Lives of the fellows

Guy Austin Lendon

b.22 January 1895 d.21 April 1970
MB BS Adelaide(1917) MRCP(1922) MD(1923) FRACP(1938) FRCP(1940)

Guy Lendon was born in Adelaide. His father was Alfred Austin Lendon, MD London 1881 with gold medal; he was a leading Adelaide physician, renowned for his work on hydatid disease in conjunction with Davies Thomas. Guy’s mother was Lucy Isabel, daughter of Henry Rymill of Adelaide; she was awarded an OBE for work with the Trench Comforts Fund during World War 1. He was educated at St. Peter’s Collegiate School, Adelaide, under Canon Girdlestone as headmaster. He proceeded to the University of Adelaide in 1912 in the Faculty of Science; after one year he entered the Faculty of Medicine. During the first world war this course was contracted, no vacations being taken, and he graduated MB BS in May, 1917, with first class honours, occupying second place on the honours list. Guy Lendon decided to join the Royal Australian Navy, and as a Surgeon Lieutenant saw service on board the HMAS Australia, and was present at the surrender of the German Navy at Scapa Flow.

After a short period as RMO at the Adelaide Hospital, he returned to England and entered Magdalen College, Oxford, for several terms, and then served as house surgeon at the Radcliffe Infirmary. He obtained his Membership of the College in 1922. Soon afterwards he returned to Adelaide, working under Frederick Wood Jones, who was then the Elder Professor of Anatomy. In 1923 he received his Doctorate of Medicine for an anatomical thesis on the Australian aboriginal.

At this stage he decided to enter private practice as a consulting physician and in 1923 was appointed an honorary assistant physician to the Adelaide Hospital and soon afterwards a Tutor in Medicine. He was appointed Chief Medical Officer to the Australian Mutual Provident Society, SA branch, following on his father, who had occupied this position since 1919. He gave this company excellent service for thirty-three years. After serving for fifteen years as honorary assistant physician, he was appointed honorary physician to the Adelaide Hospital in 1938, and occupied this position with great honour until 1955. During this time he enjoyed a high reputation as an astute clinician, his students became his great admirers and appreciated his clear and positive thinking. He was blessed with a ready wit as well as a sound knowledge of medicine, and his ward rounds were always well attended by both students and visiting practitioners.

For years he had been a member of the Association of Physicians of Australia, of which he was a foundation member. This body was disbanded in 1938 with formation of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Guy Lendon was a foundation Fellow of this College, and he took a very active part in its early activities. He was a member of the South Australian State Committee of the College from 1938-52, and Chairman of that Committee from 1952-58. He was an acting Censor of the College from 1940-42, in the place of Sir Edmund Britten Jones, who was on active military service. He was a Vice-President of the College from 1952-54 and a Councillor during 1954-58. Failing health prevented him from taking any active part in College affairs after this date.

He was elevated to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, London, in 1940. He jealously guarded all its principles, and was a devout follower of the great clinical teachers of that College. Apart from his work as a clinical teacher and lecturer in Medicine at the University of Adelaide, he took a very active part in the administration of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, being Chairman of the Honorary Staff for some years, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Hospital and the University which governs staff appointments.

No record of Guy Lendon’s life would be complete without mention of his sporting prowess; he was an excellent rifle shot, representing his University on many occasions and being awarded his Blue. He was a tennis player of great ability, representing his University and also the State of South Australia. His golf was above average, and he was, at one time, a scratch player for his Club, the Royal Adelaide Golf Club. He was captain of this Club in 1948. In billiards he excelled, being trained in the days of standard narrow pockets by his maternal grandfather.

As a man Guy had a ready wit and was a master of repartee; at times his acid tongue could lash unmercifully, and this may have made enemies, but was to be expected in such a forthright, forcible character as he was.

His health began to deteriorate rapidly from 1957 onwards; he resigned all his positions and became more and more confined to his home. His latter years were occupied by reading, meeting his friends and many visitors, by becoming very skilful in the use of lathes and engraving machines, and doing most artistic work with wood, perspex, ivory and metal.

In 1925 he married Marianny, daughter of Major General Burston of Melbourne. There was one daughter, Elspeth. His wife predeceased him by several years, when she was tragically killed in a motor traffic accident.

ME Chinner

[Med.J.Aust., 29 Aug, 1970]

(Volume VI, page 281)

<< Back to List