Lives of the fellows

Marcus de Laune Faunce

b.5 December 1922 d.14 June 2004
MB BS Adelaide(1946) MRACP(1952) MRCP(1955) FRACP(1965) FRCP(1968) AM(1981) CVO(1995) OBE

Marcus de Laune Faunce (known as ‘Marc’) was a consultant physician at Royal Canberra Hospital. He was born in Sydney, New South Wales, the son of Marcus Gordon Faunce, a business manager who had fought at Gallipoli, Romani and Beersheba in the First World War, and Kathleen Betty née Smith, the daughter of a grazier. His brother Blake died at the age of six from rheumatic heart disease. Marc’s great-grandfather, Captain Alured Tasker Faunce of the Fourth King’s Own Regiment, emigrated to Australia and became the first police magistrate of the Canberra district. His grandfather, Canon Alured Dodsworth Faunce, was the Anglican rector at Bega and Yass, New South Wales.

Marc was educated at St Peter’s College, Adelaide, and Adelaide University, where he gained the Dr Davies Thomas Scholarship for the first place in anatomy and physiology. He graduated in 1946. He was a resident medical officer at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and then a captain in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps for two years, serving in occupied Japan. From 1949 to 1953 he was a senior resident medical officer and then senior registrar at Sydney Hospital. He then went to the UK, where he was a house physician and research assistant at Brompton Hospital. He gained his MRACP in 1952 and the MRCP in 1955.

By 1957 he had returned to Australia, becoming the first consultant physician in Canberra. He practised as a general physician with a special interest in respiratory diseases. With Tony Proust he initiated the Canberra Medical Society, which began as a body for postgraduate learning, but when more specialist societies developed became a forum for networking for practitioners across a range of disciplines. His contribution to Canberra medicine was commemorated by the naming of the Faunce Auditorium at the Royal Canberra Hospital. He was a member of the Royal Canberra Hospital board of management and fought hard, but unsuccessfully, to save the hospital from closure.

He maintained his connections with the Armed Services and was in the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Reserve from 1962, ending his career as group captain (Reserve), principal medical officer, RAAF, in 1980. He was honorary personal physician to five prime ministers (including Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser) and six governors-general.

He was awarded the Commander of the Royal Victorian Order and an OBE. In 1981, he was made a member of the military division of the Order of Australia.

Outside medicine, he enjoyed reading, including poetry, political biographies and the Bible.

In 1951 he married Marjorie Morison, a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald. She died in 1995. They had a daughter, Charlotte, and two sons, Thomas and Marcus (Ned). Thomas is an associate professor in the College of Law and at the Medical School, Australian National University, Canberra. Marcus Faunce died in Canberra of cancer of the kidney.

RCP editor

[Dr Marcus Faunce: funeral oration – accessed 14 March 2011; Royal Australasian College of Physicians, College Roll – accessed 14 March 2011; MJA 2004; 181(9): 504]

(Volume XII, page web)

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