Lives of the fellows

Harold John Ritchie

b.1883 d.9 September 1953
MB ChM Sydney(1908) FRACP(1938) *FRCP(1950)

Harold Ritchie, for many years a leading consultant in Sydney, was born at Boga, New South Wales, the son of Henry Lucas St. George Ritchie, a grazier, and Catherine, daughter of James Crawford Read, a native of Bath, England. He was educated at the Grammar School and the University of Sydney, and joined the staff of Sydney Hospital immediately after holding resident posts. He served it with devotion for thirty-four years, as out-patient physician, then honorary physician, and finally as honorary consulting physician. For close on twenty years from 1926 he was lecturer in clinical medicine and a member of the University faculty of medicine.

In 1935 he was elected honorary associate physician to the Prince Henry Hospital. In addition he was a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council and of the Medical Board of New South Wales. From 1944 to 1946 he was president of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, of which he had been made a foundation fellow in 1938.

Ritchie had a strong and vivid personality. With his outstanding diagnostic ability and clinical judgment and his dignity and fearlessness in discussion, he made an admirable president, always striving for professional excellence backed by research. He did much towards the successful development of the Kanematsu Institute.

Unfortunately he wrote very little; his forte was teaching, illustrated by wide general as well as by medical reading, and characterised by the charm which endeared him to his colleagues and his patients; his lectures at a refresher course were appreciated by general practitioners. On his holidays he enjoyed beach fishing, and for a time he raced horses with moderate success.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Bernard Swift, a farmer, of New South Wales. Their son, Frank Lane Ritchie, succeeded to his practice.

Richard R Trail

* He was elected under the special bye-law which provides for the election to the fellowship of "Persons holding a medical qualification, but not Members of the College, who have distinguished themselves in the practice of medicine, or in the pursuit of Medical or General Science or Literature..."

[Med.J.Aust., 1953, 2, 698-9 (p); 1954, 1, 23-4.]

(Volume V, page 349)

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