Lives of the fellows

Arthur Geoffrey McManis

b.18 November 1911 d.19 November 2005
MB BS Sydney(1936) FRCP(1969) FRACP

Geoff McManis was one of the great chest physicians in Australia in the period following the second world war. He was born in Cairns, Queensland, in the far north of Australia, where his father, Arthur William McManis, was a dental surgeon. His mother was Mary Keating. As a schoolboy he took days to travel by train to Brisbane and then to Sydney to attend St Ignatius College, a school for which he had great loyalty and which he served in so many ways. In 2005 he was proud to participate in the 125th year jubilee celebrations of this remarkable Jesuit college. He graduated in medicine from the University of Sydney in 1936 and did his residency training at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and the Royal Newcastle Hospital.

From 1940 to 1946 he was in the RAAF, rising to the rank of squadron leader and serving in the Middle East and Borneo. After the war he undertook training in respiratory medicine at the King Edward VII Hospital, Sussex, and at the Brompton Hospital. It was at ‘Midhurst’ that he met an English nurse, Marion Skilbeck, whom he married in Langley Moor in County Durham in May 1950 and with whom he was to spend the rest of his long and eventful life in Sydney. They had a family of two daughters and three sons – one of whom, Phillip, was to follow him into medicine, becoming a professor of neurology. Phillip sadly predeceased him.

Geoff’s medical career in Sydney was at St Vincent’s Hospital, the Royal North Shore Hospital, Lewisham Hospital and the Repatriation Hospital in Concord. He gained an enviable reputation as a superbly competent physician giving compassionate advice to the many tuberculosis patients of those times. His clinical meetings were renowned for the stories he presented and the way they seemed to portray so much of his own personality – his mischief, affection, common sense, loyalty and his excellence.

As a result of his special interest in respiratory medicine he was chairman of the Australian Laennec Society and, when it became the Australian Thoracic Society in 1960, Geoffrey was the first president.

He gave a convincing appearance that life was a joyful event. He loved his family, his religion, his heritage, his patients and his friends. He enjoyed hospitality, both as a host and as a guest, and until the last six months of his life was a convenor of a group of his friends who met monthly at his city club.

He was blessed with an active body and continued to play regular tennis beyond his 90th birthday. He had an alert mind – proud to express his sentiments to those around him. In his last months he recovered against the odds from a series of minor strokes, minor coronary events and a spinal cord abscess – so much so that he remained remarkably clear in accepting his final call.

Richard Malhearn

(Volume XII, page web)

<< Back to List