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Biographical entry Monk, Ian Maxim (1916 - 1978)

MRCS and FRCS 1948; MB BS Sydney 1940; MS 1945.

31 July 1978
Cardiothoracic surgeon and Thoracic surgeon


Ian Maxim Monk was the son of a musician who had been director of violin studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. After education at Sydney Church of England Grammar School he graduated from Sydney University in 1940. He was resident medical officer at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, and then served in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps during the second world war. He was demobilized as a surgical specialist with the rank of Major and took the Sydney mastership in surgery. He foresaw the need for thoracic surgeons in Australia and began his training with John Haywood at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He received the Gordon Craig and Nuffield Travelling Fellowship which enabled him to come to England where he was appointed RSO at the Brompton Hospital in 1947 and came under the influence of Russell (later Lord) Brock. He took the FRCS in the following year and returned to Sydney in 1950 when he was appointed thoracic surgeon to the Royal North Shore Hospital.

Having embarked on thoracic surgery before the beginnings of open cardiac surgery Ian Monk, like many of his generation, had to learn things the hard way and grow with the specialty. He undertook animal work at the Veterinary School in Prospect, New South Wales, and made frequent visits to cardiac centres abroad to return home with much information. He was a regular contributor at meetings of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and wrote a number of papers which were characterised by commonsense and sound judgement. He was warden of the clinical school at Royal North Shore Hospital and was dedicated to student teaching. In November 1976 he became the third President of the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons. There is no record of the date of his marriage to his wife Judith, by whom he had three daughters. He had inherited a love of music from his father and was an accomplished pianist. He was keen on sailing and was also an enthusiastic skier. After an earlier myocardial infarct he died suddenly on 31 July 1978, on his skis, while waiting for a chair lift in the Snowy Mountains, and was survived by his wife and daughters.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 1979, 1, 277].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England