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Biographical entry Brown, Ralph Charles (1870 - 1947)

MRCS 14 November 1895; FRCS 12 December 1895; MB Melbourne 1892; BS 1893; LRCP 1895; FACS 1924; FRACS foundation 1927.

St Arnaud, Victoria, Australia
12 March 1947
Melbourne, Australia
Anaesthetist and General surgeon


Born 1870 at St Arnaud, Mornington peninsula, Victoria, Australia, son of the Rev Ralph Brown, he was educated at Toorak College and at Queen's College, Melbourne University. He won several scholarships, graduating in medicine and surgery in 1892 with the Beaney scholarship and the first place in surgery; and he played tennis for his college. He then served as resident medical officer and later as acting medical superintendent at the Melbourne Hospital. Through the generosity of a relation he was able to go to England for postgraduate study at the London Hospital, and took the Membership in November 1895 and the Fellowship a month later. Brown was at this time threatened with pulmonary tuberculosis. He therefore became a ship's surgeon and, after several voyages to various African ports, recovered his health, returned to Australia and settled in practice at Wycheproof, Victoria in 1899. 1903 he moved into Melbourne and practised till 1926 at Wellington Sreet, East St Kilda, in close association with A U M Anderson, H Fetherston, J P Major and R Warne. Later he practised at Pasteur House, 32 Collins Street, Melbourne.

He served as anaesthetist at the Alfred Hospital and was appointed surgeon to out-patients in 1910, and surgeon to in-patients in 1912 on the retirement of H M O'Hara. Throughout the war of 1914-18, in addition to his private and hospital practice, he served on the staff of the Repatriation Hospital, Caulfield, taking special interest in the surgical repair of cranial defects. In 1926 he travelled for a year in Europe and America, visiting surgical clinics. He retired from his hospital appointments in 1930 and was elected consulting surgeon. Brown married in 1900 Marion Louisa Stead of Melbourne. After retirement he lived at Frankston with his son and grandchildren. He died at Heidelberg House, Melbourne, on 12 March 1947, aged 76. Brown was a thorough and meticulous surgeon, at his best in gastric surgery.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Australia, 1947, 1, 686, with portrait, appreciation by Balcombe Quick, DSO, FRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England