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Biographical entry Duke, Athol Jones (1928 - 1990)

MRCS and FRCS 1955; MB ChB Otago 1951; FRACS 1960.

Dunedin, New Zealand
16 January 1990
General surgeon and Urologist


Athol James Duke was born in Dunedin in 1928 and his early education was at McGlashen College and at the Otago Boys' High School where he was head prefect and played for the school first XV at rugby. He entered Otago Medical School in 1947, qualifying in 1951, and after completing officer appointments at Auckland he came to England for postgraduate study. At first he worked in Fulham Hospital as surgical registrar and after passing the FRCS in 1955 was registrar at Edgware General Hospital.

After his return to New Zealand in 1960 he was at first registrar at Middlemore Hospital, Otahuhu, Auckland, later being promoted to senior registrar at the hospital. He passed the FRACS in 1960 and in 1965 was appointed full-time surgical specialist at Green Lane and Middlemore Hospitals in Auckland. After a few years he changed to urology, initially in private practice and later as urologist at Auckland Hospital and the Otara spinal unit. He was a clinical teacher at Auckland University Medical School from 1977 to 1982. Poor health necessitated retirement from these posts in 1987 but from 1973 he had taken an interest in sexual counselling and marriage guidance. His wife Rae, whom he married in London in 1955, participated in this work and they both arranged clinics throughout the country to help patients with such problems. This work remained within his physical capability until shortly before his death. He and Rae established artistic homes in Auckland and Whangaparoa and after his retirement they spent time together on such mutual interests as tapestry, music, current affairs and philosophy. His family life was tragically affected by the loss of his youngest son in the air crash at Mount Erebus, Antarctica, in 1979 and by the sudden death of his wife in 1989. He died on 16 January 1990 aged 61, survived by his two remaining sons.

Sources used to compile this entry: [NZ med J 1991, 104, 273].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England