Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Dawson, Edward Owen (1917 - 1977)

MRCS and FRCS 1958; MB ChB Otago 1941; FRCS Ed 1941.

Adelaide, Australia
29 December 1977
General surgeon, Urologist and Venereologist


Edward Owen Dawson was born in Adelaide, the second son of Sir Bernard Dawson who went to Dunedin in 1931 as the first full-time Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the University of Otago. He was educated at McGlashan College, Dunedin, and at the University of Otago Medical School where he took an interest in athletics and twice represented the university. He graduated MB, ChB in 1941 and was house surgeon at Christchurch Hospital. He enlisted in the New Zealand Army Medical Corps in mid-1941 and rose to the rank of Major. He was posted to the Mediterranean theatre and was successively medical officer at Maadi Camp, and to the 20th Battalion and the 4th Field Ambulance taking part in the Italian Campaign.

After the war he went to the United Kingdom for postgraduate training and obtained both the FRCS and FRCS Ed in 1948. Dawson returned to Christchurch in 1948 and was resident surgical officer at Christchurch Hospital for a year. He went to Dunedin Hospital in 1949 and was a surgeon demonstrator in anatomy. In 1952 he was appointed visiting surgeon to Dunedin Hospital and lecturer in surgery, University of Otago; later he was senior lecturer and in 1956 was appointed visiting venereologist. For a time he was visiting urologist to Southland Hospitals; he retired from his hospital and university positions in January 1977 because of ill health.

Dawson, who was known to all as Jim, was an excellent didactic teacher of both surgery and anatomy; his patients were handled both clinically and operatively with skill. He had ideals of the highest order coupled with complete integrity. He was matter-of-fact and had a brisk approach to life, friends and colleagues, but he was most unassuming and was ever ready to help with excellent advice and sympathy when approached.

He had many interests and for forty years was a member of the New Zealand Alpine Club, making some first ascents in the Ohau and Aspiring areas. He continued to be physically active until retirement and never lost his slender athletic form. His health deteriorated markedly in his last year and he died a year after retirement, on 29 December 1977.

Sources used to compile this entry: [NZ med J 1978, 87, 60].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England