Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Shaw, Charles Gordon (1885 - 1967)

DSO 1917; VD; MRCS and FRCS 1911; MB BS Melbourne 1907; MD 1910; LRCP 1911; FRACS.

9 January 1885
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2 July 1967
Toorak, Victoria, Australia
General surgeon and Military surgeon


Charles Gordon Shaw was born in Melbourne on 9 January 1885 and was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne, and Melbourne University where he graduated MB BS in 1907, proceeding to the MD degree in 1910. Rowing was his favourite sport and he was in the winning eights both at school and also at Ormond College where he was in residence as a medical student. After his MD he came over to London and obtained the Conjoint Diploma and the FRCS in 1911.

On his return to Melbourne Shaw was appointed surgeon to outpatients at St Vincent's Hospital, but military duty in the first world war soon interrupted his work at home. He had joined the RAMC in 1908 and therefore he served in the Australian Army throughout the war, at first with the Second Field Ambulance in Gallipoli, and later in command of the First Field Ambulance in France in 1916. In 1917 he was transferred to Harefield Hospital and was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the DSO. His attachment to the army continued after the war, for from 1921 to 1929 he was ADMS Fourth Division, in 1936 he was appointed DOMS Third Military District and Southern Command and held this post in the early years of the second world war, later becoming DDMS Victorian Lines of Communication. Though placed on the retired list in 1944 he continued his service to the Repatriation Hospital, Heidelberg, till 1962. An important contribution to military surgery was his practice of wound excision at an early period in the first world war.

When he was demobilized after the first world war he returned to his duties at St Vincent's Hospital and also as medical tutor at Ormond College. At St Vincent's in due course he was promoted from the outpatient to the inpatient department, and remained on the staff for the rest of his active surgical career.

Shaw's friends regarded him affectionately as a rather old-fashioned gentleman, referring to his sense of dignity, his sense of form, and a very strong sense of duty. His shyness occasionally caused him to be misunderstood, and though he had every right to be admired, he never pandered to popularity.

When he was in England in 1917 he married Rachael Champion who was also a Melbourne graduate. They had four children, three sons of whom two followed their father's profession, and one daughter. His latter years were saddened by the death of his wife after a long illness, and by his own failing health, and he died on 2 July 1967, aged 82.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 1967, 2, 959].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England