Lives of the fellows

Christopher Bagot Sangster

b.1 May 1908 d.27 February 1995
MB BS Adelaide(1931) MRCP(1934) MRACP(1938) MD(1941) FRACP(1947) FRCP( 1963)

Christopher Sangster was born in Burra, South Australia, where his father and grandfather were both doctors. His mother, Ruby Kathleen (née Turnbull), was the daughter of a bank manager. On the death of Sangster’s father in 1915 she moved with her three sons to Adelaide.

Educated at St Peter’s College, Christopher had an outstanding sporting career. He was head prefect and captain of cricket, football, tennis and athletics in 1925. Subsequently he continued his sporting interests at Adelaide University, where he captained the cricket and football clubs, and for four years captained the South Australia amateur football team. In later life he was an active tennis and golf player, being elected to life membership of the Royal Adelaide Golf Club in 1979.

On graduating he emulated his fathers 1896 feat of winning the Everard scholarship for the highest marks in his final year. After completing his RMO year at the Royal Adelaide Hospital he went to London where he obtained his membership of the College in 1934. On his return to Adelaide in 1935 he commenced private practice as a consultant physician, from which he retired 50 years later. That same year he was appointed assistant honorary physician to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

In 1939 he married Helen Elizabeth Burston, daughter of Sir Samuel Burston [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.63], and they had four children - Robin, John, Andrew and Helen. With the advent of war he enlisted in the Australian Army Medical Corps and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, seeing service in Alice Springs, New Guinea and Bougainville. He later served as commanding officer of 121 Australian General Hospital, Northfield, and of the Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park.

In 1941 he was awarded his doctorate from the University of Adelaide for his work on rheumatic fever. After the war he returned to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where he was a much respected teacher of generations of medical students and became honorary physician to the hospital in 1955, a post he retained until his retirement in 1968. He was a foundation fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. In addition he served for 46 years as visiting physician to the Home for Incurables and as visiting physician to the Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park. For 17 years he served as chief medical officer to the Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society and, for 35 years, as a councillor to the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia, including five years as senior vice-president.

As well as his sporting interests, Christopher Sangster was a keen gardener. He had many friends of all ages and was extremely proud of his family for whom he had a deep affection. Sadly his wife died in 1992.

J F Sangster

(Volume X, page 431)

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