, cricket and club-life. In 1928 he married Maedhail Hunt, by whom he had one son and one daughter.

Richard R Trail

[, 1965,1, 197-8; College Newsletter (RACP), 1965, 1, no. 11, 2 (p); Med.J.Aust., 1965, 1, 662-3.]

(Volume V, page 207)

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