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Biographical entry Thomas, John Davies (1844 - 1893)

MRCS Jan 24th 1867; FRCS June 9th 1870; LSA 1866; MB Lond 1867; University Scholar and first gold medal in obstetric medicine, gold medal in medicine, and honours in forensic medicine 1869; MD 1871.

11 October 1844
Swansea, Wales
30 January 1893
Blackwood, Australia
General surgeon


Born in Swansea on Oct 11th, 1844, the eldest son of the Rev Thomas Thomas, a Congregational minister of that town. Two of his maternal great-uncles, John Davies - after whom he was named - and Thomas Davies, who lost his life at Trafalgar, were naval surgeons under Nelson.

Thomas was educated at Swansea and at University College, London. Besides winning high honours in the London University examinations, he gained several certificates of honour at University College as well as the first silver medal in physiology and a Fellowes silver medal in clinical medicine. He was Resident Physician's Assistant to Sir William Jenner and Dr Russell Reynolds, and Resident Clinical Assistant at Brompton Hospital for Diseases of the Chest. From 1870-1872 he was Resident Medical Officer at University College Hospital, but in the latter year was compelled to retire owing to failing health.

In search of change he obtained the appointment of Surgeon in the service of the P & O Steamship Company. He sailed to India and then to Australia, and after nearly two years in the service, settled in Victoria as Resident Surgeon at the Chines Hospital in 1875. Soon afterwards he was appointed Senior House Surgeon at the Adelaide Hospital, South Australia. He held that post for a year and then practised at Glenelg, and in 1878 joined Dr Whittell in partnership in Adelaide. Dr Whittell retiring, he practised alone, and in 1884 took Dr Lendon into partnership. In 1885 he came to Europe for study. Returning to Adelaide, he resumed practice and was soon appointed Joint Lecturer with Dr Verco on Medicine at the University. He was also for a long period of years Physician to the Adelaide Hospital, as well as a member of the Hospital Board of Management, and from 1877-1891 was a member of the University Council. He practised alone from 1887-1890, when paralysis compelled him to retire from active work.

He took a short trip to New Zealand, and then settled in the hills - first at Waverley, then at Blackwood (1), where he died on Jan 30th, 1893. In 1878 he married Eleanor, fourth daughter of the Hon Walter Duffield, MLC, of Para Para.

"On Ether and Chloroform." - Australian Med Jour, 1875, xx, 375.
"Hydatid Disease of the Lungs." - Ibid, 1879, NS i, 510.
"Statistics of Hydatid Disease in the Australian Colonies." - Ibid, 1881, NS iii, 250, etc.
Hydatid Disease, with Special Reference to its Prevalence in Australia, 8vo, 5 plates, Adelaide, 1884.
Hydatid Disease, vol. ii, being "A Collection of Papers on Hydatid Disease, edited and arranged by A A Lendon", with a Memoir of the Author, 8vo, Sydney, 1894.
"Note upon the Frequent Occurrence of Tcenia Echinococcus in the Domestic Dog in Certain Parts of Australia," 8vo, London, 1885; reprinted from Proc Roy Soc, 1884-5, xxxviii, 457.

[(1) Australia - email from Stephen C Due 22 October 2016]

Sources used to compile this entry: [South Australian Register, 1893, Jan 31].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England