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Biographical entry Hurley, Thomas Ernest (1888 - 1958)

KBE 1950; CMG 1917; CB 1945; MRCS and FRCS 12 June 1919; MB Melbourne 1909; BS 1910; MD 1912; MS 1913; FRACS.

Melbourne, Australia
19 July 1958
Melbourne, Australia
General surgeon


Born in Melbourne in 1888, he was educated at Wesley College and Melbourne University. After qualification he became resident medical officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in 1910 and medical superintendent 1912-14. In 1914 he was appointed surgeon to out-patients and in 1927 surgeon to in-patients, retiring in 1947, in which year he became president of the hospital.

During the war of 1914-18 he volunteered immediately and served in Egypt, the Dardanelles and France, culminating with an administrative appointment in London in 1918 as ADMS of the AIF. During the war of 1939-45 he was chairman of the Australian Red Cross in 1939-40, but was then selected for the new appointment of Medical Director-General of the RAAF, serving in this capacity from 1940 to 1945.

He was a member of the board of examiners of Melbourne University 1936-46 and president in 1950. His other achievements included President of the Australasian College of Surgeons in 1952-53, President of the Federal Council of the BMA. 1949-51, President of the British Commonwealth Medical Conference in 1950, President of the Surgical Section of the Australasian Medical Congress in Perth in 1948, and honorary fellowship of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland. He was chairman of the Walter and Eliza Hall Research Institute in Melbourne and was an honorary surgeon to the King from 1942 to 1950.

As a surgeon he was highly competent, and he had a real flair for administration. He was very good-looking, retaining his youthful appearance to the end, immensely likeable, and one of the outstanding personalities of his generation in Australian surgery. A good athlete in his young days, he found time to be a very competent golfer later.

Hurley married in 1919 and had four sons and two daughters, several of whom entered the medical profession. He died on 19 July 1958 in Melbourne.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 18 July 1958 p 13 G; Brit med J 1958, 2, 250 appreciations by Sir G Gordon-Taylor and Sir F M Burnet OM; Ann Roy Coll Surg Engl 1958, 23, 270 by GG-T with portrait in uniform; Med J Aust 1958, 2, 469 with portrait and appreciations by Sir Wm Upjohn, AVM, E A Daley, H G Colville and W W S Johnston, and part of Archbishop Booth's funeral oration].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England