Lives of the fellows

William Morris Irwin

b.11 December 1914 d.15 July 1994
MB BS Adelaide(1938) MRACP(1949) MRCP(1949) FRACP(1957) FRCP(1974)

Bill Irwin, as he was known to his friends, came from a strong Anglican background. His father, William Henry Irwin, was a clergyman who devoted his life to teaching. His maternal grandfather was an Anglican diocesan registrar. Bill was educated at St Peter’s College, Adelaide, South Australia, where he was a prefect and involved in many extra-curricular activities. 1933 he entered the faculty of medicine at Adelaide University and graduated with merit. After a year as RMO at the Royal Adelaide Hospital he enlisted in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps and served both in Australia and overseas in the Middle East. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel as commanding officer of the 17th Field Ambulance and, later, of the 121st Army General Hospital.

On discharge in 1947 he returned to his old teaching hospital as medical registrar. He was awarded a Nuffield dominion travelling medical fellowship in 1948 for further study in the UK. His main professional interest was in gastroenterology and he worked with Sir Francis Avery Jones for some time, obtaining his membership of both the Royal College of Physicians and the Australasian College.

Back in Australia, he joined the honorary medical staff of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1955 and served until 1971 when he became an emeritus visiting physician. He was a foundation member of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, serving on its council from 1959 to 1964, and as president between 1965 and 1967.

Bill was a popular colleague and led an active family life. In 1951 he met Phyllis Hayward on a boat trip home from England and married her that year in Australia. They had a son who is a landscape architect and a daughter who qualified in medicine and is now in practice in Victor Harbour. Bill became very involved in club life and although his golfing prowess was not of a high order he loved the game and had many friends at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club. He worked enthusiastically for the Returned Services League of Australia and was always up front in the Anzac Day march. He served on the synod of the Anglican Church in South Australia. He also followed first class cricket, being a regular patron at the Adelaide Oval.

R C Angove

(Volume X, page 247)

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