Lives of the fellows

William Ernest King

b.11 June 1914 d.3 November 1964
MB BS Melb(1937) MD Melb(1940) MRCP(1948) FRACP(1952) FRCP(1961)

William King was born in Melbourne to Ernest William King, the son of a general manager, and his wife, Esther Alice, daughter of Samuel Davis, a businessman. He attended Sydney Grammar School and the Melbourne Church of England Grammar School before entering the Medical School of Melbourne University, and held junior appointments at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Children’s Hospitals until 1940, when he joined the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. Until 1946 he served in New Guinea, Borneo and the Philippines, and commanded the 46th Australian Camp Hospital on the Kakoda Trail, where the Japanese advance on Port Moresby was finally halted in 1943.

On his return home he joined the clinical research unit of the Eliza Hall Institute under the directorship of Professor F. M. Burnet, and the staff of the Royal Melbourne Hospital which he was to serve until his death in 1964. He had many commitments. From 1950 to 1953 he was Stuart lecturer in pathology, and from 1948 to 1961 senior medical tutor at Queen’s College, Melbourne University.

He introduced liver biopsy to Australia (Med. J. Aust.f 1948, 1, 697-701) and made a life-long study of gastroenterology. In 1959 he played the leading part in forming the Australian Society of Gastroenterology, of which he became president in 1962, and while a censor of the Royal Australasian College from 1959 to 1964 lectured in Singapore as the Australian representative to the Colombo Plan in 1963.

King’s high intelligence and wealth of experience in most fields of medicine made him a superb teacher and a popular consultant. Increasing demands on his services left him little time for his hobbies of tennis, golf and music. In 1943 he married Dr Lorna Ina Kiel, daughter of Francis Magnus Kiel, a dental surgeon. They had two sons.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1965, 1, 322; College Newsletter (RACP), 1965, 1, no. 11, 2 (p); Lancet, 1964, 2, 1072; Med.J.Aust., 1965, 2, 92-3.]

(Volume V, page 230)

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